Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel


Embed this content in your HTML

Search

Report adult content:

click to rate:

Account: (login)

More Channels


Channel Catalog


older | 1 | (Page 2)

    0 0

    Author: 
    Ginger S. Myers
    on-line shopping, internet, produce, computer


    Mastering Marketing - February 2017


    The USDA’s first survey of Local Food Marketing Practices, conducted in 2015, found 167,009 U.S. farms sold $8.7 billion in edible food directly to consumers, retailers, institutions, and local distributors. Consumers accounted for 35 percent of these direct food sales, and retailers, 27 percent. Direct farm sales include both fresh foods and processed or value added products such as bottled milk, cheese, meat, jam, cider, wine, etc.1

    Although 73 percent of all farms in the survey reported internet access, only 8 percent sold product via on-line market places. Not too long ago, access to reliable internet service proved to be a barrier to on-line sales for farms in different parts of the country but, since three-quarter of the farms responding to the survey had access, that problem can’t be the deterrent any longer. The popularity of sites like Amazon, countless retail sites, and the annual “Black Friday and Internet Monday” shopping seasons, attest to the potential customer base that exist for on-line sales. So why aren’t more direct marketing farms selling their products through on-line sales channels? Why don’t more direct marketing farms engage in e-commerce?

    Electronic commerce (e-commerce) is a transaction for goods or services enacted on-line. It could be the sales of products, reservations, or providing a service all simply paid for on-line. E-commerce can be an attractive and very cost effective way to allow customers to shop anytime, anywhere, and on multiple devices. It can also allow you the flexibility to fulfill orders on your own time schedule.

    But like any other marketing channel, you need to consider both the positive and negative impacts launching on-line sales can bring to your business.

    You should consider:

    ► What on-line tools will I use ( e-commerce, website, social media, e-payment gateway, etc.)?

    ► Do I want to offer shipping and if so, what are the charges and carriers for that service?

    ► How will I promote my on-line sales?

    ► How will I accept on-line order and payments?

    ► What procedures will I need to implement to get orders processed quickly and efficiently?

    ► What’s my costs/benefits equation?

    A major component of e-commerce, and the one producers often tell me challenges them the most, is the need for customers to be able to make a payment on-line. Electronic methods of taking payments are called “gateways.” The most common gateway is credit card processing. Third party merchant accounts are very secure but can be cost prohibitive for small businesses. Alternatives to a merchant account are Person-to-Person (P2P) payment services. These keep track of funds available to both the buyer and the seller. The buyer and seller (or service provider) both need to have an account with the P2P service. The most popular P2P service is PayPal, but others are now gaining market acceptance. On-line payment options are a must when considering developing your on-line store.

    “With 90 percent of all online purchases made with credit cards, you literally cannot afford not to add this payment option to your site. If you've been hesitating to accept credit card payments online, the good news is that, as soon as you give your customers this option, you should see a noticeable jump in sales.” Corey Rudl, Payment Options for On-line Shoppers, https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/58384

    Setting up and operating an on-line store for your products or services is a big job but, it can have big returns for your business. Internet sales are only growing, not contracting. If you think e-commerce is the next step for your business, here are some basic pieces of infrastructure you’ll need to develop. Don’t’ think you have to go it alone. Hire the technical assistance you need.

    ► Website─A website is the cornerstone for a farm’s online presence. Not having a website is like not have a phone number.

    ► Shopping cart software─When offering multiple items on-line, a shopping cart helps. Check with your web hosting company or e-commerce platform provider to see what they offer

    ► Payment processing─Figure out how you’re going to take payment on-line.

    ► Email support─You’ll need to have an email address where customers can contact you if something goes wrong, they want to change their order, or arrange for pickup.

    http://extension.umd.edu/agmarketing/market-outlet-tools/direct-marketing

    Setting up an e-commerce store doesn’t need to be overwhelming as long as you’ve done your research and made informed decisions. Additional resources and publications supporting direct marketing opportunities are available on the University of Maryland Extension Agriculture Marketing website at extension.umd.edu/agmarketing/market-outlet-tools/direct-marketing

     

    1Direct Farm Sales of Food Results from the 2015 Local Food Marketing Practices Survey. ACH12-35/December2016. https://www.agcensus.usda.gov/Publications/2012/Online_Resources/Highlig...

    To print this article (pdf) click the "Download document" below...

    Brought to you by: 
    Document: 

    0 0

    Author: 
    Dr. Joseph A. Fiola, Ph.D., Extension Specialist in Viticulture and Small Fruit
    Timely Viticulture - Pre-Harvest

    It is critical to properly monitor and assess the fruit characteristics and maturity to make the appropriate management, harvesting, and winemaking decisions to produce the best quality grapes and wine possible. The last “Timely Viticulture” described how to take a proper sample that best represents the actual ripeness stage of the variety in that vineyard. The next step is set the priorities that will optimize fruit quality and give you the opportunity to make the best possible wine and then evaluate your sample based on that criterion.

