Lake Ontario Fruit Program Enrollment

Program Areas

  • Food Safety
  • Variety Evaluation
  • Market Development
  • Pest Management
  • Cultural Practices

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  • Telephone / Email Consultations
  • Fruit Newsletter?
  • Direct Mailings
  • Educational Meetings & Conferences
  • In-Field Educational Opportunities
  • On-Farm Research Trials

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  • Helpful Diagnostic Tool:
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Planning Ahead with MidSummer Grasses

Mario Miranda Sazo, Cultural Practices
Lake Ontario Fruit Program

December 23, 2013

Growers who are planning to plant a new orchard site (or a replant site) next year can consider the use of cover crops before planting an orchard. Their benefits are numerous. When used they can: (1) improve organic matter, (2) break up compaction layers in the soil profile, (3) suppress weeds, and (4) control erosion. We recommend the use of sudangrass (review attached pdf document), but several other cover crops can be used. A more complete list of cover crop options can be found at the web site prepared by Thomas Borkman ( This tool was originally designed for vegetable growers, but is still very useful for fruit growers as well. Sudangrass and sorghum-sudangrass are midsummer grasses suitable for short, 8-10 week plantings. Sorghum-sudangrass is often referred to generically as Sudex. These grasses are the most heat and drought- tolerant cover crops typically grown in the Northeast. Sudangrass growth is easier to manage because the stems are narrower, it can be sown earlier than sorghum-sudangrass, and suppresses weeds better. These crops provide abundant root biomass, which is useful for increasing soil organic matter. Mowing encourages root growth. They suppress root knot nematodes and inhibit weed germination if densely sown. A few management tips: (1) land preparation: prepare a clod-free seedbed. Avoid hard soil and wet spots. Do not plant just before a heavy rain, (2) seeding rate: 30 lbs/acre for biomass and nematode control, 50 lbs/acre for weed control, (3) seeding date: June through mid-August (sudangrass), July through mid August (sorghum-sudangrass). These cover crops require warm soil to germinate, (4) maintenance: mow when 20-30 inches tall, leaving a six inch stubble. Two cuts in average can be conducted per season with sudangrass. Leave residue on the soil surface for weed suppression. Timely mowing is important because tall, fibrous plants are difficult to mow or incorporate, and (5) control: big crowns decompose slowly, making it difficult to prepare a seedbed for small-seeded crops. Incorporate sudangrass if planting something else in the fall. Otherwise, mow for winter-killed mulch on the surface and till in early spring. Tall, unmowed sudangrass will winterkill, but is difficult to manage in the spring. Summary: By implementing the use of cover crops you will reduce erosion of topsoil from slopes and suppress weed growth. Proper site preparation will often involve significant disturbance of the soil in order to add amendments (lime, phosphorous), install drain tile, etc. If a cover crop is not established soon after soil work is finished for the year, rainfall and melting snow can result in a significant loss of topsoil from the site. Sowing a cover crop will also help to prevent the re-establishment of weeds that the grower has worked hard to eliminate from the site. Note: The sudangrass technical information was excerpted/modified from Cornell cover crop guide for sudangrass. Cornell University. 2pp. Ver. 1.100716 (Borkman, T. and J.W. Shail. 2010).

Planning Ahead with MidSummer Grasses (pdf; 89KB)

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Asian Pears

Asian Pears

















Raspberries / Blackberries

Raspberries / Blackberries



Unusual Fruit

Unusual Fruit

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Upcoming Events

Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) Training & Food Safety Plan-Writing Workshop

February 2 - February 3, 2023
Newark, NY

Goals of this workshop:

  • Understand how GAPs (Good Agricultural Practices) impact produce safety, and how you can improve practices on your farm to reduce the risk of microbial contamination
  • Learn the difference between a FSMA Inspection and a GAPs audit, and learn what is needed to have a USDA GAP/GHP audit and the 2 types (Basic & Harmonized)
  • Begin writing a farm food safety plan that complies with a USDA GAP/GHP Audit

This workshop is targeted at Mott's growers who need to have a successful GAP audit for the 2023 harvest. However, all farms and organizations are invited to attend.  

