Development of disease management, fertility, and weed control best practices for northeast garlic production

Final Report for LNE12-319

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2012: $50,853.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2014
Grant Recipient: Cornell Cooperative Extension
Region: Northeast
State: New York
Project Leader:
Crystal Stewart-Courtens
Cornell Cooperative Extension
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Project Information

Summary:

Garlic is a $20 million industry in New York, and it represents an important and growing niche crop across the Northeast. As the numbers of garlic growers and acreage in garlic have increased, the number of diseases associated with this once trouble-free crop have also increased. Nearly 25% of growers surveyed indicated they have lost 30% or more of their garlic crop at least once in the last five years.

To reduce these losses and increase productivity, we developed best practices for garlic in the Northeast through a series of research trials. A post-harvest trial compared treatments by examining marketable yield and disease incidence following heated curing, cutting garlic tops and roots prior to curing, and washing immediately following harvesting. A weed control trial compared both organic and conventional options to determine which weed controls are the most efficient, effective, and feasible for organic and conventional growers. A fertility trial compared available recommendations from the Northeast to determine optimal timing and rates of fertilizers. These trials were replicated from the Albany, NY area down to Long Island, providing a diversity of soils, environmental conditions, and hardiness zones which are applicable throughout the Northeast.

The results of all three trials have been widely shared with growers through meetings, newsletter articles, and website information, with a focus on the post-harvest trial results and fertility results, which growers have found more immediately applicable than the weed control results, which were heavier on herbicide use than most growers were interested in. During the grant period, over 1,200 growers and Master Gardeners attended 19 talks related to this grant. Twelve articles were published in newsletters distributed to growers throughout the Northeast, and one of the meetings was covered by a contributor to Vegetable Growers News.

Grower change and planned change with this project has been quite significant. 50 growers (96% of respondents) reported that they will be using soil tests to guide their fertility decisions. Follow-up surveys and individual conversations indicate that yields have been increased by fine-tuning Nitrogen rates on at least 50 acres of garlic. 93% of respondents indicated they understand the importance of creating an optimal drying environment and have long-term plans to do so, and 38% are now growing in warm-air environments to speed the drying process. 43% of growers indicated they are now cutting the tops off garlic in the field. The long-term impacts of these actions and their economic importance will continue to be measured in the coming years, as additional garlic projects continue.

Introduction:

Garlic production has increased significantly in New York and throughout the Northeast. In New York, in 1992, only 11 acres of garlic were reported.  By 1997 the number grew to 153 acres and by 2007 it again doubled to 306 acres (1). New York is the fifth largest garlic producing state in the country(2), and ten percent of all New York vegetable farms report growing garlic(1). That is a higher percentage of growers than for broccoli, cabbage, carrots, lettuce, or onions.  Other Northeastern states also contain significant numbers of garlic growers. Although acreage is small compared to other crops, the high value per acre makes garlic a financially important aspect of the vegetable industry. This year, garlic averaged $8.00 per pound considering retail and wholesale markets. At an average yield of 8,000-10,000 lbs/A (3), the 306 acres just in New York are worth $19.6M to $24.5M in gross sales.

As the numbers of garlic growers and acreage have increased, the diseases and insects associated with garlic in the Northeast has also increased.  Garlic growers at the 2011 Hudson Valley Garlic Festival (HVGF) were surveyed to determine the economic impact these pests have had on their crops in the last 5 years. The results are summarized in Table 1(attached). The total loss reported by just the respondents at this one festival totaled $855,000.

Another indicator of the widespread disease issues is the results of screening for Garlic Bloat Nematode (Ditylenchus dipsasci).  In 2010 Dr. George Abawi, the Cornell nematologist at Geneva, tested 88 samples in poor condition and only 28 of them tested positive for nematode. Currently, (September 2011) Dr. Abawi estimates that he has processed approximately 250 samples, with 30% positive for GBN (4). The rest of the samples suffered from diseases.