    • The critical principals here are that high quality wine is the confluence of fruit derived flavor and aroma
      components and for red grapes also the reduction of immature tannins.
    • These do not necessarily correspond to “desired” sugar and acid ranges.
    • The highest priority needs to be the quality and quantity of varietal aroma/flavor in the fruit.
      • Simply stated, to obtain a desired characteristic aroma or flavor in the wine, it must be present in the grapes at the time of harvest!
      • By regular, continuous sampling you will learn through experience the succession of aromas, flavors and textures that each variety goes through.
      • Depending on the degree of ripeness red grape characteristics can range from green and herbaceous to fruity and “jammy.”
      • Therefore the individual sampling must be diligent to monitor for that aroma and/or flavor in the sample.
    • The next highest priority, especially for red wines, is the texture of the grape tannins in skin and the seed.
      • The quality and quantity of the tannins determine the structure, body, astringency, bitterness, dryness, and color intensity of the wine. Mature tannins are critical to the production of quality red wines.
      • The degree of ripeness and polymerization of the tannins will determine the astringency and mouth   feel of your wine.
        • This can range from the undesirable, hard and course tannins of immature grapes, through to the desirable, “supple and silky” profile of mature grapes.
    • Procedure:
      • Select a few random grapes and place them in your mouth. DO NOT look at the cluster when you are choosing the grapes because you will tend to pick more ripened berries.
      • Without macerating the skins, gently press the juice out of the berries and assess the juice for sweetness (front of tongue) and acid (back sides of your tongue). With experience (and comparison against numbers from lab samples) you will be able to reasonably guesstimate the Brix and TA level of the grapes.
      • Next gently separate the seeds from the skins and “spit” into your hand. The color of the seeds gives you a clue to the level of ripeness. Green seeds are immature, green to tan and tan to brown seeds is maturing, and brown seeds are mature. Ripe seed tannins are desirable as they are less easily extracted and more supple on the palette.
      • Finally macerate the remaining skins and press them in your cheeks to assess the ripeness of the skin tannins. You will be able to “feel” the astringency (pucker) of the skins. The less intense the astringency the more ripe the grapes.
        • A good way to practice is to first sample an early grape variety such as Merlot and then immediately go to a later variety such as Cab Sauvignon, and you will feel the difference in the acidity, astringency and ripeness.
    • Of course, other factors must still be considered, such as the total acidity and pH
      • Generally you would like to harvest white grapes in the 3.2-3.4 pH range and reds in the 3.4-3.5 range, as long as the varietal character is appropriate as described above. Remember the enologist can do a good job adjusting acidity, but it is almost impossible to increase variety character in the wine.
    • Brix or sugar level is good to follow on a “relative” scale but levels can greatly vary from vintage
      to vintage.
      • In some years the grapes will be ripe and have great varietal character at 20 Brix and another year they may still not have ripe varietal character at 23 Brix.
    • Disease/Rot - Monitor to see if the grapes are deteriorating do to fruit rots or berry softening.
    • Look at the short and long range forecast.
      • If it looks good and the grapes have the ability to ripen further, then there may be a benefit to letting them hang a bit longer.
      • If the tropical storm is on the way……
      • When grapes are close to optimal ripeness, it is more desirable to harvest before a significant rainfall than to wait until after the rain and allow them to build up the sugar again afterwards.

    080916

    To access a printable version, click on Download document below...

    Timely Viticulture is designed to give those in the Maryland grape industry a timely reminder on procedures or topics they should be considering in the vineyard. To view other topics you can go to the Timely Viticulture page that is located on the Grapes and Fruit website.

    Brought to you by: 
    Document: 

    0 0

    Author: 
    By Joseph A. Fiola, Ph.D., Extension Specialist in Viticulture and Small Fruit
    Timely Viticulture - Dormant

    A major theme of viticulture is that for a vine to consistently produce high quality fruit it must be “in balance.” That means that the amount of vegetative growth (shoots and leaves) is just right to properly ripen the reproductive growth (fruit load). Too little fruit may lead to an over-vigorous vine, shaded fruit and lower quality. Too much fruit may decrease vigor to a point where there is not enough photosynthetic area to properly ripen the crop leading to under-ripe fruit and reduced quality.

    The first step in achieving proper vine balance is choosing the proper training system for that variety on that site. The next step to annually adjust and maintain that balance is through dormant pruning. Mature grapevines require annual pruning to remain productive and manageable. An average grapevine will have 200 to 1000 buds on mature canes capable of producing fruit. If all of the buds were retained it would result in the over-cropping scenario described above.

    To avoid this situation, researchers have developed a method of pruning to balance the fruit productivity and vegetative growth that will give maximum yields without reducing vine vigor or wood maturity. This procedure is appropriately referred to as “Balanced Pruning,” as the amount of pruning is based on the vigor of the vine.

    Here are some of the specifics of proper balanced pruning:

    • The way to quantify vigor is through vine size, which is determined by the weight of one-year-old cane pruning.
    • To balance prune a grapevine and estimate the vine size, roughly prune the vine, leaving enough extra buds to provide a margin of error.
    • Then weigh the one-year-old cane prunings (small spring scale) that you just cut off and apply the weight to the pruning formula to determine the number of buds to retain per vine.
      • For Concord vines, the pruning formula is 30+10, which means leave 30 buds for the first pound of prunings plus 10 buds for each additional pound. A vine with three pounds of prunings would require a total of 50 buds, 30 for the first pound plus 10 for each additional pound.
      • Here are some other variety examples and their ‘typical” bud count formula. Remember, each variety will behave differently in different environments, so these are meant to be suggestions and used as a starting point and adapted for the vigor of your site.

