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  • Author or Editor: Lydia J. Stivers-Young x
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Surveys of vegetable growers in a six-county region in western New York were conducted in 1997 to determine which cover cropping practices were being used on commercial vegetable operations; to identify producers' needs for further research and information, and to assess the impact of cooperative extension programs in this area. In a broad survey, 118 responses were returned out of 315 surveys sent (37%). Respondents represented >37,000 acres (14974 ha) of vegetable production, or ≈53% of the vegetable acreage in the region. Vegetable acreage per operation ranged from 1 to 4000 acres (0.4 to 1619 ha). Sixty-nine percent responded that they grew cover crops on a total of 15,426 acres (6243 ha). Oats (Avena sativa L.), rye (Secale cereale), clover (Trifolium pratense), and wheat (Triticum vulgare) were the most commonly used cover crops. Seventy-six percent of the reported cover-cropped acres were planted to small grains, and 19% to legumes, almost entirely clovers. In open ended questions, the most important benefits of cover cropping identified by respondents were erosion control (46% of respondents) and organic matter additions (42%). The most important problems associated with cover crops were that they interfere with spring field work or fall harvest (26%), and that they are difficult to incorporate or plow under (24%). A targeted survey of nineteen onion (Allium cepa L.) producers in the same region measured the recent adoption of sudangrass (Sorghum sudanense Piper) and sorghum-sudan hybrid (Sorghum bicolor L. × S. sudanense) cover crops, the focus of the several years of extension research and educational programs. Nine of the onion producers had adopted the practice, and six of these had done so since the beginning of these extension programs. The implications of these results for research and extension are discussed.

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Field cage experiments were conducted in Ithaca, N.Y. in 2001 to determine the yield effect of potato leafhopper (Empoasca fabae) infestations on early-stage beans (Phaseolus vulgaris). Yields of `Hystyle' snap beans and `Montcalm' dry kidney beans were significantly reduced when infested by potato leafhopper at the cotyledon, two-leaf, and four-leaf stages. For snap beans, no differences in yield response from potato leafhopper were observed among the three plant growth stages. For dry beans, there was a difference in yield response between cotyledon and four-leaf-stage plants. Dynamic economic injury levels for potato leafhopper on early-stage beans are suggested.

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