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Fruit and Vegetable Weekly Crop Update

Growing degree days since April 1: 541 GDD (Average (11 year): 405) (From the Illinois State Water Survey Degree-Day Calculator)

4 inch soil temp: 58.9°F (10 am 4-inch soil temperature under bare soil) (From the Illinois State Water Survey Illinois Climate Network)

Illinois Fruit and Vegetable News. The University of Illinois Extension and the College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences publishes an excellent resource for commercial growers of fruit and vegetable crops. Check out the current issue, , May 12, 2015, at Vol. 21, No. 1.  To receive e-mail notification of new postings of this newsletter, contact Rick Weinzierl, 217-333-6651,

Gray-mold rot or Botrytis blight. At a field visit yesterday, saw extensive areas of strawberries infested with Gray-mold.  Gray mold is one of the most common and serious diseases wherever strawberries are grown. It is caused by the fungus, Botrytis cinerea. Conditions are ideal this year!  In wet seasons on unsprayed plants, 80-90% losses of flowers and fruit can occur. The disease thrives during prolonged rainy and cloudy periods just before or during harvest, and on dense, lush, foliar growth. See photo above and click here for more information.

Information from an Ohio State publication states that during wet, cool springs, gray mold will be a major threat to organic strawberry production. In conventional production systems, application of fungicide during bloom generally results in good disease control. Fungicides used in organic systems (sulfur and copper) are not very effective for control of Botrytis. Several biological control products are currently available for Botrytis control; however, their effectiveness under moderate to heavy disease pressure is questionable. Resistance is not available in most varieties; therefore, the use of several cultural practices are the key control methods in organic plantings.

Webinar to Explore Benefits of Diversity in Whole-Farm Revenue Crop Insurance. A free webinar on "The Benefits of Diversity: Another Look at Whole-Farm Revenue Protection in Iowa and Midwest" will be held Thursday, May 21, from 12 to 1 p.m.(CST), offered by the National Center for Appropriate Technology. The webinar's focus will be on how WFRP may improve coverage and lower insurance cost for field crop farms that have, or are contemplating, adding greater diversity to their cropping systems or even considering new livestock production.

Source: University of Illinois

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