    Balanced Pruning 1 Graph

    • To final prune that vine, continue to prune the spurs or canes until you have remaining the number of buds you calculated from the pruning weight formula for that vine.
    • Remember we are ultimately looking for 3-5 shoots per linear foot of row during the growing season, depending on the cluster size of the specific variety. Future Timely Viticulture issues will address timing and other critical issues.
    • The critical point is to balance your vine. You need to use you experience with site, variety and area of the vineyard. Try to look at and evaluate each vine individually.
      • If the variety and site is vigorous and the vine was overly vigorous last year, you need to leave longer canes or more spurs (more buds) to give more shoots and clusters this year which should help to balance the vines.
      • If the vine had less than desired vigor last year, you need to leave shorter canes or fewer spurs (fewer buds). Reduced number of shoots and clusters this year should help to increase the vigor of the vines.


    To print this article (pdf format) click the "download document" below... 

    Timely Viticulture is designed to give those in the Maryland grape industry a timely reminder on procedures or topics they should be considering in the vineyard. To view other topics you can go to the Timely Viticulture page that is located on the Grapes and Fruit website.

    Brought to you by: 
    Document: 

    0 0

    Author: 
    By Joseph A. Fiola, Ph.D., Extension Specialist in Viticulture and Small Fruit
    Timely Viticulture - Dormant

    “Timely Viticulture” Balanced Pruning 2 dealt with the timing of pruning relative to dormancy, deacclimation, and bud break. The best thing to do is to try to delay pruning as long as practically possible. If you could accomplish all of your pruning in the last two weeks of March that would probably be best, although that is typically not enough time do to the size and labor limitations of most commercial vineyards.

    If the vineyard is cordon/spur prune, one technique you can utilize to save you time and money is to “pre-prune,” “double prune,” or “rough prune” before you “finish” pruning down to your 2-3 bud spurs.

    • This is ONLY for cordon and spur trained/pruned vines.
      • Pre-pruning of CANE pruned vines will eliminate critical portions of renewal fruiting canes.
    • Pre-pruning can save time and money as this operation can be accomplished by “unskilled labor” with some instruction and minimal supervision.
    • It can be accomplished at any time – much before you need to do the “final” pruning.
    • It can also be accomplish with simple hand tools or “mechanized.”
      • Utilize manual or powered loppers or hand pruning shears
      • Hand held or mounted hedge trimmers or shear type equipment
        Note – always be careful when using mechanical equipment in close proximity trellis wires!
    • Specifically designed tractor mounted pre-pruning attachments

    Procedures

    • Make cuts just above the first catch wire.
      • Leave approximately 12 inch long spurs/canes.
    • Pull all the wood (old canes) from the upper canopy from between the upper catch wires.
      • Dispose of properly to reduce disease inoculum.
    • The “trained pruner” can then go through and make the final cuts at the appropriate time
      • Final timing based on variety and relative bud break timing

    Double pruning vines is desirable for varieties that are susceptible to winter injury and/or prone to early frost damage.

    • “Rough pruning” will inhibit the development of the critical count buds on the spurs (apical dominance) that will ultimately be maintained compared to cutting directly back to a 2-3 bud spur.
    • For early budding varieties (Chardonnay) pruning to final 2-3 bud spur is accomplished only after danger of late frosts has passed.
    • To extend this delay of budding, the 12 inch spur can first be trimmed to 6 inches following bud break, then trimmed down to final 2-3 bud spur after all risk of frost has passed.

    As much as possible, prioritize your pruning schedule according to the relative susceptibility to winter injury of each variety.

    • Prune vines on the best sites first and the worst sites last.
    • Prune American varieties first
    • Followed by the cold resistant hybrids (Foch, Baco Noir, Seyval)
    • Followed by the more cold sensitive hybrids (Vidal, Traminette Chambourcin)
    • Save the vinifera for last, doing the least cold sensitive first. (Riesling, Cabernet Franc)
    • And the more sensitive vinifera (Merlot?) for very last.
      • You may have developed a feel for the “relative” cold sensitivity of the vinifera varieties at your site based on experiences in test winters. Remember, the relative hardiness may change from region to region and vineyard to vineyard.
    • Also early budding varieties (Chardonnay) should be pruned as late a possible to delay bud break and avoid late frosts. Rough prune first as described above, and only make final cuts down to count buds after all danger of frost has passed.

     To print this article (pdf format) click the "download document" below...  

    Timely Viticulture is designed to give those in the Maryland grape industry a timely reminder on procedures or topics they should be considering in the vineyard. To view other topics you can go to the Timely Viticulture page that is located on the Grapes and Fruit website.

