Punch list from the December 2014 All Networks Meeting

Twenty five people attended this year’s All Networks Meeting December 9th. A number of you expressed regret at not being able to attend, due to the scheduling snafu with Michigan’s Expo, or other conflicts.

I wanted to share a quick list of the key next steps (in no particular order) that emerged from the meeting. A more complete summary is forthcoming.

  • John Aue suggested it might be beneficial to start a statewide scab watch, and perhaps extend it to new diseases and insects of concern.
  • The IPM Institute is documenting calibration errors and savings from correcting those errors. We hope to see this information written up and presented soon.
  • There is a need to continue work on alternatives to antibiotics for fire blight.
  • Grant funds to support the IPM calls are nearly spent. If we market the service and bring in more growers to pay for the call (shooting for 40 paying orchards), growers can share the costs and make it possible to provide the calls for a reasonable sum. The IPM Institute is taking over the service and will be charging $125 for access to the full suite of calls in 2014.
  • The search is on for a new fruit horticulturalist at UW-Madison. Four candidates gave presentations and interviews in November, and the Department hopes to have the position filled before the end of the 2014 Spring semester.
  • With UWEX Rebecca Harbut gone, it is unclear what is happening with the West Madison research station and apple work. Did the trellis go in?
  • Peninsular Research Station is looking for partners from other parts of Wisconsin, especially the southwest, for its regional weather monitoring project. Partners need to commit to maintaining the equipment (est cost $1200/yr).
  • The School for Beginning Apple Growers has been postponed until 2015, when the new fruit horticultralist can participate.
  • There will be an Advanced IPM workshop for apples in NE Iowa in 2014 – stay tuned for more details.
  • CIAS and partners did not secure a grant for looking at climate and fruit production, but continue to search for funding on this topic.
  • The Wisconsin Food Hub Coop is looking for more farmer-members to supply their growing list of buyers. The Coop penned a contract with Roundy’s this August. Roundy’s is a huge market with more than 125 stores in the Upper Midwest, including Chicago. Contact the Coop through their web site at http://www.wifoodhub.com/
  • Whole Foods is developing a produce rating system that will recognize IPM. They are experiencing severe supply constraints.
  • TruEarth will be prohibiting OPs at all participating orchards. Talk with the IPM Institute for more information.
  • There was considerable discussion about labor options, especially for harvests like the heavy harvest in 2013. More attention to this issue would be helpful.