Michigan State University Extension and MSU AgBioResearch will host the Vegetable and Root Crop Virtual Field Day from 6 to 8 p.m. Sept. 16.
MSU researchers and Extension specialists will share information on ongoing vegetable research in western Michigan during a Zoom webinar.
“Our virtual field day is intended to provide information with commercial vegetable producers and the industry members who serve them,” says Ben Werling of MSU Extension. “We have a very diverse group of vegetable commodities in west Michigan. Our virtual field day will feature on-farm work MSU is doing in partnership with this special group of growers.
“Like many of us, growers are visual learners, and the virtual field day will allow them to see ongoing work firsthand. Just as important, it will allow for informal conversations with our researchers.”
Topics of the Vegetable and Root Crop Virtual Field Day include:
- disease control of vegetables
- research on control of plant-parasitic nematodes in carrots and parsnips
- fertility research on nitrogen rates and timings for Michigan vegetables
- root crop research
- asparagus beetle research
Werling says he expects the virtual format to allow the team to discuss more crops and host more guests, since growers across the state will not have to travel to a geographical location for the experience.
For example, a previous field day yielded tangible results for only some of the state’s carrot growers, Werling says. MSU researchers showed guests a fungicide trial in carrots. Some producers had carrots with severe foliar blight, and they were concerned they may face significant losses.
“Mary Hausbeck, professor of plant soil and microbial sciences, had a fungicide trial that year on one of our cooperators’ farms," Werling explains. "It was very clear which products worked, as others had carrots with dead and dying tops. Two of these newer fungicide treatments were used that fall and in subsequent years, and they helped to turn around those carrot crops.
“They went from being worried about taking a loss to actually having a harvestable, profitable crop. As one grower told me, 'If we aren’t doing research, we aren’t moving forward.' We want to show growers what’s new, what’s up and coming, and what practices they can use on the farm. It’s a two-way conversation. Growers can learn about what’s happening and then provide feedback to us on what to focus on and how to make it useful for them.”
MSU’s research is supported by commodity groups, including the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board, Michigan Carrot Committee, the Michigan Onion Committee and Michigan Vegetable Council. These groups use industry funding to leverage competitive grants that support the work.
Restricted-use pesticide credits will be offered for the virtual field day. Certified crop adviser credits have been requested, and are pending approval.