     

    Brought to you by: 
    Document: 

    0 0

    Author: 
    Joseph A. Fiola, Ph.D.
    Timely Viticulture - Dormant

     

    Timely Viticulture Updated: April 4, 2017

    Damage from low winter temperatures is arguably the greatest risk to sustainable profitable winegrape production in the eastern US. The majority of Maryland vineyards have not experienced a significant amount of low temperature damage over the past decade or so, however some vineyards have experienced damage this winter (2013/2014). The following “Timely Vit” will give an overview of how to assess the damage and how to modify your pruning based on the assessment. Please see the previous “Timely Vit” in the series on “Understanding Grapevine Bud Damage” for an overview of how vines attempt to prevent damage, the conditions which influence the level of damage, and types of damage.

    When temperatures below 0 ˚F take place, it is prudent for growers to collect canes and assess bud damage prior to pruning. Here are some guidelines for bud damage assessment and pruning adjustment.

    How to assess amount of low temperature damage to buds.

    (Handle sharp objects with CARE!!)

    1. Collect enough canes so that you have about 100 buds from the block or variety that you are checking.

      • Collect buds for damage assessment for each variety separately and for each block of same variety separately (for example Cabernet Sauvignon on top of hill and Cabernet Sauvignon on the bottom of hill.)
      • The first 2-10 buds from the bottom of the cane (closest to the cordon/head) are critical.
    2. Bring the canes indoors and allow them to warm at room temperature for a minimum 24 hours. This allows the damage to develop and makes it easier to differentiate between healthy and injured buds.

    3. Use a sharp razor blade to cut cross sections of the bud until you can tell if the large primary bud is healthy (green) or injured (brown) (all green in figure 5.)

      • First cut about 1/3 down from the top of the bud (figure 2.)
        • Use this to asses primary bud damage (large bud in center of figure 3.)

      • Second cut about 2/3 down from the top of the bud (figure 4.)
        • Use this to asses secondary bud damage (secondary left of primary; tertiary right of primary.)
    4. Count the number of dead or injured buds, and divide by the total number of buds sampled to get the percentage of injury.
    • Use a data sheet to record and compute bud mortality by variety and block.

    To see a VIDEO of how this is done, please check the following:

    FLGP Bud Injury Testing Part 1.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RHJ5mY3fAs

    FLGP Bud Injury Testing Part 2.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWtr0jzI2Dk

    If there is damage to buds you can modify your normal pruning practices and leave proportionately more buds to try to compensate for the damage and get back to a “normal” or desired crop level.

    How to adjust pruning based on assessment of low temperature damage to buds.

    • 0-15% dead primary buds – Do not change normal pruning practices.
    • 15-35% dead primary buds – Increase number of buds retained by 35%.
    • 25-50% dead primary buds – Increase number of buds retained by 50%.
    • >50 dead primary buds – Minimally prune. Prune away only those nodes which will intrude into the space of adjacent vines or which will produce fruit so low that it hangs to the ground.

      • If damage is >50% there is a high likelihood of cordon and cane/trunk damage.
      • There will also be a higher likelihood of Crown Gall damage to the graft union area
      • Watch those vines closely in mid spring to assess the extent of cane/trunk damage and Crown Gall.

    The following resources were utilized for the information in this “Timely Vit.”  For more information on assessing bud injury:

    “Anatomy of Grapevine Winter Injury and Recovery”
    http://www.hort.cornell.edu/goffinet/Anatomy_of_Winter_Injury_hi_res.pdf

    “Assessing Winter Cold Injury to Grape Buds”
    http://www.fruit.cornell.edu/grape/pool/winterinjurybuds.html

    “Assessing Winter Cold Injury of Grape Canes and Trunks”
    http://www.fruit.cornell.edu/grape/pool/winterinjurycanes.html

    “How Grapevine Buds Gain and Lose Cold-Hardiness”
    https://grapesandwine.cals.cornell.edu/newsletters/appellation-cornell/2011-newsletters/issue-5/how-grapevine-buds-gain-and-lose-cold

    “Winter injury to Grapevines and Methods of Protection.” Zabadal, T., et.al. 2007
    MSUE Bull. # E 2930; 105 pp List Price: $15.00.
    http://shop.msu.edu/product_p/bulletin-e2930.htm

     To access a printable version, click on the pdf document below

    Timely Viticulture is designed to give those in the Maryland grape industry a timely reminder on procedures or topics they should be considering in the vineyard. To view other topics you can go to the Timely Viticulture page that is located on the Grapes and Fruit website.

    Brought to you by: 
    Document: 

    0 0

    Author: 
    Joseph A. Fiola, Ph.D.
    Timely Viticulture - Dormant

     

    Timely Viticulture Update:  April 4, 2017

    Damage from low winter temperatures is arguably the greatest risk to sustainable profitable winegrape production in the eastern US. The majority of Maryland vineyards had not experienced a significant amount of low temperature damage over the past decade or so, however vineyards throughout Maryland have experienced damage over the past three winters. The following “TimelyVit” will give an overview of how vines attempt to prevent damage, the conditions which influence the level of damage, and types of damage. Please see the complement “TimelyVit” in the series on “Assessing Grapevine Bud Damage,” which discusses how to assess the damage and how to modify your pruning based on the assessment.