By improving best management practices of growers, and building on work currently being conducted to control Garlic Bloat Nematode (SARE grant ONE11-149, Managing Garlic Bloat Nematode Using Bio-Fumigant Cover Crops) and to produce disease-free seed stock (SARE grant LNE11-306, Increased Profits from Disease-Free Garlic Planting Stock) we will be able to reduce disease incidence and improve overall yield and quality. The following issues were identified by the specialists and GSF contacts.

    • Fertility: Many growers have indicated that they do not add fertilizers prior to planting garlic or during the growing season, and that they do not use soil tests to guide their decisions. Many amend using cover crops or compost, and are assuming that this will provide sufficient nutrients. Growers do not even know their pH’s, which means that even nutrients that are applied may not be available. These results were echoed in the survey conducted at the HVGF this year, where 64%, or 24 of growers said that they do not use soil testing to guide their decisions.

Even if growers are using soil tests to guide their decisions, recommendations vary widely from state to state, even just considering temperate climates. Two recommendations are attached as tables 2 and 3.

In addition to these recommendations, Ontario’s garlic recommendation indicates that “fertilizer recommendations for garlic in Ontario have not been fully determined” (3); ATTRA, a primary resource for organic growers, does not provide specific recommendations (5); and Penn State recommends a flat 150 lbs each of P and K, with N split at 75 lbs at planting, and 50 lbs split at 6” and around May 1st (6). The Penn State Bulletin does not indicate how a grower would adjust these recommendations based on soil test results. No best recommendation is clear.

    • Weed Control: The other primary limiter of garlic vigor besides fertility is weed pressure. Garlic is a poor competitor with weeds at any growing stage, and intense weed pressure can significantly reduce yield (7). Weed control efforts must begin in the fall before planting and must then extend through both cool season and warm season weed seed germinations in the spring/summer. Many growers consider weed control to be their number one problem/expense (7). This concern, and the need to explore more options for weed control, was reiterated in survey results from the HVGF. 84% of growers placed weed control in their top three priorities for education. 31% of respondents indicated this was their top priority for continued education.
    • Post-harvest treatment: After making the full investment of growing a crop of garlic, many growers struggle to maintain quality from harvest to sale. Diseases such as Botrytis neck rot, Penicillium, and surface molds such as Embellisia Skin Blotch are common in curing areas with variable moisture, such as barns and sheds. Effects of poor post-harvest treatment can be devastating. A grower near the coast of Maine lost approximately $20,000 in garlic this year and now has to re-build his seed stock. Another grower who has allowed me to conduct trials on his farm experienced similar issues this year after moving his storage area. All of his garlic looked healthy coming from the field, including what I personally harvested from trials, but within two weeks roughly 2/3-3/4 of four acres of crop had developed enough surface mold to make it nearly unmarketable. This scenario has been repeated on numerous farms.

Traditionally, resources such as Growing Great Garlic have advocated drying garlic with the tops and roots on. However, in the already humid climate of the Northeast, drying the bulb plus the leaves and roots in a room-temperature structure can take from weeks up to a month, depending on the year. During that time, the whole plant is still green and moist, and is vulnerable to infection. Some growers are beginning to trim tops and/or roots in the field to avoid this problem, or to cure in high-tunnels, but there is no research about the effect this change has on saleable yield or quality.

Performance Target:

Objectives and Performance Targets:

Fertility and weed control: 50 garlic growers representing 100 acres of garlic will increase yields by 10% or more by optimizing their fertility programs based on soil tests and our recommendations and/or by reducing weed competition using a new technique. This increase in yield will increase production on these 100 acres by 80,000 pounds, which will increase gross income by $640,000, or an average of $12,800 per grower (based on initial production of 8,000lb/A).

According to our survey results, 50 respondents said they would definitely use soil tests to guide decisions after learning our results, and 2 said they would not. It was not reflected in our survey questions, but during the workshops we discovered that often growers would not be creating yield increases with their fertility, as they were already applying adequate to excessive levels of nutrients in the form of compost (this was especially true with the smaller garlic growers). For these growers, the change was also to switch to a different nitrogen source and stop increasing phosphorus levels.

