Pennsylvania Vegetable Growers Association



Pennsylvania Vegetable Growers Association

An Association of Commercial Vegetable, Potato and Berry Growers

 PVGA Research Funding Exceeds $1 Million

The Pennsylvania Vegetable Growers Association Board of Directors budgeted $84,000 for vegetable and small fruit research in 2017 although to date only $72,876 has been allocated towards specific projects.    This year’s contributions put PVGA’s funding for research over the past 29 years at $1,014,822.

The research funding has been made possible solely through the profits earned at the Association’s food booths at the Farm Show and Ag Progress Days. While the Association earned much less than $84,000 at the Farm Show and Ag Progress Days booths, this amount of research grants would not be possible without these food booth profits.  Surplus income from the Mid-Atlantic Convention and other sources are helping to fund the 2017 research grants.  This year, PVGA will contribute $54,876 towards vegetable research, $10,000 to help support a tomato breeding technician at Penn State and $8,000 for small fruit research.

The following thirteen vegetable projects are being funded in conjunction with the Vegetable Marketing and Research Program which will contribute another $20,000 for a total of $84,876 for vegetable research. The projects approved for funding with their objectives are listed below.


New Herbicide Options for Weed Control in Sweet Corn: Round 2
Dwight Lingenfelter, Penn State Univ. and Dr. Mark VanGessel, Univ. of Delaware
    –To examine various new herbicides in sweet corn to determine their effectiveness on weed control.
    –To evaluate these herbicide programs on sweet corn injury and yield impact.

Efficacy of Organic Biopesticides for the Management of White Mold in Processing Snap Bean in Pennsylvania
Dr. Sarah Pethybridge, Cornell Univ. and Dr. Beth K. Gugino, Penn State Univ.
    –The objective of this project is to support and facilitate organic production of snap beans by further quantifying the efficacy of OMRI-listed biopesticides available to growers for white mold control.

Fresh Market Slicer Tomato Variety Evaluation
Dr. Timothy Elkner, Penn State Extension
    –The purpose of this study is to evaluate disease resistance, yield and fruit quality of commercially available slicing tomato varieties in a replicated trial in southeast PA, repeating the trial from 2016.  Several advanced selections from Dr. Foolad’s breeding program will also be included in the trial to compare with the current commercial standards for yield and quality.

Breeding Tomatoes for Disease Resistance and Other Desirable Characteristics for Production in PA
Dr. Majid R. Foolad, The Pennsylvania State Univ.
    –Development of fresh-market (FM) tomato breeding lines with late blight (LB) resistance, conferred by Ph-3 and/or Ph-5 resistance genes.
    –Development of processing tomato breeding lines with LB resistance, conferred by Ph-3 and/or Ph-5 resistance genes.
    –Development and genetic analysis of a recombinant inbred line (RIL) population of tomato segregating for LB resistance.  This population will be used for identification and verification of new LB resistance genes and transferring to PSU tomato breeding lines.
    –Genetic characterization of additional (recently identified) sources of LB resistance in tomato.
    –Development and field evaluation of FM experimental F1 hybrids with high yield, early blight (EB) resistance, and other desirable characteristics including fruit quality.
    –Development and field evaluation of processing experimental F1 hybrids with high yield, EB resistance, and other desirable characteristics including fruit quality.
    –Development of FM experimental F1 hybrids in collaboration with a seed company (co-hybrids) and evaluation under multiple field locations.
    –Field evaluation of Penn State advanced FM and processing breeding lines.

Authority MTZ: the Fit for Processing Tomatoes
Dr. Mark VanGessel, Univ. of Delaware; Dwight Lingenfelter, Penn State Univ.
    -Evaluate Authority MTZ for safety with processing tomatoes.
-Determine level of early-season weed control from Authority MTZ

Phytophthora Blight Management
John Esslinger, Penn State Extension
    – To test whether Orondis is as effective as it appeared to be on one farm in 2016.
    – To evaluate other fungicide options that might give comparable control at a lower cost per acre.
    – To compare a pepper cultivar tolerant to phytophthora blight with one that is not tolerant under each treatment.
– To test whether a generous application of manure-based compost has a positive impact on limiting phytophthora blight by out competing it in the soil.  The hope is that the final objective will provide a viable phytophthora management option for the state’s organic vegetable growers.

Keeping PA Vegetable Growers Profitable: Statewide Pumpkin Cultivar Trials
Dr. Elsa Sánchez, Penn State Univ., Timothy Elkner, Thomas Butzler and Robert Pollock, Penn State Extension and Dr. William Lamont, Penn State Univ.
    -Evaluate up to 25 cultivars of 15-25 lb orange smooth-faced pumpkins at three locations: southwestern Pennsylvania, central Pennsylvania and southeastern Pennsylvania.

Impact of Insectary Strips to Control Cucumber Beetles
Dr. Gladis Zinati, Rodale Institute
    -Monitor weekly (June through mid-August) the populations of striped cucumber beetles, beneficial insects, and ground beetles (bi-weekly) attracted to insectary strips and cucurbit beds using yellow sticky cards and pitfall traps.
-Assess percent parasitism weekly by parasitoids from field collected striped cucumber beetles between May and August 2017.

Colored Bell Pepper High Tunnel Variety Trial
Dr. Timothy Elkner, Penn State Extension
    -To evaluate commercially available colored bell pepper varieties in a replicated trial in a high tunnel.  Peppers will be grown and evaluated for yield, fruit quality and marketability.

Issues with High Soluble Salt Levels in High Tunnels
Dr. Elsa Sánchez, Penn State Univ. and Thomas Ford, Penn State Extension
    -The purpose of this study will be analyze soil and irrigation water from various high tunnels throughout Pennsylvania and offer recommendations using the information we learn as well as develop publications with information to help avoid high soluble salt levels.

Allium Leaf Miner Monitoring and Management
Dr. Timothy Elkner, Penn State Ext. and Shelby Fleischer, Penn State Univ.
    -To further investigate the emergence period of allium leafminer in the spring and fall in order to alert growers of the need for control measures.
-To initiate an alert system for growers regarding the emergence of allium leafminer.
-To investigate the impact of plant age on attractiveness to leafminer adults; and to do some insecticide efficacy evaluations on a fall leek crop.

Leek & Celery Variety Evaluations
Dr. Timothy Elkner, Penn State Extension
    –To evaluate current varieties of celery and leek for yield, disease and insect resistance and quality.

Tactics for the Management of Center Rot of Onion: Augmented Nitrogen Fertigation and Cultivar Selection.
Dr. Beth K. Gugino, The Pennsylvania State Univ.
    –Conduct two replicated trials at Rock Springs as well as four on-farm trials to evaluate cultivar susceptibility to bacterial disease and production potential under commercial production conditions and evaluate the interaction between N rate and disease pressure to provide growers with additional tools and information that they could use in building an integrated program to manage bacterial diseases of onions.

In addition the Association is helping to fund a high tunnel berry production project primarily funded by a Specialty Crop Research Initiative grant from USDA.  The project includes researchers at Penn State University (Kathy Demchak), Michigan State University, Cornell University and others.  PVGA’s $8,000 contribution is part of the required industry matching funds required by the grant program.  This is the third year of a five-year commitment to the project.

The Association is also providing $10,000 to the Department of Plant Science at Penn State University to help fund a research technician for the tomato breeding program there.

Reports on the vegetable research projects funded from 2009 to 2016, click here.