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Question of the Week

Answer: There are several key diseases that affect apple production, such as fire blight, apple scab, cedar apply rust, summer rots, sooty blotch, and fly speck. In order to properly treat these diseases, it's important to first correctly identify them.…...

Answer: Organic hayfields typically have problems because nutrients are removed from the fields and are not replaced. This doesn't occur as much in fields that are grazing because of the manure and urine from grazing livestock. And if you add a more…...

Answer: As a producer interested in working with a food hub, it is important to evaluate several components of a hub to see if the operation meets your needs and the needs of your farm. Here are some factors to consider. ? Purpose/Mission ? Food hubs…...

Answer: Persimmons generally bloom late enough in the spring to avoid spring frosts, so site selection does not have to emphasize air drainage to the same degree that other early blooming tree crops require (e.g., peaches). Persimmons grow well on a…...

Answer: In the United States, nearly all of the commercially grown plums for fresh eating are hybrids of the Japanese plum introduced by a Berkley nurseryman in the 1870s and subsequently hybridized by Luther Burbank in the late 1800s. Today, 95% or…...

Answer: Brambles, including raspberries and blackberries, can be a very profitable crop, but how profitable they will be for you depends on several factors. To begin with, your market will determine the price you receive for your berries. You will get…...

Answer: Because tadpole shrimp do not hatch from eggs until exposed to water, rice that is grown in dry-seeded systems and not flooded until rice is at the 4?5 leaf stage should be safe from tadpole shrimp injury. This practice promotes large plants…...

Answer: Nematodes are microscopic roundworms found in many habitats. Nematodes are the most abundant multicellular organisms on Earth. Most are beneficial members of their ecosystems, but a few are economic parasites of plants. The Columbia, Stubby, and…...

Answer: No. Internal parasites, especially Haemonchus contortus, have developed drug resistance. Drug treatment gets rid of the worms that are susceptible to that particular drug; resistant parasites survive and pass on "resistant" genes. No dewormer is…...

Answer: Cultivated garlic, Allium sativum, is a member of the lily family. It can be divided into two subspecies: Allium ophioscorodon (bolting or hard-neck cultivars) and Allium sativum (non-bolting or soft-neck cultivars). Allium ophioscorodon…...

Answer: Coccidiosis is a parasite infection caused by the protozoan organism coccidia (also known as cocci or by the scientific name, Eimeria), which causes damage to the animal's intestinal tract so that food is not absorbed well. Recognizing…...

Answer: The number-one factor in effective pricing is quantifying your costs and selling above those costs. It can be difficult to quantify production costs accurately and estimate profits from sales, but knowing production costs is key to staying in…...

Answer: Hairy buttercup is a winter annual that that germinates in the fall and flowers in the spring. Non-chemical control is possible and will require a holistic approach. The best way to inhibit buttercup infestations is through plant competition and…...

Answer: The term low-spray has no precise definition. It simply refers to a reduced-synthetic-pesticide spray program relative to a region's prevailing conventional practices. For example, instead of eight to 12 spray applications during a growing…...

Answer: Mid-May is really late to transplant. The issue is transplant shock: the leaves are transpiring moisture before the roots are adequately established--remember, it's the little root hairs that do the work of sucking up water, and those little…...

Answer: Cultivar selection is a very important decision for a bramble grower because it can determine the productivity and profitability of an operation. The best place to start is by talking with bramble growers in your area to see what cultivars have…...

Answer: Controlling poison ivy is a difficult task, and it may take a long period of time to get a handle on it. Here are a few options for controlling poison ivy without the use of chemical herbicides.1. Control poison ivy by constantly mowing or…...

Answer: The natural fibers produced by wooled sheep, Angora goats, and cashmere goats can be used in a variety of ways to add income to the sheep or goat enterprise. There are several possibilities for marketing wool:? In bulk: ask your shearer for…...

Answer: Early blight is a prevalent disease in the humid southeast, exacerbated by late spring rains. Many organic growers are moving to high tunnel tomato production and plastic mulch to mitigate the disease and keep rain/soil splash off the foliage.…...