    Preventing Damage

    • Buds acclimate and tolerate sub-freezing temperatures by two mechanisms:
    1. Dehydration - movement of water to intercellular spaces
    2. Accumulation of sugars and protein complexes that bind water that serve as cryoprotectants. These cryoprotectants lower the freezing point of water and allow cell contents to “supercool” without forming damaging ice crystals.

    Conditions that influence damage

    • In general, damage typically begins to occur when minimum temperature extremes of -5o F are experienced in mid-winter. The damage may vary based on:

      • Variety/type; the following are in decreasing order of hardiness: (damaging temps.)
        • American cvs. (< -15oF) > French Hybrids (< -10oF) > vinifera (< -5oF)
      • Previous season’s cropping level: Higher crop = lower hardiness
      • Previous season’s fall acclimation and hardening of canes
        • Slow acclimation and hardening of canes = grater hardiness
      • Seasonal water table: If the roots of the vine are in water, the hardiness will decrease.
      • Trellis system: High cordon will tend to have less damage than VSP (buds are physically higher)
      • Extreme temperature fluctuations from warm (50oF+) and then quickly to very cold (0oF) may cause vines to slightly deacclimate and therefore less hardy which may make them slightly more sensitive to low temperatures.
      • Recently pruned vines may be more susceptible to damage than unpruned vines.
      • When the low temperature occurs in relation to the stage of acclimation of the vines (See Figure 1 on page 2 from Zabadal et al., 2007.)
        • Low temperature tolerance increases as the vine hardens through the fall;
        • Maximum hardiness is typically reached in mid-winter;
        • Low temperature tolerance decreases after rest is satisfied and vines deacclimate (become less cold tolerant) as they approach the end of winter. When the buds are swelling, damage can take place with temperature in the mid 20sF.
        • The actual temperatures are critical - Wind chill does not affect grapevines.

    Types of Damage

    • There can be damage to buds, including primary secondary, and tertiary (see figure 2)
      • In this figure, the primary bud (middle) is dead (brown)
      • The secondary (right) and tertiary buds (left) are alive (green)
        • Secondary buds may give some percent of production depending on variety.
        • Tertiary buds are purely vegetative (survival – no crop)
    • There also can be damage to canes/wood (see figure 3)

     

    When temperatures below 0 ˚F take place, it is prudent for growers to collect canes and assess bud damage prior to pruning. Please see the next “TimelyVit” on “Assessing Grapevine Bud Damage.”

    The following resources were utilized for the information in this “Timely Vit.” For more information on assessing bud injury: 

    “Anatomy of Grapevine Winter Injury and Recovery”
    http://www.hort.cornell.edu/goffinet/Anatomy_of_Winter_Injury_hi_res.pdf

     “How Grapevine Buds Gain and Lose Cold-Hardiness”
    https://grapesandwine.cals.cornell.edu/newsletters/appellation-cornell/2011-newsletters/issue-5/how-grapevine-buds-gain-and-lose-cold

    “Winter injury to Grapevines and Methods of Protection.” Zabadal, T., et.al. 2007
    MSUE Bull.# E 2930; 105 pp List Price : $15.00
    http://shop.msu.edu/product_p/bulletin-e2930.htm

     To access a printable version, click on the pdf document below...

    Timely Viticulture is designed to give those in the Maryland grape industry a timely reminder on procedures or topics they should be considering in the vineyard. To view other topics you can go to the Timely Viticulture page that is located on the Grapes and Fruit website.

    Brought to you by: 
    Document: 

    0 0

    Author: 
    Ginger S. Myers
    Wheels Up! Maturing Business Assessment Program

    In April, University of Maryland Extension Ag Marketing Program, in partnership with Future Harvest CASA, conducted a new seminar series titled “Wheels Up”/ a Maturing Business Assessment Program. The "Wheels Up" series is for farmers with 3 or more years of business experience. As their businesses have grown and matured, critical issues have surfaced that were never anticipated in the original start-up plans. They now know what their businesses strengths and weaknesses are, but not how to correct or improve their situation. Very often the timing of these growth decisions comes simultaneously with increasing demands of family, community, and/or off-farm employment.

    The "Wheels Up" program is designed to help farmers identify the critical decision points in their business development continuum, anticipate personal and professional demands, and develop action strategies that will work best given the farmer´s individual situation and goals.

    The program consists of four evening sessions amounting to 12 hours of class time plus "one-on-one" consultation support by appointment. Class components: revisiting mission and goals and handling change in a business, addressing production and human resource challenges, understanding what a financial statement can tell you, and developing diversified marketing strategies.

    Due to facility space size, there was limited seating for this past April’s sessions. However, we received several requests for additional session opportunities. We are moving into a very busy time of the year for producers, so while we want to offer more “Wheels Up “ programs, we want to match when these sessions are offered with producers’ availability. If you’re interested in attending this business management series, please email me the preferred month and location that would be best for you. This is not a commitment to attend, but feedback for better planning of program dates and locations. Please email your response to gsmyers@umd.edu.

    Thanks for your valuable input and time.

    Sincerely,

    Ginger S. Myers

    To print this article (pdf format) click the "Download document" below...

