It's January. What can I say? (Happy New Year?) At least the days are getting longer. Some significant events over the past few weeks (or month):
1.) New England Vegetable and Fruit Conference in December. Well-attended, but a major snowstorm on the last day made getting home very difficult -- 'historic' gridlock on major highways in east and south New England. It took us 6 hours to drive from Manchester, NH to Belchertown, MA, normally a 2 hour ride.
2.) Northeast Meeting of American Society for Hort. Science, at Rutgers last week. Presented a poster '5-year performance of three dwarf apple rootstocks with Cameo apple.'
3.) Got home from that meeting and saw that it had fallen to -12 F. in Chicopee, MA last Friday morning. We got down to -4.3 F. in Belchertown. Not low enough to do any damage to stone fruit, but getting there. I would hold off on apple pruning until the weather becomes more seasonable.
4.) You got to see this to believe it: http://edwardsorchard.info. Ken Hall was president of IDFTA when we were helping them with their website several years ago, and I could not imagine a more supportive, intelligent, and well-rounded individual. What happened to them last week is simply unbelievable. But, as you can see, their cup is always half (or more) full! What is the deal with this weather? Imagine if this had happened during the growing season or when they were open for business? I guess they were ultimately very lucky in that no one was hurt, it happened this time of the year -- giving them time to rebuild -- and new opportunities abound. Good luck Ken and family/Edwards Orchard with rebuilding.
5.) I have been working on revising the herbicide section(s) of the 2008 New England Tree Fruit Pest Management Guide. Keeping up with all the label changes and new products is not easy. There seems to be rapid change in the agri-chemical industry with new products being introduced and manufacturer changes. Which begs the question -- how do YOU get your detailed pesticide information (i.e., rates, re-entry and pre-harvest intervals, labeled crops, etc.)? Please take my survey right above.
6.) AGR/AGR-Lite Crop Insurance Meeting on January 28.
6.) Finally, just found out MFGA was awarded a $95,000 grant from Mass. Dept. Ag. Resources Ag. Innovation. This, to plant 10 acres of tall-spindle orchard in 10 MA orchards over the next two years. Should be an interesting project, more on it to come.