Answer: The codling moth, Cydia pomonella, is present throughout North American apple-growing regions. Prior to the advent of synthetic pesticides, the codling moth larva was the proverbial "worm in the apple." Relatively cold regions may have only one…...

Answer: The American Community Garden Association (communitygarden.org) has offered a 10-step outline for starting a community orchard. Retaining the 10 major headings, the following is an expansion of that outline:1. The first step is to develop a…...

Answer: The basic processing steps are as follows:Seed cleaning Preparation of the raw material often includes removing husks or seed coats from the seeds and separating the seeds from the chaff. There are a wide variety of small- to…...

Answer: Generally speaking, biochar is the product of turning biomass into gas or oil with the intention of adding it to crop and forest production systems as a soil amendment. The definition of biochar is more about its creation and intended…...

Answer: Rabbits eat only plants and are classified as non-ruminant herbivores. They recycle feed by re-ingesting the cecotropes. Cecotropes are small particles of digested food that collect in the cecum (hindgut), which the rabbit excretes once a day…...

Answer: In general, the goal of farm to institution programs is to get fresh, healthy, locally sourced foods into cafeterias in schools, colleges, hospitals, correctional facilities, and senior living centers. There are many ways to bring local food…...

Answer: Apple scab, caused by the fungus Venturia inaequalis, causes grayish-brown spots on leaves and hard, rough ("scabby") lesions on fruit. As the lesions progress, they often crack, opening the fruit to other problems. Rain, duration of leaf…...

Answer: It is important to note that any water used in organic operations must meet standards and regulations first set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Safe Drinking Water Act. The use of lime as a water treatment in organic…...

Answer: This year, we've seen a tremendous increase in bloat nematode in garlic. I've been paying particular attention to it as some of my own garlic is infected, and unfortunately, there isn't much that can be done to control it in the short-term,…...

Answer: Products that are labeled under the USDA's National Organic Program (NOP) certify that the food or other agricultural product(s) have been produced through approved methods that integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that…...

Answer: Choosing and properly preparing a site to install a high tunnel are among the most important factors in how well the high tunnel will perform for years to come. Most urban farms have a limited amount of space and workable soil. Although…...

Answer: Living hedges are fences made of living trees and shrubs. Their installation and use is common in many parts of the world, including Europe, Asia, and Australia. While historically used in this country as livestock fencing, living hedges are…...

Answer: Managing manure can be a challenge, especially in large-scale operations. However, if you view manure as a free, plentiful, and valuable resource, you begin to look at it as a commodity in its own right. Marketing manure can be a beneficial,…...

Answer: The establishment of a pecan orchard by planting trees in rows is how most new growers enter the pecan industry. Trees can be purchased with the cultivar already budded to the top, or planted as a seedling and grafted in the field. (To be "true…...

Answer: Symptoms of brown rot in peaches include the following: ? Two to three weeks before harvest, earlier infection (as early as bloom and petal fall) of the fruit by the fungus Monilinia fructicola becomes apparent as the fruit softens,…...

Answer: Vertical farms come in different shapes and sizes, from simple two-level or wall-mounted systems to large warehouses several stories tall. But all vertical farms use one of three soil-free systems for providing nutrients to plants?hydroponic,…...

Answer: Over the past decade, direct marketing has become highly visible and popular among consumers in the United States. Consumer campaigns such as USDA's Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food have succeeded in bringing awareness to the importance of the…...

Answer: The nutritional concern for ruminants centers around energy (i.e., carbohydrates), protein, minerals, vitamins, and water. Energy (carbohydrates) is responsible for maintenance and growth functions of the animal and for the generation of heat.…...

Answer: Companion planting can be described as establishing two or more plant species in close proximity for some cultural benefit (such as pest control or higher yield). The concept embraces a number of strategies that increase the biodiversity of…...

Answer: Tilapia have historically been considered a very disease-resistant, or resilient, species. However, researchers and practitioners are beginning to dispel this notion, as there are some diseases that occur in tilapia populations that can…...

Answer: Contract grazing is a livestock-production system that decouples land ownership, livestock ownership, and land (and livestock) management. The arrangement may involve as many as three separate entities carrying out distinct roles: a landowner, a…...