In respondents who were not applying adequate fertility, which we estimate from the in-session straw poll to be about 50%, increases in fertility application led to increases in yield and bulb size (2014 garlic fest survey, following winter schools). Fertility adoption was more successful than weed control adoption. The vast majority of survey respondents indicated they had increased awareness of alternative weed control methods including mechanical cultivation, vinegar, and mulches, but only about 15% of respondents indicated making any changes to their weed control program. The most common change was to try plastic mulch. Interestingly, we now question whether plastic mulch is causing increased winter injury, since snow slides off and leaves garlic more exposed.

We are confident, based on survey results and grower feedback, that we increased yields on 50 acres of garlic through application of adequate fertility. We are also confident that fertilizer use is being reduced on many farms based on increased soil testing, though we were not prepared to quantify this finding.

Post-harvest best practices: 50 garlic growers representing 100 acres of garlic will reduce curing time by 50%, from an average of 10-14 days to 5-10 days. Reducing curing time reduces incidence of diseases including Botrytis alli (neck rot), Pennicillium sp. (blue mold), and surface molds. It also slows the spread of Fusarium proliferatum (Fusarium bulb rot)(12). During years with poor natural curing conditions, we expect growers with reduced pre-curing leaf and root mass and/or warm storage areas to experience reductions of at least 25% in disease incidence over storage in open-air facilities. Based on our results, this would result in an economic benefit of at least $427,400, or an average of $8,548 per grower.

Impacts related to this performance target have been extremely encouraging. According to our final survey results, 97% of respondents understood the importance of harvesting at proper maturity and 93% understood the importance of creating an optimum drying environment. This translated favorably into actual changes, with 43% of growers now cutting tops in the field and an additional 13% considering it; 38% of growers now drying garlic in a space warmer than the ambient environment and an additional 10% still considering it; and 69% field grading to leave diseases and defects in the field with 3% considering the practice.

Using these survey results, extrapolated out to the approximately 300 growers in New York, we could estimate that about 130 are now cutting tops in the field; 110 are drying in warmer environments; and over 200 are practicing field grading. Even if we divide these numbers in half, assuming that not every grower has seen these results, we are still successfully meeting the objective of having at least 50 growers representing 100 acres make substantial changes to their drying practices.

It is harder to look at a reduction in curing time from 10-14 to 5-10 days during the study period because the summers have provided extremely good drying weather. Growers who were experiencing problems based on crowded drying in particular have experienced benefits on this scale already, but the rest will not realize the complete benefits of the modified atmosphere drying until we have a wet August.

 

 

Cooperators

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • Sandra Menasha
  • Rod Perry
  • Teresa Rusinek
  • David Stern

Research

Materials and methods:

Materials and Methods:

Hypothesis 1: Improving cultural practices to optimize nutrition and limit competition will result in increased quality and/or yield of garlic. This hypothesis was tested with a fertility trial and a weed control trial.

 Introduction: Rates and timing of fertility applications on garlic vary greatly due to a lack of definitive     recommendations. Nitrogen needs are of particular interest because of the concern that mistimed nitrogen   applications will not be available to the garlic when it needs it. This study focused on finding the nitrogen   levels that optimize yield and determining what percent of nitrogen should be applied in the spring versus in the fall.

About the trials: Three organic farms on Long Island, in the Hudson Valley, and in the Mohawk Valley   Region were selected for trialing. The soils on these farms ranged from sandy to gravelly loam with a high organic matter content. Soil tests were taken using Agro-One testing laboratory in September of 2012 to guide fertility recommendations. Fertilizer was then applied to thirty-foot plots as a banded application in-furrow at planting. Phosphorus and potassium were both brought to the optimal levels as indicated by the soil tests and based on current recommendations (Table 1), and nitrogen was applied at 6 different levels (Table 2). Nitrogen recommendations were reduced based on the percent organic matter in the soil. Recommendations were reduced by 10 lbs/A for every percentage of organic matter in the soil.

