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Fruit crops are growing quickly. Spring must finally be here. In Lafayette, apples are mostly at petal fall with a few still at full bloom. Grapes have 1 to 4 inch shoots. Pawpaws are blooming. Bramble blossoms are visible in black raspberries but not in red raspberries and blackberries at this time. Strawberries are in bloom. Among the Ribes group, black currants are at petal fall, white and red currants and gooseberries are still blooming. There’s obvious winter injury in blackberries and several grape varieties. Aronia is in bloom and asparagus harvest continues. A few lucky souls are finding morels.  

May 22, 2019 I INDY International Wine Competition Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN Contact Katie Barnett, barnett6@purdue.edu http://www.indyinternational.org/ Nearly 2,000 entries from around the globe will be evaluated by our distinguished judges at the 2019 INDY International Wine Competition. Wine writers and winemakers, winegrowers and enologists, chefs and sommeliers, wine distributors, retailers and consumers meet every year in the heart of America, a truly central place for your wines to be seen and recognized. June 1, 2019 Vintage Indiana Military Park, Indianapolis, IN Contact Katie Barnett, barnett6@purdue.edu http://www.indyinternational.org/ 20th Celebration of Indiana Wines. 11:00am VIP entrance, 12(noon)-6pm regular admission entrance.Vintage Indiana Wine Fest is the BIGGEST annual celebration of delicious wines produced only in Indiana! We’re dedicated to celebrating not just the wine, but the spirit of Indiana winemakers; the only winemakers in the world capable of blending Hoosier hospitality into every bottle. This year’s festival features nearly 30 Indiana[Read More…]

5/9/2019 The biggest topic seems to be how wet it is and how much more rain Indiana can expect. So far, May has experienced near-normal precipitation throughout the central part of the state with 0.5”-2” in southern and northern regions (Figure 1).  Combining this with April’s precipitation, however, means the soil moisture is still 60mm to over 80mm above average (Figure 2), causing saturated soils and the propensity for flooding anytime precipitation occurs. Speaking of which, 0.25”-1.5” of additional precipitation is expected over the next 7 days with the lower amounts favoring the northwestern part of the state.  Could there be drying beyond that?  The climate outlook for May 16-22 is indicating slight probabilities for below-normal precipitation in the northern counties, but the rest of the state is statistically uncertain to predict above- or below-normal precipitation with confidence.  However, keep in mind that normal precipitation (based upon 1981-2010 data) during[Read More…]

Grapes are in the early stages of growth across the state, from bud break to pre-bloom. This is the most important time to maintain “preventative” control of the major grape diseases such as Phomopsis, black rot, powdery and downy mildew. Our general recommendation is to maintain good coverage with mancozeb through the early stages of growth. When vines reach the pre-bloom stage, addition of one of the demethylation inhibiting (DMI) fungicides in the FRAC 3 group greatly improves black rot control and provides powdery mildew control. Rally, Tebustar, Procure, and Mettle are common FRAC 3 fungicides. This group is systemic, thus very rainfast. There are a number of other options available, but this simple approach has been very effective in our trials.

Blackberries and raspberries have become increasingly popular crops for growers in the state. There are a number of issues with bramble crops. Blackberries are only marginally cold hardy for central and northern Indiana, often suffering damage at temperatures of -10˚F or below. Growers using a trellis and winter protection are having success avoiding winter injury, but damage is common where plants are not protected. Blackberries usually show “delayed winter injury” rather than complete death of above ground portions. We’re seeing lots of that this year in the Lafayette area following temperatures in the mid to high teens below zero. Along with winter injury is cane blight, especially on thornless blackberries. This disease seldom expresses itself unless winter injury occurs, even though the canes may be infected. Red necked cane borer is a common insect pest that also predisposes canes to winter injury. Often canes die above the location on the[Read More…]

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News Release- WASHINGTON, May 6, 2019 – USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that organic producers and handlers can apply for federal funds to assist with the cost of receiving and maintaining organic certification through the Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP). Applications for fiscal 2019 funding are due Oct. 31, 2019. “Producers can visit their local FSA county offices to apply for up to 75 percent of the cost of organic certification,” said FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce. “This also gives organic producers an opportunity to learn about other valuable USDA resources, like farm loans and conservation assistance, that can help them succeed. Organic producers can take advantage of a variety of USDA programs from help with field buffers to routine operating expenses to storage and handling equipment.” OCCSP received continued support through the 2018 Farm Bill. It provides cost-share assistance to producers and handlers of agricultural products for the[Read More…]


May 9, 2019 A few days of pretty warm temperatures (around 80 degrees) have pushed growth of fruitlets. Peaches and nectarines are at least thumb-size and the apple king fruit range from 11-14 mm. Sweet cherries look to be on target for harvest in about two weeks. Engelbrecht’s Countryside Orchard


No reason exists to expect drought anytime soon in Indiana, with much of the state remaining rather wet after last weekend’s showers. One good new development exists.  The precipitation pattern that has existed since nearly January seems to be becoming a little less predictable, which could mean more periods of drier weather between fronts on the horizon.  Another bit of good news exists in above normal temperatures predicted on both the 7-10 and 8-14 day forecasts, according to the Climate Prediction Center (https://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/), which would allow for quicker drying of soils after any precipitation that does fall. Current growing degree days (base 50) for 2019, as of April 22, vary from 206 in Indianapolis to 322 in Evansville to 111 in Angola, marking a clear gradient in insect development and greening from south to north. The entire state is now monitoring conditions for issuance of frost/freeze warnings from the NWS,[Read More…]


The season is underway in the Lafayette area thanks to the warmer than normal conditions of the past week. Apples are at pink to early bloom, early grapes are at bud break and late ones are at full swell, currant, gooseberry and honey berry are in bloom, strawberry flower buds are visible in the crowns, and raspberry and blackberry both have well developed shoots. Paw paws are in pre-bloom.