    Brought to you by: 
    Document: 

    0 0
  • 05/04/17--08:57: Tissue Sampling
  • Author: 
    Joseph A. Fiola, Ph.D.
    Timely Viticulture - Bloom

    Updated May 4, 2017

    Some early varieties in many vineyards are just starting to bloom. This is a critical time for taking tissue/petiole samples to assess the nutritional status of your vines. The following are some timely considerations.

    • Grape petiole analysis is recommended along with soil samples and visual observations as part of a complete nutrient management program.
    • A three year cycle of sampling all of the varieties in a vineyard is typically recommended.
    • Tissue/petiole analyses reveal the actual amount of nutrients in the vines.
    • Tissue samples are needed when doing your mandatory Maryland Agricultural Nutrient Management Plan. (Please see link at the end of the publication for details)
    • Spring tissue sampling is a good time to sample, as you can make nutrient adjustments to the vineyard that may influence this year’s crop quality.
    • Nitrogen status is best evaluated with tissue sampling not through soil sampling.
    • The time to take spring tissue samples is during full bloom of a particular variety.
    • Bloom time samples may show more accurate levels of boron and zinc, but are less accurate indicators of potassium status. Where bloom-time analyses indicate borderline potassium nutrient levels, a second sampling is warranted in late summer (70-100 days post bloom).
    • Some specifics on sampling:
      • Each sample should be less than 5 acres; they should reflect major changes in soil or topography
      • Sample different varieties and rootstocks separately.
      • Samples should represent plants that are planted on the same soil type and are of the same age.
      • Vines should represent that portion of a block that is maintained under the same cultural practices, i.e. fertilizer, irrigation and vigor control practices.
        • For example, irrigated blocks should not be combined with non-irrigated blocks.
      • Do not sample vines on the border of the block or near dusty roads.

    For the bloom sampling period, sample the petiole of the leaf petiole OPPOSITE the 1st blossom/cluster (see figure 1. below and details on fact sheet linked below).

    • About 50-75 petioles are needed from varieties with large petioles and about 75-100 petioles are needed from varieties with small petioles.
    • Gently wash petioles with water and gentle detergent, pat dry and place in OPEN paper bag (lunch, #6 size) to dry for a few days.

     Figure 1.
    Figure 1.

    There are many labs that can analyze tissue samples (see detail on fact sheet and you will find a list of labs in link below). Call the laboratory to determine current pricing and submission information.

    “Tissue Sampling for Vineyards” Information Sheet for more information:
    https://extension.umd.edu/sites/default/files/_docs/programs/viticulture/TissueSamplingforVineyards060413.pdf

    Comparison Soil Testing Labs:
    http://extension.umd.edu/sites/extension.umd.edu/files/_docs/programs/anmp/Soil%20Lab%20Comparison.pdf

    Agricultural Nutrient Management Program information:
    http://www.extension.umd.edu/anmp

    To access a printable version, click on Download document below:

    Timely Viticulture is designed to give those in the Maryland grape industry a timely reminder on procedures or topics they should be considering in the vineyard. To view other topics you can go to the Timely Viticulture page that is located on the Grapes and Fruit website.

    Brought to you by: 
    Document: 

    0 0

    Author: 
    Joseph A. Fiola, Ph.D., Extension Specialist in Viticulture and Small Fruit
    Timely Viticulture - Pre-Bloom

    Updated May 4, 2017

    Managing excessive vine vigor is one the greatest battles in Eastern viticulture and this problem is exacerbated in seasons with high rainfall and warm spring temperatures. Many vigorous varieties and variety/rootstock combinations are quickly beginning to increase in shoot length. This is a critical time to do some basic canopy management chores, shoot thinning and positioning especially in vertical shoot positioned (VSP) trellises with movable or static catch wires. Critical timing of positioning canes for Smart Dyson and Scott Henry is also close depending on the variety and location.

    • Some sites (e.g., heavy, fertile soils) and varieties (e.g. Cabernet Sauvignon) are prone to high vegetative vigor and the risk of overcrowded canopies.
    • Overcrowded/dense canopies are more prone to disease due to lack of air movement, resulting in high humidity and increased canopy drying time in the morning or after precipitation, as well as poor pesticide penetration.
    • Overcrowded/dense canopies are more prone to contain shaded clusters which may result in decreased varietal character, increased herbaceousness, and delayed ripening.
    • To maintain good vegetative/reproductive balance in the vineyard, the baseline goal should be to maintain about three to five shoots per linear foot of trellis for VSP (and High Cordon).
    • This is also a good time to thin out weak and unwanted primary and secondary shoots to get to your final density. These can typically still be snapped off by hand without needing pruning shears or causing
      damage to the spur or cane. In years when there has been cold damage to primaries, take care to leave secondary shoots for some crop and future spurs.
    • Position the shoots within the catch wire before the tendrils start to attach as this will make the job much more difficult and greatly increases the possibility of breaking the shoots while moving.
    • Timing of positioning the shoots downward for Smart-Dyson and Scott-Henry usually occurs within a short window for individual varieties – before the shoots may break off – after the shoots may not move. You need to work with each variety/location combination to get the timing correct.
    • Delaying until later to conduct these operations will greatly increase the time that will be necessary to achieve the same result.