  Table One: Rates of P and K based on soil testing. Source: Agro-One Soil Labs

Garlic

Phosphorus (P2O5) Lbs/A

Potassium (K2O) Lbs/A

Soil Test Results

Very low <3lbs/A

Low       3-6

Medium     7-13

High         14-40

Very High     >40

Very low <50

Low     51-100

Medium 101-200

High   201-300

Very High >300

Incorporate at planting

200

150

100

50

0

200

150

100

50

0

TOTAL

150

100

75

50

0

150

100

75

50

0

 

Table 2: Six experimental fertility treatments

 

50 lbs total Nitrogen

100 lbs total Nitrogen

150 lbs total Nitrogen

All fall

All fall

All fall

75% fall, 25% spring

75% fall, 25% spring

75% fall, 25% spring

Slow release forms of nitrogen including alfalfa meal and pelletized chicken manure were applied in the fall. All nitrogen applied in the spring was in the form of fish emulsion, which was considered quick release. Care was taken not to fertilize excessively with phosphorus or potassium in order to reach optimal nitrogen levels. For example, pelletized chicken manure might supply half the needed nitrogen, but once phosphorus was     optimized the remainder of the nitrogen was applied as alfalfa meal.

Existing recommended call for splitting the spring nitrogen applications. However, research by Angela   O’Callaghan indicates that splitting the application does not increase yields. Therefore, we applied spring   nitrogen in one application, as close to when garlic begins growing as possible.

Results:

Two of the farms showed clear trends related to the fertility treatments: Farms 1 and 3. Farm 2 did not show clear trends, which might be explained by the high weed pressure on this farm. The weeds might have both consumed most of the nitrogen and competed with the garlic, suppressing yields. When this farm is removed from the data, it becomes clear that 50 lbs of nitrogen is not enough to maximize yield, regardless of timing. What is not as clear is what the effects of timing and rates are once we jump to 100 lbs of nitrogen. According to the data, 100 lbs of fall nitrogen leads to better yields than 100 lbs of nitrogen split between the fall and spring. 150 lbs of nitrogen yields better than 100 lbs both in the fall and as a split application, but the difference is fairly small—if a grower produced 1000 pounds of garlic using the 100 lbs of N in the fall rate compared to the 150 lbs of N in the fall rate, he or she would only increase yield by about 50 lbs, or 5%. Comparing the 100 lb rate to the 150 lb rate with a split application increases the yield gain to 139 lbs, or about 14%.

Discussion: Although it is clear that more work needs to be done to determine the best relatively high rate of nitrogen to use to maximize garlic yield, it is clear that applying at least 100 lbs of nitrogen is necessary to maximize yield. Whether all of the nitrogen is applied in the fall or some is held back until the spring is a question we will continue to examine. In the meantime, growers are encouraged to look at their cropping systems and make decisions based on the expense of   additional nitrogen application in the spring versus the possible returns. If a spring nitrogen application is relatively easy to accomplish through drip or by side-dressing, I would not hesitate to split the nitrogen application between fall and spring. If making a spring application is extremely difficult, using a higher fall application rate can nearly make up the difference. To make your own complete comparisons, please see Table 3, which has the average weight bulbs from each treatment, averaged over the trials at farms 1 and 3.

 

Treatment

Average Weight

50 lbs fall

0.093

100 lbs fall

0.113

150 lbs fall

0.119

37 lbs fall, 13 lbs spring

0.104

75 lbs fall, 25 lbs spring

0.105

112 lbs fall, 38 lbs spring

0.127

Table 3: Fertility treatments and average bulb weight.

 

Weed control trial:

Garlic trial was conducted on the lower quality garlic, all variety German White. 13 treatments were devised for the trial. The first treatments were applied in the fall shortly after planting (11/15/12). Herbicide was applied using a C02 sprayer. Each plot was calculated to be 50 square feet, or .0012A. Applications were mixed with the equivalent of 40 GPA of water.

