Continue managing late season downy mildew in hops

As most growers are aware, downy mildew is extremely active in Ontario hops this year due to the ideal conditions for development of the disease.  For new growers, an article on identifying symptoms of this disease can be found in this blog post  (  Although some areas of the province have dried up somewhat, it is still important to continue sprays of preventative fungicides, as the disease can easily spread to the cones.   Given the high levels of the disease across the province it is important to continue with sprays to protect developing bracts before cones close up.

For conventional growers, rotations of Zampro (ametoctradin + dimethomorph – Group 40/45), Torrent (cyazofamid – Group 21) , Revus (mandipropamid – Group 40) and Copper 53W (copper sulphate – Group M) should be continuing on a 7-10 day interval. In areas of the province that are drier and have less active infection, it may be possible to stretch the application interval longer,  Organic growers have more limited options for control of downy mildew.  Copper 53 W is likely the most effective organic product, but is limited to 4 applications per season.  This can be rotated with Regalia Maxx and Serenade Opti, however both of these products are labelled for partial suppression only of downy mildew.     Continue reading

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Powdery mildew active in Ontario hops

Powdery mildew

While downy mildew is still the predominant disease affecting hops in Ontario, it’s not the only disease growers have to worry about.  Over the last week, we have had several reports of powdery mildew in commercial hop yards across the province.   Powdery mildew was first reported in Ontario in 2014 (see this blog post for that report, however it has not been commonly reported from commercial yards until this year.  Powdery mildew was also reported earlier this season affecting commercial hop yards in Michigan.

Conditions this year in many areas of Ontario have been ideal for the spread of powdery mildew.  Optimal conditions for powdery mildew infection in hops include high humidity, reduced light levels/cloudy conditions and temperatures between 18 and 21°C (although infection can occur between 8 and 28°C).  Unlike downy mildew, powdery mildew does not require free water (wet leaves) to infect and the spores can germinate under high humidity alone.

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Lavender Crop Update – July 21, 2017

Lavandins are reaching full bloom in many areas (Figure 1), while angustifolia cultivars are at the end of bloom. Most cultivars are past the best stage for flower bundle harvest, except for fresh bundles of lavandins. Harvest for essential oil distillation can be done at any time now on both types of lavender. Since angustifolias are past bloom, it is best to harvest for distillation as soon as possible. Not only does essential oil quality gradually degrade over time, especially in wet weather, but some cultivars begin to shatter their buds easily and yield potential can be reduced substantially if this occurs.

Figure 1. Closeup of a ‘Grosso’ lavandin flower at peak bloom on July 21, 2017. Note some of the buds are finished blooming with dried petals still attached, some have not bloomed yet, and the rest are in full bloom. Oil yield reaches its peak at this stage, remains at that level to the end of harvest and only is lost with the loss of buds. Continue reading

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Ginseng Crop Update – July 14, 2017

We have had about 36 straight hours of leaf wetness over the past two days. This combined with heavy downpours and moderate temperatures both day and night are perfect conditions for the development of foliar Phytophthora. Re-application of foliar fungicides may be required. Continue reading

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Farmer Mental Health – A Conversation that Matters

By: Jessica Kelly, Direct Farm Marketing Specialist, OMAFRA

“That project taught me some important lessons like just because something looks profitable in Excel does not necessarily translate into actual profitability.  That project was an unmitigated disaster from a production standpoint and the timing coincided with a run up in corn values and collapsing hog prices.  As fall turned to winter in 2012, our financial position deteriorated rapidly and losing everything that Mum and Dad had built became a real possibility.  I internalized this, blaming myself entirely for the failure of the project and causing the extra level of vulnerability for my parent’s finances.  I could not sleep nor could I communicate with loved ones as I retreated down the dark path of depression.  My self-hate knew no bounds, I would scream at myself in the barn when I made simple errors, I would be paralyzed in the seat of my car when I got to the barn, dreading actually going in to the building.”  

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Hops Field Days in July

See below for information about two upcoming OHGA-hosted field days.

Growing season is well underway, but there is still time for great learning opportunities.  In conjunction with OMAFRA, the Ontario Hop Growers’ Association is offering two field dates.

Western Ontario

Date:  Thursday, July 6, 5-7 pm

Hosted by:  Tavistock Hop Company, 2509 Perth Line 26, RR2 Tavistock (Park anywhere on the front lawn beside the driveway)

Eastern Ontario

Date:  Monday July 17, 4-6:30 pm

Hosted by:  Don Wilford, 891 Chase Rd., Consecon, Ontario, K0K 1To


Informal in-field workshop with Evan Elford & Melanie Filotas of OMAFRA

Evan will talk about irrigation, fertility or other production issues and Melanie will talk about pests of the moment, followed by a Q&A.  Growers are invited to bring unknown plant and insect samples for diagnosis (must be in sealed bag and not brought into the host hopyard).

To register or for more information, please visit:



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Lavender Crop Update – June 23, 2017

The first lavender cultivars are close to bloom in some areas and the harvest season will begin shortly (Fig. 1). For bundles and buds, it is best to harvest near the time the first buds begin to open. This is when the buds have reached full colour but before dead petals begin to appear on the flower clusters. For oil production, harvest should wait until at least peak bloom. From then on, oil quality will very gradually decline, although many growers harvest several weeks after peak bloom to extend the agri-tourism season, and still have good quality oil.

Figure 1. ‘Hidcote’ and other earlier blooming lavender cultivars are at full bud and ready to bloom in many areas. Bloom usually last about 4 weeks per cultivar depending on the weather, with peak appearance in the first 2 weeks of that period.

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