We will have several breaks, including a lunch break, scattered throughout the day, but feel free to step away whenever you need to. Lunch and snacks provided. Note: All times are approximate. Time spent on each topic varies depending on audience and questions/discussion. There will be time for questions at the end of each section and a final opportunity for questions when we close for the day.  

Instructors Confirmed: Craig Kahlke (CCE-LOF), Robert Hadad (CCE-CVP), Caroline Boutard-Hunt (CCE-Yates), Judy Wright (CCE-Seneca), and Representatives from NYS Dept. of Ag & Mkts.

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How Profitable Will My New Orchard Investment Be? 1-day, hands-on skills class

February 7, 2023
Highland, NY

The Eastern NY Commercial Hort Team and the Lake Ontario Fruit Team are offering a 1-day, hands-on course at 5 locations in NYS in January and February for tree fruit farms on using farm financial information and other resources to make decisions about long-term investments or changes to their business.  We will apply the techniques covered in the 8-part webinar series in December to scenarios using sample financial data from fruit farms in NYS.

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Apple Leafcurling Midge IPM - Webinar

Event Offers DEC Credits

February 16, 2023

In recent years, the apple leafcurling midge (ALCM) has become an increasingly problematic pest in many orchards across the northeast.

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Save the Date! - Scroll down for Upcoming Events

Have you missed a meeting recently? All recorded LOFP hosted webinars can be found on our YouTube Channel

NOW - please scroll down to find the link to the short NY Herbicide Resistance Survey!

Courses Available All Year - Cornell Small Farms Program New Season of Online Courses-Enroll Now!


26 Jan - Innovative new technology to implement PACMAN (Part 2) & How's your adoption going?- 12pm (Eastern) - online - registration required

16 Feb - Apple Leafcurling Midge IPM - Webinar - 1:30-2:30pm - Registration Now Open

27 & 28 Feb - WNY Winter Fruit Conference - Registration Now Open

14 Mar - USDA/RMA Listening Session - Spring 2023 Apple Grower Meeting -
The Risk Management Agency (RMA) is inviting interested parties to participate in a listening session to discuss the proposed changes to the apple crop insurance program. Free - Rochester

15 Mar - Fire Blight Informational Webinar Series - Using biopesticides to help control fire blight - 7-8PM

13 Jun - Fire Blight Informational Webinar Series - Pruning and sanitation strategies to reduce fire blight - 7-8PM

18 Oct - Fire Blight Informational Webinar Series - Using weather and environmental conditions to optimize biologicals and biopesticides for bloom production - 7-8PM

Food Safety Virtual Office Hours

Cornell Institute of Food Safety "Virtual Office Hours", Tuesdays Noon to 1pm

Past recorded virtual office hours can be found on YouTube:

Webinar Recordings

Check out the recordings of some recent webinars:


Employment Opportunities

The CCE-LOF Program has created a space to share Lake Ontario Fruit Region local employment opportunities. See listings and details for sharing listings at|business

Pollinator Resouces

Now available Pollinator Resource Links

Meeting Recordings Now Available

Did you miss the recent meeting?  Check and see if we recorded it and added it to our website or Lake Ontario Fruit Program YouTube Channel.

Honeycrisp Meetup recordings available here.

Why are my trees growing so poorly? recording available here.

Additional Recorded Webinars listing with recording and resource link are available at|crops|apples|crop*38

New Publication on Growing Pawpaws

Are you a fan of pawpaws? These custardy fruits can be hard to come across, so this guide provides information on how to grow your own pawpaw from seed, and how to care for grafted seedlings. Pdf on growing now available.​|crops|unusual_fruit|crop*50

New Weed Management Technology Survey

Want to move away from herbicide reliance? Are you using novel technologies to manage weeds? We want to know about it to inform our weed science research. A team of weed scientists from University of California Davis, Oregon State University, and Cornell University are asking berry, tree fruit, tree nut, and vine crop growers to take 5 to 10 minutes and answer this short and anonymous survey. Weed Technology Survey link:

For more information on this survey please visit

Pollinator Webinar Series - Summer 2020

The Pollinator Webinar Series presented by Penn State cover bee health and pollination services.

Bloom Pesticides for Pollinator Health

A reference table created by Janet van Zoeren and Anna Wallis, is now available at|pests.