Applications:

  • Control
  • Hand Weeded Check – as needed
  • Prowl H20 - Fall
  • Chateau (6 oz) - Fall
  • Chateau (3 oz) - Fall
  • Goal 2xl
  • Hay mulch
  • Select Max
  • Outlook
  • Poast
  • Goal + Select Max @ rate limit
  • Outlook + Select Max
  • Dual Magnum + Goal

Long Island Herbicide trial treatments. The applications were treated similarly.

Trt

Herbicide

12

Outlook+Select+Buc

11

Goal + Select

10

Poast

9

Outlook

8

Select Max

7

Buctril

6

Goal 2XL

5

Chateau 3oz

4

Chateau 6 oz

3

Prowl EC

2

Hand Weed

1

Control

 

Results: Please see attached data sheets and powerpoint with visual data. The top choice for herbicide use was Cheateau at the rate of 6 oz per acre. The top trialed organic choice was straw at a spring thickness of three inches.

 

Hypothesis 2: Optimizing post-harvest handling of garlic will reduce post-harvest loss and improve seed stock.

Post-harvest treatments: Post-harvest treatments were root and stem pruning, washing, and curing in high-tunnels. The trial was replicated at three sites and for two years in order to account for seasonal and site-based environmental variation.

Each treatment was applied to 10 linear feet of garlic. In year one there was no control for doubles, which added significant variation to the data. This was corrected in year two. After curing is complete, each treatment was trimmed to marketable form (no tops, roots), graded and weighed. Marketable weight and cull weight was noted, and diseases were identified and noted. Treatments were spot-checked in September to see if disease had developed since curing.

High tunnels at each site contained data loggers (we have them already, and they were not included in the budget) so that if had seen damage from temperature, we would able to determine how high temperatures got in the high tunnel. Temperatures did not reach damaging levels in any tunnel.

 

Treatments: A=Trim roots flush with basal plate         B= Trip tops to 6” long

                     C= Wash       D=cure in high tunnel           E=Cure in open-air structure

                     F= leave roots and tops un-cut

The following treatments were included at each site each year. If the 6” trimming is very promising, a 1.5” trimming may be added in year two.

 

F+E

F+D

A+E

A+D

A+E+C

A+D+C

A+E+B

A+D+B

A+E+C+B

A+D+C+B

B+E

B+D

B+C+D

C+E

C+D

B+C+E

 

Effects of treatments on bulb quality, disease incidence, drying time, and final weight

High Tunnel vs. Open Air: Across the trials garlic in high tunnels dried an average of three days faster than garlic in open air structures. Garlic dried in high tunnels had slightly better wrapper quality (tighter, less discoloration) than garlic dried in open-air structures at one site during both years. Garlic dried in tunnels also had slightly lower disease incidence (Aspergillus, Embellisia and Botrytis), though disease was not severe in any site or treatment in either year. No garlic treatments showed damage from being dried in the high tunnel.

The environment in the high tunnel needs to be carefully managed in order to be most effective. Technically temperatures can reach 121° F before waxy breakdown, the physiological disorder resulting from high temperatures, is initiated. However, to account for uneven heating in the high tunnel and possible delays in dropping temperatures through ventilation, the grower cooperators agreed that 110° F was a safer limit. Thermometers to monitor the temperature were located at the same height as the garlic.

Limiting temperature is just one aspect management. Maintaining air movement in the high tunnel through the use of internal fans helps even out the temperature and humidity, particularly if drying racks are stacked (Image 1). The grower cooperators also agreed running dehumidifiers at night and whenever the high tunnel was closed was beneficial, as it removed up to 20 gallons of water from the air during an eight-hour period and kept conditions closer to optimal. Without closing the tunnel and running dehumidifiers the humidity in the tunnel can reach up 100%, which pauses or reverses the drying process.