Answer: The nutritional concern for ruminants centers around energy (i.e., carbohydrates), protein, minerals, vitamins, and water. Energy is responsible for maintenance and growth functions of the animal, and for the generation of heat. Protein grows…...

Answer: Peach leaf curl, caused by the fungal organism Taphrina deformans, is a common disorder in peach and nectarine orchards, especially during wet springs. Infected leaves become misshapen, deformed, and necrotic, resulting in premature defoliation…...

Answer: Holistic Management? is a decision-making framework designed to assist you in establishing your goals, creating a financial plan, as well as developing a plan for managing social and environmental sustainability. In short, it is a tool…...

Answer: Vertical farms come in different shapes and sizes, from simple two-level or wall-mounted systems to large warehouses several stories tall. But all vertical farms use one of three soil-free systems for providing nutrients to plants?hydroponic,…...

Answer: The nutritional concern for ruminants centers around energy (i.e., carbohydrates), protein, minerals, vitamins, and water. Energy (carbohydrates) is responsible for maintenance and growth functions of the animal, and for the generation of heat.…...

Answer: No-till systems are a practical way to raise vegetables and improve soil quality at the same time. No-till production involves growing and managing cover crops to provide living and killed mulches, which along with the reduction/elimination of…...

Answer: First, constrain the animal and then put the halter on. Initially, you can tie the calf low to a post to begin the halter-training process. Leave her tied up for about five minutes every day and then gradually increase the time, so that she will…...

Answer: Flea beetles are one of the most difficult to manage pests of eggplant and cole crops. They are also a problem on seedlings of tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, turnips, radishes, and corn. There are various genera and species of flea beetles, all…...

Answer: There are many different funding sources, programs, and grants for agricultural production. You will have to spend some time exploring the many different options and finding a program that matches what you are wanting to do.An excellent place…...

Answer: Biochar was initially linked to the exploration and archeological study of early human settlement and soils. These early studies of soils being enriched from what appears to be the deliberate mixing of burned biomass in soils around human…...

Answer: Wooled sheep, Angora goats, and cashmere goats offer another "crop" in addition to meat. The natural fibers produced by these animals can be used in a variety of ways to add income to the sheep or goat enterprise. Natural fibers are a renewable…...

Answer: The University of Florida has conducted many studies on the best ways to control smutgrass. Their recommendations can be found at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/aa261. A mature forage smutgrass isn't very palatable or all that nutritious, making it…...

Answer: Prairie grass hay should be fine for your sheep to eat. A few points to consider:? The sheep will eat the hay better if it is forages they are used to. If they are grazing native prairie pastures in the growing season, then they should…...

Answer: In addition to growing great food and fiber products and taking care of the land, farmers need to be good financial stewards of their business and household. This requires being organized, keeping track of all income and expenses, and having a…...

Answer: If not controlled, internal parasites can cause illness in animals. Symptoms of parasitism include weight loss, loss of appetite, depression, weakness, lagging behind or separating from the flock, and possibly anemia, bottle jaw, or diarrhea.…...

Answer: The following ATTRA resources should be of interest to you:Sustainable Soil Management https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/summaries/summary.php?pub=183Drought Resistant Soil https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/summaries/summary.php?pub=118…...

Answer: The fungus that causes this disease moves back and forth between eastern red cedars (actually junipers, not true cedars) and apples, so it can be a major problem where eastern red cedars are endemic. In order to complete its life cycle, this…...

Answer: Bermudagrass is one of the hardest grasses to control organically. The best thing I've read about organic control of Bermudagrass is based around an intense, one-year, series of smother crops strategy worked out by George Kuepper at the Kerr…...

Answer: Interest in local and regional food systems is increasing as their health benefits and contributions to economic, environmental, and social sustainability are recognized. Statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) show growth in…...

Answer: Foot problems are often hard to diagnose, and sometimes they are very easy to misdiagnose. In sheep, the most common and definitely the most feared type of foot rot is sheep foot rot. This is different than cattle foot rot. Its main diagnostic…...

Answer: Commercial organic cherry production presents many challenges. The cherry fruit fly, bacterial canker, phytophthora root rot, leaf spot, fruit cracking, late frosts, and brown rot of the blossom and fruit are all serious obstacles to the…...

