Specialty Crops

Chief personnel and activities (2021-23)

Jim Jasinski, Frank Becker, Amy Stone - Extension
Brad Bergefurd (retired 2022) - Extension

Our team has several program thrusts in vegetables, small fruit and hops. We also maintain an active monitoring network of 26 key and invasive pests on these crops for producers. Specific outreach is aimed at educating growers to adopt IPM principles in their diversified operations, including identifying, monitoring and managing key and new invasive pests.

With increased hops acreage comes increased demand for pest management training in hops with a mix of new and existing operators needing basic and advanced hop IPM training. Educational materials such as scouting protocols and treatment tip sheets will be produced to accompany field days and workshops.

Invasive pests such as SWD and BMSB have been the focus of our training workshops and monitoring networks over the past decade. The Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicaltula) (SLF) is our newest non-native invasive species with a population detected in Jefferson county in October 2020. Specific efforts will be directed to outreach education, a priority of both the Ohio SLF Cooperative Group (ODA, ODNR, APHIS, OSU) and the OSU SLF Task Force led by Stone. The plan will include webinars and in person programming such as train-the-trainer to engage volunteers to extend our educational and monitoring efforts throughout Ohio. Videos featuring proper SLF identification, monitoring and management strategies will be produced and uploaded to the OSU IPM YouTube site for expanded reach to our digital audiences.

In 2017, Wayne County ranked 1st in the state for tree fruit and small fruit production and 12th in the state for vegetable production, totaling over $7.5M for the local economy. Wayne County in conjunction with neighboring Holmes County is home to the largest community of Amish in the world, with a population of over 30,000. The Amish population is actively involved in agricultural commerce, with a considerable number involved in fruit and vegetable production. Accordingly, educating Amish growers on IPM strategies and proper implementation of these strategies is crucial in maintaining an economically sustainable, environmentally sustainable, and locally grown food source. 

Pumpkins are an essential fall crop for most Ohio growers, bringing cash receipts of $9.9M in 2020. Established pumpkin research and extension programs on cover crops, disease resistant hybrid selection, fungicide efficacy, pollinator health and other emerging topics will be covered in a field day and several webinars, supplemented with new factsheets, a comprehensive pumpkin pest management guide and scouting videos for key pumpkin pests hosted on the OSU IPM YouTube site. 

Chief personnel and activities (2017-20)

Jim Jasinski, Brad Bergefurd - Extension
Celeste Welty (retired 2020) - Entomology
Frank Becker (added 2019), Amy Stone (added 2020) - Extension
Cindy Folck (left OSU 2018) - Extension

Lot's of new programming for 2019 and 2020. Added two new personnel to the program, Frank Becker and Amy Stone, but also lost Cindy Folck (resigned OSU) and Celeste Welty (retired). Frank's area of concentration will be working with Amish Audiences. Amy Stone has been in charge of several exotic pest invasions so when Spotted Lanternfly was detected in Ohio, she was designated as our point person to work with this pest. Catch up on both of their efforts in our annual report.

Invasive Pests Workshops - Celeste Welty, Jim Jasinski

The IPM program offered several events to prepare specialty crop growers for managing new invasive pests. The focus was on two invasive pests that have already been causing damage on fruit and vegetables in Ohio: the spotted-wing Drosophila and the brown marmorated stink bug. Information was also provided on one potential invasive pest that has not yet been detected in Ohio: the spotted lanternfly. A one-hour webinar was presented in March that covered all three pests, with emphasis on how to monitor them, and an overview of management tactics. A survey of attendees included the question ‘How helpful was the IPM information presented during today's webinar for your farming operation?’ to which 67% replied it was very helpful, and 33% replied that it was extremely helpful. A second webinar was presented on 24thApril for several Master Gardener Volunteers who had been recruited to assist with monitoring spotted-wing Drosophila in counties where we had no previous data on its occurrence. Both webinars were recorded and posted online at the OSU IPM YouTube site; the Master Gardener video has been viewed 39 times in the three months after it was posted.

About 15 growers attended a workshop in February conducted at the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Organization’s annual meeting where the pros and cons of using non-treated exclusion netting to keep SWD away from small fruit plantings were presented. At the end of the presentation, audience participants were recruited to construct a small-scale version of the exclusion netting system over a table top.  A video featuring the grower who designed and built the netting tunnel structure was produced and posted on the OSU IPM YouTube site (https://youtu.be/_eAODdcYnXk), where it has been viewed 251 times in the 10 months since it was posted.