Roots trimmed vs. roots untrimmed: No statistically significant differences were observed between these treatments in regards to bulb quality, weight, or disease incidence in either year. Root pruning is considerably more difficult and time consuming on wet roots than dry roots.

Tops trimmed vs. tops untrimmed: Trimming the tops mechanically in the field using a sickle-bar mower greatly increased the speed of harvest and reduced the space needed for drying. Top trimming did not have a significant effect on disease incidence in dried bulbs, but there were differences in bulb weight at two of the farms in year one, with un-cut bulbs being slightly heavier (Table 1). It was unclear if this difference was due to weight loss or to double bulbs, since the number of bulbs is greater in the treatments with lower weights. Because of this question, relatively uniformly sized, non-doubled bulbs were chosen for the samples during year two instead of taking every bulb from a plot, including doubles, as had been done in year one. In addition to this change, additional cutting lengths were also added to determine if leaving some stem would affect weight or disease incidence. During year two, the pruning length did not affect the dried weight of bulbs significantly (Table 2). Furthermore, there were no significant differences in disease incidence across any of the trimming treatments.

Table 1: Treatments and average weights aggregated from three trial sites, each with three replications per treatment.

Treatment

Average

weight/head

Count

Cut at 6”

0.113lbs

1036

Uncut

0.130lbs

972

Table 2: Treatments, aggregated weights of treatments across replications, counts, and average weights per head from year two. Data was combined from all three sites.

Treatment

Weight/

treatment

Count

Average

weight/head

1.5 inch

23.7lbs

183

0.129lbs

6 inch

22.7lbs

186

0.122lbs

10 inch

24.4lbs

206

0.118lbs

Uncut

39.4lbs

302

0.130lbs

 

Washed vs. unwashed: Washed garlic initially had very clean, tight wrappers, but became more discolored than the unwashed garlic during the drying and curing process. Most discoloration could be removed by removing 1-3 wrapper leaves, but this extra step is time consuming. Disease incidence, particularly Aspergillus and Embellisia, was slightly higher in washed garlic. This treatment was discontinued after year one of the study because the returns from the process were deemed too low.

 

Research results and discussion:

Discussion of results and next steps: These trials have demonstrated that it is possible to dry garlic quickly and effectively by creating a warm, dry environment. Garlic can be dried at 110° F without damage to the bulbs. Furthermore, one to two layers of shade cloth provides enough protection for bulbs to prevent damage from the sun.

These trials have also demonstrated that trimming the tops of the garlic while it is in the field rather than drying the whole plant intact does not increase disease issues or reduce bulb weight. This finding is particularly useful to growers who find that they have too much garlic for their drying area, as they can remove the tops without concern that the garlic will become unmarketable or lose value as a result.

Notably, all of these trials were conducted in relatively dry years. We might expect that if the season had been wetter, differences between high tunnel and open-air drying systems would have increased rather than decreased. The worse the outside conditions for drying, the more important it becomes to be able to control the environment. High tunnels offer more significant opportunities for control than most barn systems.

Not every grower will be able to use a high tunnel system to dry garlic, or will want to cut the tops. These recommendations do not need to be followed exactly for success, but if a grower is struggling with disease and post-harvest breakdown, applying the principles of limiting humidity and increasing temperature while drying should prove beneficial, whether accomplished in a high tunnel, a hay mow, etc.

To follow-up on these studies, we would like to address growers’ questions about the effects of these treatments on longer-term storage and on quality factors such as sulfur compound concentration, and would like to determine what the best environment is to store garlic for one, three, or 6 months.

Please see attached articles for each experiment's write-up. The raw data from each trial is also attached. 

1) 1000 farmers receive 3 articles detailing research findings in the Veg Edge (450 subscribers) and The Garlic Press (600 subscribers in the Northeast). Winter ‘12-’13.