Answer: Local foods purchasing has moved beyond farmers markets to mainstream grocery stores. As consumers become more interested in purchasing local foods, chain grocery stores from Walmart to Safeway tout their support of local farmers. At the same…...

Answer: For the direct-market producer, shipping melons is probably not a good bet, as per-unit costs of production make them uncompetitive in price in small quantities. This condition, of course, is shared by producers of all stripe. It's hard for a…...

Answer: Blackberries are exceedingly easy to propagate from root cuttings. First, you have to get to the roots, so you can either come out from your mother plants 12 to 18 inches or so with a shovel or tractor-driven plow and turn up some roots. Or you…...

Answer: I'd say your chances for growing tart cherries successfully are good to very good. The tart cherry, Prunus cerasus, is much better adapted to the upper South than is the sweet cherry, P. avium. Note that sweets and tarts are separate and…...

Answer: A good place to start is ATTRA's internship database, one of the most utilized farm internship sites in the country. You can narrow a search by location or by enterprise. It is available at https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/internships/. It is…...

Answer: Drying your cow up is probably the easiest and most reliable treatment. The action of the milking machine or hand milking will irritate the scab and delay its healing. However, if you do not want to dry her up, and I don't blame you, this is…...

Answer: Bradford pear belongs to the "wild" species Pyrus calleryana. Bradford is simply a selection from that species, chosen for ornamental purposes. Bradford is actually budded or grafted onto seedlings of P. calleryana, which may or may not (due to…...

Answer: When you are purchasing a used manure spreader, look for these things:1. General appearance. Is it beat up from misuse? Look at the sides. Are they rusted? Is the bottom made of wood with a poly cover? Avoid metal beds, even the Cor?Ten steel…...

Answer: Harvesting your animals at exactly the right time is very important. Lambs that are over- or under-finished will produce meat that is less desirable to consumers. Mastering the ability to determine when your lambs are correctly finished at 0.20…...

Answer: Threshing?the act of physically breaking the grain kernel out of the plants seed head?is done by some form of beating. With small amounts of grain, it can be done by beating the grain heads against the inside of a clean container such as a…...

Answer: Llamas or alpacas can be a good addition to a farm or ranch?alpacas as an alternative livestock enterprise and llamas as guard animals or recreational animals. They fit well into a diversified farming operation. Marginal pastureland is suitable…...

Answer: There are many different funding sources, programs, and grants for agricultural production. Finding a program that matches your project will require that you spend some time exploring the many different options.An excellent place to start is…...

Answer: Increased soil salinity levels can greatly effect plant growth and production. Some soils are naturally high in salinity but most salinity problems on farms are increased by farm practices. In arid regions of the country, irrigation water can…...

Answer: In starting an aquaponic garden, one of the most important things to do is a fishless cycle with pure ammonia to build up the nitrifying bacteria. This step requires patience and should not be rushed. Some resources mention the use of feeder…...

Answer: Weed control is a huge challenge for organic growers in any system, but perennial fruits are particularly problematic because it's difficult to use weed-control techniques like rotations and smother crops without some danger of damaging roots…...

Answer: There are several indicators of ripeness or impending ripeness, including the following:1) The abscission "scar" on the stem breaks cleanly when you push up and away on the fruit. This is a spot on the stem that is bigger than the rest of the…...

Answer: Mushroom production is completely different from growing green plants. Mushrooms do not contain chlorophyll and, therefore, depend on other plant material (the "substrate") for their food. The part of the organism that we see and call a mushroom…...

Answer: Desirable genetic traits for pastured hogs are very different than those for confinement operations. The large confinement operations have actually bred out a stress gene that was causing an average 14% mortality from crowding and shipping…...

Answer: I would spread lime as soon as you can get onto the soil. However, do not spread the lime on wet soil, as going over the soil when it's wet will create compaction layers that will take a long time to get rid of. That being said, the longer the…...

Answer: The two primary diseases that I would recommend vaccinating for are overeating and tetanus. Overeating disease is caused by Clostridium perfringens, types C and D. Vaccinating for tetanus is recommended if you are banding tails or testicles. The…...