Pumpkin Field Day - Jim Jasinski, Celeste Welty

This year 28 growers celebrated the 20thannual pumpkin field day held at the Western Agricultural Research Station in South Charleston with our outreach team! Despite beginning the season wet which delayed planting, growers generally agreed their crops looked about average compared to other years, some even predicted better than average yields. This year’s jack-o-lantern field day had some traditional topics like the powdery mildew fungicide demonstration trial and a 27-entry variety trial showcasing newer powdery mildew tolerant pumpkin and squash hybrids. A grower with decades experience with cover crops talked about how to use different cover crop combinations for weed and disease management. We also had a demonstration trial using biostimulants to enhance plant growth and yield. The highlight research project investigated using mustard cover crops as a biofumigant to reduce a significant soil borne disease, Plectosporiumleaf blight, on pumpkin foliage and fruit. The steps included planting the mustard cover crop, followed by mowing, rototilling, packing and then sealing the soil with water to allow the biofumigation process to work. 

Field day participants were asked to evaluate what they learned at the field day, and over 95% learned something useful about managing insects and diseases (n=21). Overall 75% of respondents use powdery mildew hybrids on their farm per our recommendation and 42% strongly agree that what they learned today will help them manage pests on their farm. About 65% stated they were very likely adopt at least one tactic they learned at the field day.


Urban Agriculture Workshops in Greene County - Jim Jasinski

Urban agriculture continues to expand throughout Ohio in larger cities such as Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Dayton, but even smaller cities are providing education and resources for local food production and programs. Two workshops in Greene County helped educate local growers and teachers on how to get started in this area. The first workshop was held in late March and had 29 participants, mostly growers and Master Gardeners. The topics were about basic season extension and pest management in high tunnels, low tunnels, and raised bed row cover systems. The second workshop called Project Greene Teachers was held in early June for 14 K-12 teachers who wanted to learn how to construct raised beds and discover programs related to gardening and pest management for youth. During the workshop, participants made a series of raised beds, installed plants and drip irrigation, and then attended a few presentations about pest management, pesticides, and insect identification. Several garden project oriented curriculum were provided to the teachers for use at their schools.  

Participants were evaluated after the workshops concluded. For the teacher’s workshop, 83% learned a great deal about cultural aspects of IPM, 67% learned a great deal about biological control, and 58% learned a great deal about pesticide use in IPM (n=12). Overall, 91% of respondents found the IPM information delivered to them very or extremely helpful for use in their classroom. For the season extension workshop, 45% of respondents found their knowledge of managing pests in those structures increased a moderate amount (n=24). When asked how helpful the IPM information was to their farm operation, 34% responded very or extremely helpful.


Hops IPM Workshops - Brad Bergefurd

Ohio has become a state where the craft beer industry has exploded over the past few years with over 290 craft breweries established. As a result, many growers are asking about how to grow and manage this relatively new crop. To help growers obtain the information they need to be successful, a series of field days and conferences have been established for growers to learn more about hops production. During the 2018 field season, four hops field days were held. The field days were part classroom and field presentations of basic IPM practices. Evaluations were handed out at the end of each meeting. Participants (n=15) reported being very or extremely confidence in identifying spider mites (67%) and managing spider mites (46%), being able to identify downy mildew (60%) and manage downy mildew (46%). Sixty percent of participants reported being very or extremely likely to use at least one IPM tactic discussed, while 34% of participants reported it was very or extremely likely what they learned would save their operation money.  


2018 Inversion and Drift Mitigation Workshop - Cindy Folck

Ohio IPM presented an Inversion and Drift Mitigation Workshop on April 10, 2018. The workshop focused on recognizing inversions that may affect herbicide applications. The workshop also discussed the Ohio Sensitive Crop Registry, recently merged with FieldWatch. Recordings of this workshop are available below along with the presentations and contact information for the speakers.

Understanding inversions and weather conditions
Aaron Wilson, Weather Specialist and Atmospheric Scientist, OSU Extension, Byrd Polar & Climate Research Center, wilson.1010@osu.edu



Click here for a PDF file of the presentation slides

Using Tools in Ohio Sensitive Crop Registry by FieldWatch
Jared Shaffer, Plant Health Inspector, Ohio Department of Agriculture, jared.shaffer@agri.ohio.gov 



Click here for PDF file of the presentation slides


Chief personnel and activities (2014-16)

Jim Jasinski, Cindy Folck, Brad Bergefurd - Extension
Celeste Welty, Mary Gardiner, Elizabeth Long, Chelsea Smith - Entomology
Sally Miller - Plant Pathology
Doug Doohan, Roger Downer - Horticulture and Crop Science

Buckeye Lady Beetle Blitz Program - Mary Gardiner, Chelsea Smithlady beetle

Three BLBB workshops were held this year in May at Wooster, Cleveland and Cincinnati OH. Over the past year we have made a major effort to summarize the lady beetle data collected across the state from 2009-2014. By visiting our website (ladybeetles.osu.edu) volunteers and others can view all project data summarized by year. They can also click on an interactive map to view what species were collected at each sample location. We are working on a publication examining how land beetles have changed over our sampling period, including the arrival and population increase of the non-native checkerspot lady beetles which is now very common in Ohio gardens. 