All told, 12 articles were released (5 with unique materials, the rest were variations on each other)

Garlic Press: 2 articles: fertility and post-harvest handling (600 readers each)

Weekly Update: 2 articles per year for 3 years (6 total): Weed control, fertility, and post-harvest handling (1000 readers each)

Veg Edge: 2 articles per year for 2 years (both years one article each on fertility and post-harvest handling.  (450 readers each)

Additional publications appeared in the New England Vegetable Conference proceedings and in the Mid-Atlantic conference proceedings.

2) 250 farmers attend winter meetings and garlic schools to learn about fertility, weed control, and post-harvest care. 120 growers fill out surveys detailing their issues and responding to research information. 100 growers receive research trial information at the Saugerties Garlic Festival through CCE and the Garlic Seed Foundation. 65 complete surveys (same as winter meeting survey).

4) 700 growers purchase Cornell Guidelines with new garlic chapter. 150 additional growers access garlic chapter online. First draft complete Sept ’12, second draft with all results complete Sept ’13. This milestone was not achieved, primarily due to issues on the Cornell side (lack of support and the removal of the online system). However, all information has been published in article form to our website.

Published articles are attached.

5) 30 growers receive more in-depth help implementing changes based on research findings from CCE educators or the Garlic Seed Foundation. The progress of these growers is tracked extensively by educators.

In-depth support has been enhanced to growers throughout the state, reaching upwards of thirty growers. However, documentation of this effort was not as thorough as we had hoped. Almost all of them filled out surveys at garlic schools and at the Saugerties garlic festival, but they did not receive a separate survey related to the one-on-one support received.

5) 1000 growers receive online survey link through newsletters. 100 farmers fill out survey indicating changes they have made based on research trial information and education.

Participation Summary

Education

Educational approach:

Please also see the speaking list located in milestones section. 
Powerpoint presentations and articles (duplicates removed) are attached in the milestones section as well.

No milestones

Additional Project Outcomes

Project outcomes:

Impacts of Results/Outcomes

1) 1000 farmers receive 3 articles detailing research findings in the Veg Edge (450 subscribers) and The Garlic Press (600 subscribers in the Northeast). Winter ‘12-’13.

All told, 12 articles were released (5 with unique materials, the rest were variations on each other)

Garlic Press: 2 articles: fertility and post-harvest handling (600 readers each)

Weekly Update: 2 articles per year for 3 years (6 total): Weed control, fertility, and post-harvest handling (1000 readers each)

Veg Edge: 2 articles per year for 2 years (both years one article each on fertility and post-harvest handling. (450 readers each)

Additional publications appeared in the New England Vegetable Conference proceedings and in the Mid-Atlantic conference proceedings.

2) 250 farmers attend winter meetings and garlic schools to learn about fertility, weed control, and post-harvest care. 120 growers fill out surveys detailing their issues and responding to research information. 100 growers receive research trial information at the Saugerties Garlic Festival through CCE and the Garlic Seed Foundation. 65 complete surveys (same as winter meeting survey).

 

Talk location, topic

Timing

# attendees

Survey?

Presenter

NOFA NY 2013: All about garlic (including post-harvest trial results yr one)

Jan 2013

125

N

Crystal Stewart, Ed Frasier

NOFA VT: All about garlic (including post-harvest trial results yr one)

Feb 2013

50

N

Crystal Stewart, David Stern

New England Fruit and Veg: Post-Harvest trial results year one

Dec 2012

125

N

Crystal Stewart

Long Island Ag. Forum: Post-Harvest trial results year one

January 2013

50

N

Crystal Stewart

NYS Fruit and Vegetable EXPO: Post-Harvest results year one

January 2013

45

N

Crystal Stewart, David Stern

Garlic Schools 2013: Geneva and Albany: Post-Harvest Handling

March 2013

85

Y

Crystal Stewart, David Stern

Saugerties Garlic Festival: Post-harvest handling and general overview talks (2 talks total)

Sept. 2013

300

N

Crystal Stewart, David Stern

Garlic Schools 2014: Geneva and Albany: Fertility Management

Mar-Ap 2014

90

Y

Crystal, David, Steve Reiners

Saugerties Garlic Festival: Fertility and general overview talks (4 talks total)

Sept 2014

300

N

Crystal Stewart, David Stern

Garlic Schools 2015: Geneva, Hudson Valley. Weed control

Feb 2015

42,35

Y

Crystal, David

Michigan Horticulture conference: General update, shared Crystal’s post-harvest research results yrs 1 &2

Jan 2014

75

N

David Stern

Maine Organic Gardeners Update shared Crystal’s post-harvest research results yrs 1 & 2

??

