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Mid-May Iowa Vegetable update

For much of Iowa, mid-May means that there is little chance there will be another killing frost. Many people feel the call of warm evenings (or Mother’s Day) and decide to plant the first warm-season crops, such as tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers. This year the weather seems to be behaving itself and as of May 9th, the time of this writing, the 2-week climate outlook is calling for greater chances of above average temperatures statewide. Let the “growing season” begin!

Estimating First Crop Alfalfa Harvest Using PEAQ

The growth and development of alfalfa is affected by many factors, including temperature, soil moisture, stand age and even cultivar. Alfalfa growth has been slower than normal due to cool conditions in April. This is a good reminder that using a calendar date to determine when to harvest the first crop of alfalfa may not the best method. In order to accurately predict the optimal time for the first cutting, the University of Wisconsin developed the Predictive Equations for Alfalfa Quality (PEAQ) method.

Check FieldWatch® Before Pesticide Applications

Prepare for a safe pesticide application season by checking the FieldWatch® registry before making pesticide applications. The FieldWatch® registry provides easy-to-use, accurate, and secure online tools to enhance communications and awareness between crop producers, beekeepers, and pesticide applicators.FieldWatch® features a voluntary mapping tool through Google Maps™ that shows pesticide applicators the locations of registered sensitive crops and beehives so they can make informed decisions regarding pesticide applications.

Managing Blossom End Rot in Tomatoes and Peppers

Many commercial growers and home gardeners often confront the issue of Blossom End Rot (BER) in their tomato, pepper, and eggplant. The BER is a physiological disorder caused by a localized calcium deficiency in the blossom-end of the fruit. It is a physiological disorder and is not caused by fungi, bacteria, or any other living disease microorganisms. Also, BER could also be seen on non-solanaceous crops such as pumpkins, squash, and watermelons.

Personal Weather Station for Specialty Crop Management

A personal weather station is simply integrated “tools” that measure weather variables such as temperature, humidity, rainfall, wind speed and direction, soil moisture, and leaf wetness. Some are affordable enough to install at your own farm which will give the most accurate representation for the weather in your farm. 

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