Farm Calls: Biocontrol of Mexican Bean Beetle

This past week a grower called to ask about a recurring problem,

We’ve got a problem that hits us every year in our snap beans that we grow to sell at the local farm markets. Around June we experience heavy losses due to Mexican Bean Beetle. Somebody mentioned using parasitic wasps as a possible control agent.
What do you know about this and how do we go about getting them?

Mexican Bean Beetle: Adult and Larva

Mexican Bean Beetle:
Adult and Larva

Mexican bean beetle (MBB) has been a serious bean pest for decades in the Mid-Atlantic region, causing intolerable yield reductions. Fortunately, the Phillip Alampi Beneficial Insect Rearing Laboratory at the NJ Department of Agriculture rears small wasps (Pediobius foveolatus) that parasitize young Mexican bean beetle larvae before they can cause significant defoliation damage. The NJDA program saves about 21 tons of pesticide applications that would cost farmers about $450,000 a year.  [Read more…]

Farm Calls: Sweet Corn Varieties & Postharvest Capability

Recently, a sweet corn grower considering new marketing opportunities asked:

“I don’t farm enough sweet corn acreage to support a hydro cooler or package icing equipment for rapid field heat removal at harvest. 
With less than ideal postharvest handling cooling equipment, which varieties should I consider growing if I want to maximize both marketable shelf life and eating quality in order to win repeat sales from direct market and wholesale customers?”

[Read more…]

Farm Calls: Beginning Farmer Questions on Farm Leasing

Ivory-Harlow-Leasing-Land-Farm&Dairy

This month, a Rutgers grad from a couple of years back, called to say she was well on the road to fulfilling a dream she had talked about in Sustainable Ag class. She has worked hard to save up grubstake capital to begin her part-time farming enterprise, and located a rentable farm near her current “day job.”
Before entering into negotiations with the owner she asks,

“How do I properly value and negotiate farm lease terms that include using the owner’s working farm in addition to renting farmland.”

[Read more…]

Farm Calls: Exploring Exotic Mushroom Cultivation

This week Extension Agent Amy Rowe fields a question from a grower interested in getting into the commercial production of mushrooms.

Sustainable ag farms summer tour with NE SARE USDA projects NY State Cornell
“Where can I find information on cultivating shiitake, maitake, and several oyster varieties (blue, white, and pink)?”

 

[Read more…]