Pollination Investigators Program - Mary Gardiner

This program was launched in 2014 with the goal of measuring pollination services in home gardens. Volunteers attended training workshops and received toolkits including plants, mesh bags, instruction guides and data sheets. Their goals of this program were to select a sentinel crop plant which could be used in a citizen science program to measure pollination services, by comparing fruit set from pollinator-acceptable and inaccessible flowers using a paired cage study. Masters in Plant Health Management student Brian Kleinke evaluated the results of the 2014 and found that of the four plants examined (cucumber, tomato, pepper and sunflower) that pepper exhibited the lowest plant loss prior to flower and exhibited a significant difference in both fruit weight and seed number among insect pollinated and exclusion treatment flowers.  Based on his findings the Gardiner Lab has designed a Pollination Investigators protocol to be deployed to citizen scientists in 2016. 

High Tunnel Workshops - Brad Bergefurd

high tunnelA 1-2 day high tunnel training was developed and conducted in the spring or early summer in 2015 and 2016. This high tunnel training was flexible enough to include new and emerging pest management issues and topics. The high tunnel training helped transfer IPM and production practices utilizing regionally generated unbiased research based information generated from on-going research programs. Since the management of water in high tunnel production is so important to ensure a profitable and safe crop, a science behind water quality curriculum was also taught. Aspects of the Food Safety Modernization Act on water quality standards were taught to high tunnel growers so they will be better prepared when this act is fully implemented. Other topics such as aquaponics production in high tunnels, disease management, insect management, identification of natural enemies, and a session on how to graft plants to avoid soil borne diseases was also taught. The second day was devoted to touring established high tunnels located in southern Ohio.

Spotted wing Drosophila Webinar and Identification Workshop - Jim Jasinski, Celeste Welty

In a continued effort to educate growers across the state about monitoring and management issues surrounding spotted wing Drosophila,  a 65 minute webinar was held on May 6th that reached 50 people.  A broad range of topics was covered including  a pest overview, traps and attractants, field placement, brief identification section, cultural management, insecticide management, and how to conduct a salt water test to find larval infested fruit. In between the major sections of the webinar, we took a 5-10 minute break for questions from any of the online participants.  Some evaluation highlights included 53% of registrants have never seen this pest on their farm, and most respondents are not spraying for SWD but some are spraying as many as seven times per season. Nearly 79% of respondents said they will use the salt water test to find SWD larvae in fruit and 67% indicated they will use a baited trap to monitor for adult flies. A detailed two hour workshop for identifying SWD adults using stereo microscopes was held in Wooster on May 20th. 

Here is a link to the webinar online.

Vegetable Disease Fact Sheets and Website - Sally Millerveg web page

The focus of our work this past year included updating existing disease fact sheets and writing new ones for both field and high tunnel environments. In high tunnels the focus has been exclusively on tomatoes, with a total of seven fact sheets written. For field based diseases, there were updates to two fact sheets (Downy mildew and Phytophthora blight), one on anthracnose in onion, and garlic bloat nematode. Work has also begun on a series of fact sheets on Downy mildew and apple mosaic virus in cultivated hops, a crop which is expanding its acreage over the past few years. The completed fact sheets are listed on the website http://u.osu.edu/vegetablediseasefacts/

In addition to fact sheet writing, the website has been restructured and organized by host crop (tomato, cucurbit, garlic & onion, hops, and brassica) along the top of each web page for easy navigation. Tomatoes are separated into field and high tunnel/greenhouse diseases.  Each disease has a "home page" which contains a summary of the disease with the scientific name, host crops and disease pictures. It also offers the reader with three options for content; basic information, advanced information, and diagnostic information to help them answer their question efficiently and thoroughly. There are links and pictures throughout the text for the user to click to find more information.

Herbicide Drift Awareness - Doug Doohan & Roger Downer

Our team designed a short multiple choice questionnaire to assess the knowledge levels of field day participants regarding herbicide drift issues, especially issues related to the introduction of systems including 2,4-D and dicamba tolerant trait crops.  This questionaire will be distributed to around 70 participants prior to and following this summer’s field day season. We also held four meetings during the year to discuss the consequences of these herbicides in the landscape and their effect on specialty crops. We are currently working on fact sheet “Reducing Herbicide Drift Risk to Specialty Crops".


Chief personnel and activities (2013)

Jim Jasinski, Brad Bergefurd - Extension
Celeste Welty, Mary Gardiner, Chelsea Smith - Entomology
Sally Miller - Plant Pathology
Doug Doohan, Roger Downer - Horticulture and Crop Science

Spotted Wing Drosophila Workshops and Monitoring Network - Jim Jasinski, Celeste Welty

The spotted wing drosophila (SWD) was first detected in Ohio in September, 2011 in raspberries in Van Wert county.  This new species and its relatives are commonly called fruit flies or vinegar flies. Unlike the common fruit fly that is found on over-ripe fruit, the new species attacks ripening fruit of most berry crops such as raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, grapes, cherries, strawberries, as wellas peaches and apples. 

