Sweet Corn IPM Newsletter No. 8 – August 15, 2014

August 18th, 2014 3:29 PM

sweet corn

Please visit the Highmoor Farm website for the University of Maine Sweet Corn Integrated Pest Management Newsletter No. 8, August 15, 2014, “Pest Numbers Increase in Most Fields.”

Made in Maine: Thoughts on Food, Animals, and Agriculture

August 18th, 2014 10:57 AM

Donald E Hoenig, VMD, writes about foot and mouth disease in his most recent post for Made in Maine: Thoughts on Food, Animals and Agriculture, a blog for Maine farmers. Dr. Hoenig retired as the Maine State Veterinarian in 2012 and, after completing a year-long Congressional Fellowship in Sen. Susan Collins’ office in Washington DC last year, in January 2014 he started working as a part-time Extension Veterinarian for University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Submit questions and comments to dochoenigvmd78@gmail.com. Answers to selected questions will appear in future blog posts.

Mainers Urged to Sign Up for Free Disposal of Banned, Unusable Pesticides

August 15th, 2014 12:42 PM

AUGUSTA—This October, the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s (DACF) Board of Pesticides Control (BPC) will team up with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to help Mainers dispose of banned or unusable pesticides.

This free disposal program is open to homeowners, family-owned farms and greenhouses. Collection will occur at sites located in Presque Isle, Bangor, Augusta and Portland. To qualify, people must register by September 26, 2014.

Governor Paul R. LePage is urging Mainers to take advantage of this opportunity to protect the environment and save money through this once a year collection event that highlights cooperation between government agencies. “This is an opportunity for Mainers to dispose of unusable pesticides properly and at no expense,” said Governor LePage. “By consolidating collections into four central locations and using in-house resources and expertise, we can reduce disposal costs to about $2 per pound. That’s a great value for Maine taxpayers.”

It’s not unusual for homes and farms to have unintentional hazardous waste—banned pesticides or pesticides that have become caked, frozen, or otherwise rendered unusable—sitting around in basements, garages, or barns. These chemicals can be difficult and expensive to dispose of; DACF Commissioner Walt Whitcomb stressed the importance of proper disposal of banned or unwanted pesticides.

“It’s important for the protection of public, wildlife, and environmental health that these products are dealt with properly and not thrown in the trash or down the drain, where they can contaminate land and water resources, including drinking water,” said Commissioner Whitcomb. “People holding these chemicals should contact the BPC as soon as possible to register for the October collection.”

“Providing an easy and no cost solution for Mainers to properly dispose of pesticides is a win for the environment and public health,” said Maine DEP Commissioner Patricia Aho. “The collection events cover the State and are held in Presque Isle, Bangor, Augusta and Portland providing accessible methods of collection and future disposal.”

The collected chemicals go to out-of-state disposal facilities licensed by the federal Environmental Protection Agency where they are incinerated or reprocessed.

Registration by September 26, 2014, is mandatory—drop-ins are not permitted. To register, get details, and learn important information about the temporary storage and transportation of obsolete pesticides, go to the BPC Web site at thinkfirstspraylast.org, or call 207-287-2731.

The Maine Obsolete Pesticides Collection Program, jointly sponsored by the BPC and DEP, and paid for entirely through pesticide product registration fees, has kept more than 90 tons of pesticides out of the waste stream since its start in 1982.

  • For more information on the Maine Board of Pesticides Control, go to: thinkfirstspraylast.org.
  • For more information on the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, go to: maine.gov/dep.

Local Bread Wheat Project Cited in Press Herald Report

August 13th, 2014 3:06 PM

A Portland Press Herald article about Maine bakeries using more local grains mentioned the Northern New England Local Bread Wheat Project, a USDA-funded collaboration of researchers, farmers, millers and bakers in Vermont and Maine that aims to help farmers increase organic bread wheat production and quality. For the past four years, Alison Pray, co-owner of the Standard Baking Co. in Portland, has been working with the Northern New England Local Bread Wheat Project at the University of Maine and the Northern Grain Growers Association. The groups occasionally send her new heritage wheat varieties to bake with so she can evaluate their properties and flavor, according to the article.

UMaine’s Aroostook Farm Celebrates 100 Years

August 13th, 2014 2:37 PM

The University of Maine’s Aroostook Farm in Presque Isle is celebrating 100 years of service to the state and Maine’s potato industry with a centennial celebration and alumni social on Aug. 13.

As the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture’s potato research facility, the farm is the center for agricultural research and development for Maine’s potato industry. Research and outreach programs at Aroostook Farm aim to provide essential information for Maine’s potato industry to remain competitive in a rapidly changing marketplace.

The farm’s celebration will include tours, a program commemorating the anniversary, and a social and picnic.

Invitations were mailed to more than 1,000 individuals and organizations including growers, producers and other representatives from the agricultural community; local, state and federal policymakers; university administrators; and alumni.

More information about Aroostook Farm and its centennial celebration is online.

Dill Quoted in AP Article on Berry Growers’ Fruit Fly Battles

August 11th, 2014 3:22 PM

James Dill, a pest management specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was quoted in an Associated Press article about Northeast berry growers learning how to combat an invasive fruit fly — the tiny spotted-wing drosophila — that wiped out 80 percent of some farms’ late-season fruit two years ago. Growers in Maine, the country’s largest producer of wild blueberries, are spraying and harvesting sooner and planting earlier varieties, the article states. “You take a loss, but the loss is on green berries rather than having to put more pesticides out there,” Dill said. The Portland Press Herald, Yahoo! News and Fox Business carried the AP report.

Sweet Corn IPM Newsletter No. 7 – August 8, 2014

August 11th, 2014 9:32 AM

sweet corn

Please visit the Highmoor Farm website for the University of Maine Sweet Corn Integrated Pest Management Newsletter No. 7, August 8, 2014, “Pest Pressure Variable – Higher Along the Coast.

Spotted Wing Drosophila Update: 8/8/2014

August 11th, 2014 9:04 AM
Male Spotted Wing Drosophila

Male Spotted Wing Drosophila, photo by Griffin Dill

We caught single flies in traps in Levant, Limington, Buxton and Gray. We caught six flies in our Turner locations.

Please visit the Highmoor Farm website for the August 8, 2014 Spotted Wing Drosophila Update, where you can subscribe to blog updates.

Dill Gives Tips for Dealing with Garden Pests, Diseases on WVII ‘Backyard Gardener’ Segment

August 6th, 2014 3:06 PM

James Dill, a pest management specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was featured in the latest installment of the “Backyard Gardener” series on WVII (Channel 7). Dill spoke about common garden pests and diseases such as beetles, woodchucks and late blight and offered advice on easy ways to prevent damage. For beetles, Dill suggests plucking them off plants and placing them in a cup of water with liquid soap detergent, or using traps. The ideal solution for dealing with larger wildlife such as woodchucks and groundhogs is to trap and release them, Dill says.

Press Herald Advances UMaine Extension’s Backyard Locavore Day

August 6th, 2014 2:44 PM

The Portland Press Herald previewed the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s sixth annual Backyard Locavore Day on Aug. 9. Several UMaine Extension experts will be on hand during self-guided tours of six backyards in Freeport and Brunswick. Visitors can learn do-it-yourself strategies for becoming a locavore, or a person who eats food locally grown and produced. Demonstrations and talk topics will include vegetable and square-foot gardening, backyard composting, greenhouses and beekeeping. Each garden session will feature food-preservation methods, including drying, hot water bath canning and making herbal vinegars and jam. Complimentary food samples will be provided.