2024 Southwest Michigan Horticulture Days is less than a month away

Don’t forget to register for the expanded Southwest Michigan Horticultural Days conference and exhibitor show on Feb. 7-8 in Benton Harbor.

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Don’t miss the 2024 Southwest Michigan Horticultural Days on Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 7-8, at Lake Michigan College’s Mendel Center in Benton Harbor, Michigan, hosted by the Michigan Grape Society and Michigan State University Extension (MSU Extension).

MSU Extension educators, commercial growers and outside experts will provide informative talks and answer questions in educational sessions. Restricted use pesticide credits will be included for many of the sessions.

The familiar program layout has been expanded upon this year. In addition to the general session on the first morning and tree fruit and grape sessions in the afternoon, vegetable education now includes a full day. The regular tree fruit, grape and blueberry sessions on day two are now accompanied by full day of farm marketing sessions, now in their second year at Southwest Michigan Horticultural Days. A preliminary program can be found below.

Registration and the trade show begin at 8 a.m. and the educational sessions start at 9 a.m. both days. Educational sessions end at 4 p.m. on Wednesday and 3 p.m. on Thursday. Drawing for door prizes will be held both days. The local Michigan wine showcase will open around 4 p.m. on Wednesday in the trade show area. This is a great time to network with other growers, researchers, exhibitors and other people interested in local agriculture.

Preregister online or by mail (contact Renee Tinkey at 269-944-1477 ext. 201 or tinkeyre@msu.edu for a preregistration application). Preregistration is $60 per person; on-site registration is $75 per person. Lunch both days is included in the registration fee. Registrations postmarked after Monday, Jan. 19, are $75 per person. If you have particular interest in attending only one of the two program days, one-day registration is available for a $15 discount.

Educational sessions at the 2024 Southwest Michigan Horticulture Days

Wednesday, February 7

8:00 a.m.  Registration and Exhibitor Showroom open

General Session

9:00 a.m.  Irrigation Management for Fruit – Younsuk Dong, MSU Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering

9:30 a.m.  MAEAP Update – Lisa Kuntz and Kyle Mead, Berrien and Van Buren County Conservation Districts

9:45 a.m.  Spray drones: what you need to know – Mike Reinke, MSU Extension

10:15 a.m.  Break

10:35 a.m.  MSU Weather Update – Jeff Andresen, MSU Geography, Environment and Spatial Sciences

11:05 a.m.  Grants for farmersMariel Borgman and Katie Brant, MSU Extension

11:25 a.m.  How loans can help your business grow – Jon LaPorte, MSU Extension

Morning Vegetable Session

9:00 a.m.  Introduction and SWMREC variety trials – Ben Phillips, MSU Extension

9:40 a.m.  Viruses in squash – Zsofia Szendrei, MSU Entomology

10:00 a.m.  Plasticulture onion trial – Natalie Constancio, MSU Entomolgy

10:20 a.m.  Phytophthora and other disease work at SWMREC, David Perla, MSU Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences

11:00 a.m.  SWMREC and YOU! Goal setting period – Ben Phillips, MSU Extension

Afternoon Tree Fruit Session

1:30 p.m.  Timing insecticide sprays for tree fruit insects – Jackie Perkins, MSU Entomology

2:00 p.m.  EnviroWeather tips for tree fruit growers – Amy Irish-Brown, Valent

2:30 p.m.  Break

2:50 p.m.  Using new apple cost of production info to analyze breakevens and other trends – Chris Bardenhagen, MSU Extension

3:20 p.m.  Perspectives on the Michigan apple industry from Riveridge Produce Marketing – Don Armock, Riveridge Produce

Afternoon Grape Session

1:30 p.m.  GBM drone border sprays and other GBM research – Lauren Goldstein, MSU Entomology

2:00 p.m.  Precision Viticulture using Digital Ag Software – Jennifer Russo, Cornell University Cooperative Extension

2:30 p.m.  Possible sap analysis presentation

3:00 p.m.  SWMREC grape research update – Mike Reinke, MSU Extension

Afternoon Vegetable Session

1:30 p.m.  Insurance options for vegetable growers – Jon LaPorte, MSU Extension

2:00 p.m.  Smoke and mirrors and the weather outlook – Jeff Andresen, MSU Geography, Environment and Spatial Sciences