??

N

David Stern

Hershey Conference, Post-Harvest results yrs 1 and two, weed control strategies

Jan 2015

65,35

N

Crystal Stewart

NOFA NY—Intermediate garlic production: incl. Post harvest, weed control, and fertility

Jan 2015

75

N

Crystal Stewart, Ed Frasier

Allium Schools, Saratoga Springs, NY and Burlington, VT

Sept 2015

32, 55

Y

Crystal Stewart

2015 Garlic Festival (2 talks)

Sept 2015

200

N

Crystal Stewart

 4) 700 growers purchase Cornell Guidelines with new garlic chapter. 150 additional growers access garlic chapter online. First draft complete Sept ’12, second draft with all results complete Sept ’13.

This milestone was not achieved, primarily due to issues on the Cornell side (lack of support and the removal of the online system). However, all information has been published in article form to our website.

Published articles are attached.

5) 30 growers receive more in-depth help implementing changes based on research findings from CCE educators or the Garlic Seed Foundation. The progress of these growers is tracked extensively by educators.

In-depth support has been enhanced to growers throughout the state, reaching upwards of thirty growers. However, documentation of this effort was not as thorough as we had hoped. Almost all of them filled out surveys at garlic schools and at the Saugerties garlic festival, but they did not receive a separate survey related to the one-on-one support received.

5) 1000 growers receive online survey link through newsletters. 100 farmers fill out survey indicating changes they have made based on research trial information and education.

We did not complete the online survey because we received over 100 surveys during the last year of the grant through meetings we had not anticipated hosting. The behavioral changes are noted above, and include the high adoption rates of post-harvest handling techniques (starting after year one) and changes in fertility usage. Weed control techniques have remained largely unchanged.

 

 

Economic Analysis

50 growers indicated that they will use soil tests to guide their fertility decisions, and we estimate that 25 of them will experience yield increases of 10% or more because of this. This represents 50 acres of garlic, or 40,000 lbs of increase, an increase $320,000 in gross revenue.

If we conservatively say that 65 growers (less than half those estimated based on survey results) are now cutting their garlic tops in the field and/or drying in warm environments, resulting in a 25% decreased in disease incidence during wet seasons, we can extrapolate that these growers are making changes to 130 acres of garlic (average 2 acres per grower) and are saving up to 260,000 lbs (25% of 130 acres @ 8,000 lbs/A). This represents and economic savings of over $2 million dollars across the industry.

Again, real savings have not been this striking yet because our weather has naturally been favorable for drying. Testing the true reduction in disease incidence will have to wait for a wet summer.

Farmer Adoption

Please see impacts and outcomes sections.

Assessment of Project Approach and Areas of Further Study:

Areas needing additional study

The work that has been completed on post-harvest handling and fertility has increased the quality of the garlic crop dramatically throughout the Northeast, and it has also helped to illuminate the areas where additional work is needed. As is true with any storage situation, storage is not a hospital, and quality cannot be improved through good storage; it can only be maintained. Managing weed pressure and optimizing fertility greatly increases the quality of garlic, but neither these practices nor post-harvest handling are enough to fully manage Fusarium diseases.

Managing fusarium is the single greatest challenge garlic growers are currently reporting, having found good strategies to manage post-harvest diseases and to manage Garlic Bloat Nematode. Management needs to focus on cultural practices which are not conducive to in-field disease development and on better understanding of the pathogen itself.

An additional area of study requested by growers is work on longer-term storage for winter markets. Growers want to know what the most economical way to maintain quality over winter is.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.