MSU virtual vegetable trial reviews for Saginaw Bay area

Michigan State University Extension and MSU AgBioResearch held a virtual vegetable trial review for growers in the Thumb region July 29.

FRANKENMUTH, Mich. – Michigan State University Extension and MSU AgBioResearch held a virtual vegetable trial review for growers in the Thumb region July 29.

MSU Extension vegetable crops educator Ben Phillips is the host of the pre-recorded video, which details research projects at the Saginaw Valley Research and Extension Center (SVREC) and on collaborating farms in the region. No in-person field day events will be held at the center this summer.

In the video, Phillips describes research on pickling cucumbers, sweet corn, cabbage and onions.

“Although I don’t usually host field days, this virtual version has given me a chance to be creative,” Phillips said. “I want to provide growers with an update on the trials that are happening in the region and inject a little fun into the situation as well.”

Michigan is the nation’s largest producer of pickling cucumbers, and many are grown in the state’s Thumb region. Most of the SVREC research on pickles is industry-funded and geared toward variety trials, but Phillips also discusses a new foliar fertilizer project investigating potential treatment for hollow cucumber centers.

For a multi-state initiative led in Michigan by field crops entomologist Chris DiFonzo, Phillips explains how researchers are examining sweet corn to determine if the Bt protein in genetically engineered varieties is maintaining its effectiveness at controlling caterpillar pests.

Phillips also shares a story on a Specialty Crop Block Grant-funded trial off-site that will evaluate different colored plastic mulches’ effect on the survival and yields of summer-transplanted cabbage.

Finally, Phillips talks about an onion fungicide trial by MSU plant pathologist Mary Hausbeck and a collaborating sweet onion grower.

Questions about the presentations should be directed to Phillips at

In addition to the July 29 video, the Great Lakes Vegetable Producer’s Network — a live weekly roundtable discussion — is available during the growing season for Midwest commercial vegetable producers.

MSU hosts are Phillips; Ben Werling, an MSU Extension commercial vegetable production educator; and Michael Reinke, an MSU Extension integrated pest management educator. Expert guests are featured from across the country as well.

The discussion is broadcast live via Zoom at 12:30 p.m. every Wednesday from May 6 to Sept. 2. Listen live or later at No registration is required. Listeners may also subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Visit the Virtual Field Days website to learn more about MSU’s other virtual field day events.

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