Providing Farmers with New Brassica Species - Management Options of Flea Beetles for Expanding Markets in Mass. - Conn.
Over fifty farmers in Massachusetts and Connecticut will be given seed, production, and marketing information for new brassica species over the course of this project. Research on flea beetle management, both replicated trials at two research stations and on cooperating grower’s fields, will be conducted. All cooperating growers will be visited on a regular basis during the growing season. A website was created that had information on the main types of brassica given to cooperating farmers. Farmers were visited on a regular basis to address production issues. Production and marketing information will be created and disseminated.
Of the 50 farmers who participate in testing new brassica species for their markets, 25 will have added at least one new species into their rotation. Twelve farmers will participate in on-farm trials for flea beetle management, and seven will incorporate one or more of these management options. Flea beetle management will have improved for these farmers, either allowing them to grow brassica crops earlier in the spring than they did before, or reducing flea beetle damage so that less product is lost.
New Brassica species:
1. Spring 2001: Contact 50 farmers. Over 50 farmers were invited to participate in this project.
2. Summer 2001: Brassica given to 40 farmers. Forty growers in Massachusetts and Connecticut were given up to $50/farm of brassica seeds to grow and market at their farm.
3. Fall 2001/ Winter 2002: Interview 40 cooperating growers and invite to a grower meeting. At the end of the field season all cooperating growers were interviewed on their experiences with all aspects of production and marketing of these crops. A meeting was held at the Sturbridge Host Hotel in Stirbridge Mass on February 7, 2002. We had a total of 30 people present at the meeting, including 22 cooperating growers. The meeting was held from 10:00 Am to 3:00 PM. We discussed all aspects of the project with the growers.
4. Spring 2002: Give brassica to 40 growers. Thirty-eight growers in Massachusetts and Connecticut were given up to $50/farm of brassica seeds to grow and market at their farm.
5. Winter 2003: Interview growers and invite to grower meeting. At the end of the field season all cooperating growers were interviewed on their experiences with all aspects of production and marketing of these crops. A meeting was held at the Valley Laboratory in Windsor, Connecticut, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on January 9, 2003. A total of 15 people attended. Eight were participating farmers. We discussed all aspects of the project with the growers.
Flea beetle research:
Summer 2001. 1. Replicated flea beetle(FB) trials in MA and CT. FB monitored on 6 farms. Trials conducted (and reported on in previous report) and flea beetle monitored on cooperating farms.
2. Fall of 2001/winter 2002. 2. Present results to participants and to other growers in meetings and publications. Identify promising management options. Report given to coopering growers at meeting held in Sturbridge, Mass. on February 7, 2002.
3. Summer of 2002. Repeat replicated FB trials. Conduct on-farm FB mgt trials on 12 farms. Brief summary of work and plans on flea beetle trials is included.
4. Winter of 2002/2003. Present results to participants and other growers. Results presented to cooperating growers at meeting held on Valley Laboratory in Windsor, Connecticut on January 9, 2003.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
– Over fifty growers received seed, production, and marketing information on new brassica for their farms.
– A website was created as an informational resource of brassica species.
– Several fact sheets created on production and marketing of brassica, and on flea beetle management (available at website).