    Some may question the importance or necessity to shoot thin, contesting that they might not have large enough crop if they thin down to the suggested level of shoots. Shoot thinning down to the recommended three to five shoots per linear foot of trellis for VSP is critical for both pest management and optimal fruit quality.

    • Leaving more than the recommended range will result in overcrowded, very dense canopies.
      • Crowded canopies do not dry out as quickly in the morning or after precipitation due to lack of air movement. Maintaining high humidity in the canopy micro-climate exacerbates disease problems.
        • There is a much higher incidence of downy and powdery mildew in crowded canopies.
        • Botrytis and other late season fruit rots will also be more difficult to manage.
      • A properly thinned canopy will reduce need and the time it takes to pull leaves.
      • Crowded canopies limit pesticide penetration that will reduce efficiency and exacerbate disease problems.
    • As for crop volume (yield), the recommended shoot density has been shown to give yield within the
      recommended range. Most of the shoots have multiple clusters and the vine has the potential to
      compensate when shoots are removed.
      • In almost all cases you may/will still have to drop additional clusters later to get down to the level of crop level that you can fully ripen. You can estimate and adjust your crop later in the season.
    • As for fruit quality, one cannot over-emphasize the importance of shoot thinning to allow adequate
      sunlight into the canopy and especially the clusters.
      • There is considerable research that shows that an open canopy with good light penetration to clusters results in more uniformly ripened fruit with higher levels of secondary products and varietal character.
      • Shaded leaves and shaded clusters lead to reduced quality fruit.
    • NOW is the best time to get this done, as the longer you wait:
      • the more difficult it is to physically get into the canopy
      • the more time it will take to decide which shoots to cut
      • the more difficult it is to make the cuts (young shoot easily snap off with your hand - older shoot need to be cut with pruning shears to avoid damage to the cordon)
      • the tendrils will attach and make it difficult to remove the shots.
      • the tendrils will attach and make it more difficult to move the catch wires.
      • disease will get established in the canopy making it more difficult if not impossible to control later.

    If your goal is fully ripened, disease free, high quality fruit, this is a critical management practice that needs to be accomplished very soon.

    To access a printable version, click on Download document below:

    Timely Viticulture is designed to give those in the Maryland grape industry a timely reminder on procedures or topics they should be considering in the vineyard. To view other topics you can go to the Timely Viticulture page that is located on the Grapes and Fruit website.

    Brought to you by: 
    Document: 

    0 0

    Author: 
    Ginger S. Myers
    Marketing and Budget


    Mastering Marketing - May 2017


    As I review more business plans and engage in entrepreneurial coaching sessions, I’m seeing more detailed marketing plans, engagement strategies, and attention to marketing materials. Those are all good business components. But, I almost never see a line item in their budgets for marketing costs. Plans and support materials are great, but how much will these things cost and where is the most effective use of your marketing funds? Not being intentional about developing the budget that will support your marketing plans is like purchasing a car and not determining if you have enough money to buy the gas to run it.

    Marketing efforts have a direct bearing on your revenues. Without a solid budget, you can accidently over spend on marketing costs or under spend and lose valuable time during the market season to capture sales. So, how do you determine how much of your budget to assign to marketing? Ten percent is often the number most cited by industry experts. But does that apply to your business? A 2014 Chief of Marketing Officer (CFO) survey conducted by the American Marketing Association and Duke University found that the averages for marketing investment as a percentage of revenue varied by business type:

    ► Business to Business (B2B) Product Businesses: 10.6%

    ► Business to Business (B2B) Service Businesses: 10.1%

    ► Business to Consumers (B2C) Product Businesses: 16.3%

    ► Business to Consumers (B2C) Service Businesses: 10.9%

    So while 10% maybe the right number for some businesses, it may not be right for yours. It really depends on your target audience and the products or services you’re marketing.

    Developing Your Marketing Budget

    Developing a marketing budget requires you have a good handle on your numbers. You may be tempted to simply estimate your revenues, subtract the cost of production and salaries, sock away some profits and then whatever is left is available for marketing funds. This is not such a good idea. When you are working around estimates, it is impossible to create a realistic marketing budget. While income and expenses fluctuate each month, you need to organize your information around the total “reliable revenue” or the minimum amount of money your business makes each month. Then subtract your expenses. A realistic marketing budget will be based on the income that exceeds expenses, not the total revenue.

    Where to Spend Your Marketing Funds

    Once you’ve determined how much money you have to work with for marketing, you need to decide where you’re invest your time and funds for the best return. Factors that will weigh in your decision include the size of your marketing budget, your target audience, and you’re previous experiences.

    Divide up your money based on your goals. What marketing efforts have worked well for you in the past? If you’re trying to keep the ball rolling with your current customers and products, then you have a good indicator of your expenses based on your previous sales. But, if you’re introducing new products or try to reach a new sale demographic, then this category will require more investing to reach potential sales. This re-affirms that repeat customers are your least cost marketing investment.

    Since you don’t know if the new marketing channel will work, place a dollar limit on this portion of your marketing budget. Develop a detailed description of all your target customers and then a list of where they will intersect with your marketing message - websites, social media, directory listings, community events, etc., these channels are where you should invest your marketing dollars.