2:30 p.m.  The down and dirty about soap – Phil Tocco, MSU Extension

3:00 p.m.  Locally available irrigation monitoring systems and how to get them paid for (industry panel) – Joe Janosky, Reinke Irrigation; Ryan Demorrow, Wilbur-Ellis; and Mike Stickle, National Resources Conservation Service

Thursday, February 8

8:00 a.m.  Registration and Exhibitor Showroom open

Morning Tree Fruit Session

9:00 a.m.  New apple rootstock technologies from the Geneva Apple Rootstock Breeding Program – Gennaro Fazio, USDA-ARS New York

9:30 a.m.  Options for treating your fruits with ethylene blockers – Randy Beaudry, MSU Horticulture

10:10 a.m.  Break

10:30 a.m.  How we breed and develop apple rootstocks in the Geneva Breeding Program – Gennaro Fazio, USDA-ARS New York

11:00 a.m.  Tree fruit disease update – George Sundin, MSU Plant Soil and Microbial Sciences

Morning Grape Session

9:00 a.m.  Raiders of the Grapevine: Battling Downy Mildew in Michigan – Tim Miles, MSU Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences

9:45 a.m.  Regenerative agriculture opportunities in grapes – Christine Charles, MSU Extension

10:15 a.m.  Michigan Grape Society Annual Meeting

11:00 a.m.  Protecting vineyards from invasive insect pests – Rufus Isaacs, MSU Entomology

11:30 a.m.  Communicating with farmers under stress – Remington Rice, MSU Extension

Morning Blueberry Session

9:00 a.m.  Nitrogen cycling in soil – Cheyenne Sloan, MSU Extension

9:30 a.m.  MyEV Tool – free Digital Ag Software to collect, process, and use spatial data on your farm – Jennifer Russo, Cornell University Cooperative Extension

10:00 a.m.  Advances in biological control of CFW/CBFW and SWD with Trichogramma platneri and the entomopathogenic nematode Steinernema feltiae in blueberriesCarlos Garcia Salazar, MSU Extension

10:30 a.m.  Break

11:00 a.m.  Strategies to improve blueberry quality and flavor – Josh VanderWeide, MSU Horticulture

11:30 a.m.  Industry Update – Nancy Nyquist, Michigan Blueberry Commission; and Chad Rendeers, Michigan Blueberry Action Committee

Morning Marketing Session

9:00 a.m.  Local Marketing 101 – Strategies, Networks and Resources – Garrett Ziegler, MSU Extension

10:30 a.m.  Break

11:00 a.m.  Farmer Panel: Thinking About Your Optimal Market Mix (grower panel) – Robyn Shultz, Shultz Fruitridge Farms; Kyle Mitchell, Mitchell’s Patch of Blue

Afternoon Tree Fruit Session

1:30 p.m.  Update on bitter rot disease management in apple – Kristi MacCready, MSU Plant Soil and Microbial Sciences

2:00 p.m.  Understanding Bitter pit of apple – Chayce Griffith, MSU Horticulture

2:30 p.m.  Making sense of surfactants and adjuvants for spraying – Bill Shane, MSU Extension

Afternoon Wine Grape Session

1:30 p.m.  Intro to the Winegrid equipment in the winery – Doug Olson, Liang Vineyards

2:00 p.m.  Dirt to Glass: Elevating Michigan wine from the ground up – Amanda Danielson, Intentional Agriculture

2:20 p.m.  Topic TBD – Michael Moyer, Lake Michigan College Wine and Viticulture Technology

2:50 p.m.  Discussion on wine flaws

Afternoon Blueberry Session

1:30 p.m.  Possible sap analysis presentation

2:00 p.m.  Biocontrol for SWD progress report – Rufus Isaacs, MSU Entomology

2:30 p.m.  Blueberry Anthracnose: The Search for Control– Tim Miles, MSU Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences

3:00 p.m.  Regenerative agriculture opportunities in blueberries – Christine Charles, MSU Extension

Afternoon Marketing Session

1:30 p.m.  Unpacking Your Marketing Mix with Market Channel Analysis – The Tool Every Direct Marketer Needs – Curtis Mahnken, University of Minnesota; Mariah Beverly, University of Minnesota; Jon LaPorte, MSU Extension

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