Ginseng Crop Update – August 3, 2018

The weather has been mostly cloudy and very humid for most of the past week. Combined with moisture stress and previous or continued damage from Alternaria, this has led to the development of Botrytis blight. The humid conditions have allowed the lesions of Botrytis blight to spread on leaves in such a way as to develop an Alternaria-like appearance. These two diseases can be easily confused under these conditions. Concentric rings are appearing in the Botrytis lesions (Figure 1), which are usually typical of Alternaria leaf blight. However, Botrytis lesions lack the typical yellow halo that is characteristic of Alternaria (Figure 2), and that is the best way to distinguish them. If Alternaria has been killed by a fungicide it will lose the yellow halo, but the lesions will become dry and often break apart and often partially fall off the plant.

Figure 1. Botrytis blight lesions developing on ginseng leaves. Note the lack of a yellow halo.
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Hop Harvest Timelines in Ontario

As we draw closer to the 2018 hop harvest season, grower reports from across the province suggest the crop is anywhere from one week ahead of normal to one week behind normal depending on cultivar and geographic location/growing zone.

Here is a re-blog of some harvest guidelines posted in 2017:

Hop production logo

By Evan Elford, OMAFRA New Crop Development Specialist & Alexandria Verkuyl, OMAFRA Summer Horticultural Research Assistant

As hop harvest approaches each year, questions arise about harvest timelines for specific cultivars grown in Ontario. Since hops are a re-emerging crop in the province, only preliminary information has been collected from replicated trials.  Here are a few guidelines and suggestions for planning your hop harvesting schedule this year.

Moisture test:
Target 20% dry matter in hop cones.  Moisture levels for some cultivars may be optimal at a slightly higher or lower dry matter percentage, but most fall within 20 ±  2% range.  By targeting initial harvest at 20% dry matter, larger fields taking more time to harvest or cultivars being harvested over multiple days will hopefully be completed within an acceptable moisture range.

Historical records:
Historical harvest records can help to schedule cultivar-specific harvest windows in your growing area but should always be confirmed with moisture tests. Table 1 depicts harvest timelines over two years for 10 different cultivars grown in a randomized and replicated trial at the Simcoe Research Station, Norfolk County, Ontario.  This table can be used as a guideline to better understand when specific hop cultivars may be maturing in your part of the province.  Keeping your own harvest records will help fine tune harvest dates in your particular growing region. Table 2 outlines the same cultivars with harvest dry matter, yield in kg/ha after drying and resulting alpha and beta acid ranges.

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GOHCBC Filling Up Fast!

After an unprecedented response since competition registration opened last week, the Great Ontario Hopped Craft Beer Competition is now 2/3rds full!


The 2019 beer style is New England India Pale Ale (NEIPA).

For more information and to register online visit!

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2019 GOHCBC Registration Now Open!

BeerLogo_2018_BASFRegistration is OPEN for the 2019 Great Ontario Hopped Craft Beer Competition!
Visit us at our new website for rules, style description, and to register online!
18 spots available – First come first served.

This year’s beer style is New England India Pale Ale (NEIPA).

Judges will adopt the developing guidelines for NEIPA from the BJCP. Entrants will be judged on the following description: 21B Specialty IPA – New England IPA (NEIPA)

The Overall Impression cites the NEIPA as…”An American IPA with intense fruit flavours and aromas, a soft body, and smooth mouthfeel, and often opaque with substantial haze. Less perceived bitterness than traditional IPAs but always massively hop forward. This emphasis on late hopping, especially dry hopping, with hops with tropical fruit qualities lends the specific ‘juicy’ character for which this style is known.”

Important New Changes: This year some new rules and changes have been implemented based on competitor feedback and ongoing administration requirements, including: Continue reading

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Lavender Crop Update – July 20, 2018

Lavandin cultivars are in full bloom across the province, while bloom of angustifolia cultivars is starting to wind down. Now is a good time to harvest angustifolias for essential oil. Bundle and bud harvest of lavandins should be winding down, while this would still be a good time to harvest fresh bundles from these cultivars.

With plants in full bloom, now is a good time to compare the size and shape of different plants and determine if some might be mislabelled or off-types. This is especially important if you intend to take cuttings from your plants later in the summer for propagation. Flag any abnormal plants so the cuttings are not mixed up later on. Most of the time when there are abnormal plants it is due to a mix-up at the propagation stage. Occasionally though, a mutant will develop with unique characteristics. Sometimes these can be a source for a new cultivar. Continue reading

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Ginseng Crop Update – Dealing with Lingering Alternaria July 18, 2018

Alternaria leaf and stem blight continues to be an issue in the ginseng industry this year. Much of the symptoms occurring now are due to damage earlier in the year, but active disease is still present in some gardens. In these gardens, hot and dry weather has contributed to the development of the disease despite repeated fungicide applications. A lack of control of the disease is usually due to one or more of these factors:

  1. The plant is stressed
  2. Spray coverage is poor
  3. The spray interval is too long for the conditions
  4. Improper choice of fungicide for the conditions

Plant Stress

The severity of the disease this year is likely due to a combination of the heat and the dry conditions causing the plant to be stressed and unable to defend against the disease. Continue reading

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Irrigation Water Quality and Mitigating Food Safety Risks

By Rebecca Shortt, Kathryn Carter, and Danielle Visschedyk, OMAFRA

Irrigation water can contain pathogens, microorganisms that cause illness or death in humans.  Every time contaminated water comes in direct contact with fruit or vegetables, there is a risk that these pathogens may be transferred to the produce.

Regulation 119/11 section 4 states that you cannot harvest, pack, sell or transport contaminated produce. Every effort should be made to prevent contamination of produce with pathogens to ensure the safety of consumers. Continue reading

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