Hops Yards After Harvest

The hops growing season is consumed with tactical activities like bine training, scouting for pests, maintaining plant health, harvesting cones, and sales. However, managing your hop yard is far from complete once the last cones are separated from the bines. Strategic actions to take now address: after harvest sanitation, soil fertility, drip irrigation, taking a weed inventory, and getting a Pesticide Applicator License.

Sanitation to Reduce Future Pests and Diseases

Hops: Remove diseased leaves and debris at the end of the season.

Hops: Remove diseased leaves and debris at the end of the season.

Postharvest sanitation of the hop yard is your first line of defense against future disease and insect problems.

Leftover refuse from harvest and uncut bines should be removed after the first hard freeze as they harbor fungal spores or live insects. Waiting until after the first hard freeze reduces levels of pests on the debris and reduces spreading problems to unaffected areas.

Collected plant debris with pest infestations can be burned by obtaining an Open Burning Permit from the NJDEP Forest Fire Service. Permit fees are $10 for a 30-day period and need to be signed by your Agricultural Agent certifying the reason for burning is due to disease infection. Forms are available from your agricultural extension office. [Read more…]

Agritourism: On-Farm Breweries and Local Ingredients

Winter Malting Barley

Winter Malting Barley

Interested in learning about Rutgers Cooperative Extension malting grains research trials and hop variety evaluations?

Join us for a twilight meeting and field tour on June 22, 2016 at the Rutgers Snyder Research & Extension Farm in Pittstown, NJ.

Local crops as feedstocks for the craft brewery and distilleries movement is sweeping the US. It is a hot topic in the agriculture industry; new and existing growers are paying attention to potential opportunities for these products. Farm brewery and distillery operations are emerging NJ enterprises; farmers are investigating implementation. Rutgers Cooperative Extension members are assisting potential grower/suppliers with their new ventures via research and education.

What characteristics must products and your operation share to be successful? Those are the questions that need to be assessed through business planning, market research, crop production studies, and with the brewing/distilling process. The first Rutgers twilight meeting to be held in the field will be on June 22, 2016 at the Rutgers Snyder Research Farm in Pittstown. The evening will showcase malting grains research trials and a hop yard with variety evaluations. Look for details on this event soon. A day-long Farm Brewery and Distillery workshop is being prepared for the NJ Ag Convention in February 2017. Rutgers has a history of working with brewing and distilling crops as far back as the 1940’s. More up-to-date information to come from Rutgers NJAES.
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Farmer Agritourism Resources:
Hayride Safety Educational Tools

Hayrides are a popular activity for agritourism operations and a marketing attraction for pick-your-own farms. While the farmer, their family, and experienced employees are familiar with the hazards that come along with being around farm equipment, the general public is not. With proper planning and management, using a tractor and wagon to transport guests can be a safe activity.

Check wagon safety chain/cable connection to tractor before every run.

Check wagon safety chain/cable connection to tractor before every run.

Accidents are most likely to be avoided:

  • with adequate supervision and training of employees;
  • by maintaining site and crowd control;
  • by operating equipment properly.

 

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Farm Market Products: Brussels Sprouts on the Stalk

While the draw of agritourism is the on-farm experience, it’s just as important to provide both the expected (sweet corn!) and unique quality produce. Unique experiences and products set your operation apart in the minds of your customers.

Sometimes unique means going back to the ways things used to be done – take Brussels sprouts. Growing up on the Infante family farm, we would top the plants and sell them “on the stalk”. Since the young leaves of Brussels sprouts taste similar to collards, we would market the topped leaf cluster separately as greens to be prepared like you would collards.

“What is the best time to top Brussels sprouts so that the ‘buttons’ size uniformly? What are the pros and cons of topping?”

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