On April 30, 2014 we held our 2nd annual SWD workshop in Columbus to help growers monitor, identify, and learn how to manage this new invasive pest.  There were 29 growers and Extension educators registered.  By the end of the workshop, most attendees felt fairly confident they could identify this pest when they checked their apple cider vinegar or fermented yeast baited trap.

In 2014, 18 counties were official monitoring sites for SWD, and 11 had positive detects. The initial detections were at the end of June and early July.

Resources to help growers identify and manage SWD can be found here at Celeste Welty's site.

High Tunnel Workshops for Beginner and Advanced Growers - Brad Bergefurd

The EIPM High Tunnel Training was conducted at the Ohio State University Piketon Research & Extension Center on April 28, 29 and 30th, 2014.

This following was accomplished from this training program.

High tunnel educational farm and research tours,a series of educational sessions, a tomato grafting workshop with hands on training, and a pre and post assessment of growers knowledge

Teaching IPM management sessions including:

1.     Advanced Integrated Pest Management in high tunnels
2.     Crop Physiology and Nutritional Aspects of High Tunnel Production
3.     Tomato grafting procedures
4.     High Tunnel Greens and Berry Production
5.     Irrigation and Fertigation management
6.     Introduction to Integrated Pest Management in high tunnels
7.     Crop Physiology and Nutritional Aspects of high tunnel production
8.     Petiole sap analysis hands on training and demonstration
9.     High Tunnel Greens and Berry Production
10.  High Tunnel Production and Management Basics
11.  Follow up grower and Educator counseling activities


High Tunnel Disease Factsheets on Tomatoes - Sally Miller

A website was launched in May 2014 to post new fact sheets specifically targeting tomato diseases in high tunnels (http://u.osu.edu/hightunneldiseasefacts/).  Between May and October 2014, the site was visited 47 times with 22 unique visitors and 639 pageviews.  On average, viewers visited 14 pages per visit, with a visit duration of 16 minutes:28 sec.  Bounce rate was 40%.  

Comprehensive vegetable disease management fact sheets (field-produced vegetables) were written and posted on Vegetable Disease Facts (u.osu.edu/vegetablediseasefacts/).  Between March (launch) and October 2014, this website was visited 306 times with 223 unique visitors and 1,791 pageviews.  On average, viewers visited six pages per visit, with a visit duration of 7 minutes:15 sec.  Bounce rate was 58%.  


Herbicide Drift Awareness - Doug Doohan & Roger Downer

Starting in January 2014 we put together a presentation entitled “Herbicide Drift- A view from the other side of the fence.” This was presented to extension educators at an In-Service meeting. The presentation was intended to alert extension educators to the probability that drift incidents (especially related to 2,4-D and dicamba herbicides) will increase in specialty crops in the near future as a result of the introduction of 2,4-D and dicamba tolerant trait corn and soybeans.  The presentation also served as a reminder of the factors that are important in the creation of and therefore mitigation of herbicide drift.  It was also intended to show that while specialty crops are generally grown on less acres than corn or soybeans they are typically high value crops and many (grapes for example) are perennial.

This slide set was used as the basis for oral and poster presentations at field days during the summer.  Presentations were made at several field days including OARDC Western Branch, Muck Crops Research Station, OARDC Northwest Ag Research Station, Ohio Nursery Association Field day and Farm Science Review.

A fact sheet entitled “Reducing Herbicide Drift Risk to Specialty Crops” will be published in the near future.  An annotated and updated version of the powerpoint presentation will also be made available.


Buckeye Lady Beetle Blitz & Pollinator Investigators - Mary Gardiner & Chelsea Smith

The Buckeye Lady Beetle Blitz Program surveys native and exotic lady beetles across Ohio with the help of home gardeners. In 2014 we trained 94 participants across three workshops to collect and report lady beetle data. Each participant received a toolkit including all the materials needed to collect and interpret their data. Of these we had 77 and 70 volunteers send in their data from June and August, our two sampling periods.  Currently one undergraduate student and a laboratory technician are verifying the accuracy of volunteer identifications by examining their sticky cards and data sheets. A key outcome of this project will be a greater understanding of the current lady beetle assemblage using home gardens, how it varies across the growing season and if changes can be detected since we began collecting data in 2009.

The goal of the Pollination Investigators program is to measure how local and landscape variables influence pollination of vegetable crops in home gardens. In 2014 we trained 94 participants across three workshops to collect and report pollination data. Each participant received a toolkit including all the materials needed to collect and interpret their data. Of these we had only 7% of volunteers send in their data.