    Regular Reviews

    Marketing strategies and budgets are not a “once and done” task. Take time regularly to review which of your marketing efforts are working and which are not. Ideally, you should be able to tie revenues back to each advertising source. Develop a means of tracking customer response to different marketing campaigns. Review your revenue stream to determine if your marketing budget needs to be revised. Work your marketing plan and carefully consider any dramatic changes.

     To print this article (pdf) click the "Download document" below...

     

    Tags: 
    Brought to you by: 
    Document: 

    0 0

    Author: 
    Joseph Fiola
    Timely Viticulture: Pre Bloom

    The annual goal in the established vineyard is to have the vines fill their allotted trellis space, top out just above the top wire at verasion, and produce a crop that is in balance with the vegetative vigor.

    • For many grapevines (especially vinifera varieties), excessive nitrogen may lead to excessive vigor and unbalanced vines. This ultimately leads to poor fruit quality due to shaded fruit and delayed ripening.
    • Overall, excess vigor is a problem with grapevines, so a conservative approach is typically taken with
      N fertilization.
    • On heavy soils adding too much N during the growing season may result in the vine actively growing late into the fall with poorly hardened wood that has increased sensitivity to winter damage.
    • Nitrogen is a very dynamic element in the soil and plant. Many of the N compounds are very soluble and are easily taken up by the plant and leached from the soil.
    • Nitrogen is a major component in proteins and growth regulators (cytokinin and auxins) in plants, and therefore is utilized in large quantities. Nitrogen requirements are best determined by growth and
      performance. The grower needs to determine rates of N for each variety for each block of the vineyard.
    • Soil tests for nitrogen have not proven useful in determining plant needs, so leaf analysis is the best tool for determining fertilizer needs in bearing vineyards.
    • When planning a nutrient management program, leaf analysis, soil series, and vineyard vigor observations including shoot growth rates, leaf color, productivity, and pruning weights should all be taken into account.
    • For vinifera, N needs and applications should be based on tissue testing in conjunction with observation on vigor and productivity.
      • Typically grafted vinifera vines are very vigorous and do not require annual N applications, except   maybe on high sand content soils.
    • Premium and Grafted Hybrids will typically respond similarly to vinifera varieties and may require little or no fertilizer.
      • Vinifera and premium hybrids are managed for moderate yield and maximum fruit and wine quality.   Thus N supply is in the lower end of spectrum.
    • Self-rooted Hybrids and American varieties require regular annual applications to maintain vigor and
      balance productivity.
    • Nitrogen is supplied naturally in the soil primarily through the breakdown of organic matter. Every 1% of organic content in the soil supplies 5 to 20 lbs. of N/acre/year, depending on soil series, temperature, etc.
    • As a guideline, the annual N requirement for vinifera and premium hybrids ranges between 0- 30 lbs./acre.
    • For premium hybrids, annual N requirement ranges between 0- 50 lbs./acre.
    • Self rooted hybrids and Americans my require 20-60 lbs./acres annually.

    N content of fertilizers:

    • Ammonium nitrate (32% N): acidic soil reaction (1 lbs. N = 1.8 lbs CaCO3 ; It takes 1.8 lbs of lime to neutralize the acidic reaction of 1 lbs. of ammonium nitrate fertilizer). May be difficult to obtain due to explosive nature
    • Urea (46% N): economical N source, acidic soil reaction (1 lbs. N = 1.8 lbs CaCO3); subject to ammonia volatilization if not incorporated
    • Calcium Nitrate (15% N): more expensive, basic soil reaction; excellent source for fruit.

    The early spring growth of the vine is primarily fueled by reserve N stored in the trunks and other permanent wood and this typically runs out around bloom.


    Most N (75%) is stored in the roots of dormant vines.

    • Most N uptake by the vine occurs at 2 periods: 2-3 weeks prior to bloom and 2- 6 weeks after bloom. Vines take up only 10% of N applied at bud break, but double the rate of N uptake near bloom. Thus, it is not recommended to apply N at bud break.
    • It is therefore recommended to make the first N application around full bloom, in late may or early June.
    • A second application, if necessary can be made no later that mid-July if the growth of the vines has slowed on stopped by that point or the leaves look light or chlorotic.
    • Vineyards on sandy soils typically require more N during the growing season, and depending on the soil organic matter content, it is best to split the application.
    • Fertigation, if possible, is the desired and most efficient mode of application as it concentrates the N in the root zone.
    • Dry fertilizer is typically banded under the row to feed the grapevines and not the turf middles.

    Resources:

    Dr. Terry Bates Cornell University; Dr. Tony Wolf, Virginia tech; Dr. Tim Martinson, Cornell University; Dr. Imed Dami, OARDC

    Visit http://extension.umd.edu/smallfruit/grapes for more information on viticulture and small fruit.

     

    To print this article (pdf format) click the "download document" below... 

    Timely Viticulture is designed to give those in the Maryland grape industry a timely reminder on procedures or topics they should be considering in the vineyard. To view other topics you can go to the Timely Viticulture page that is located on the Grapes and Fruit website.

    Brought to you by: 
    Document: 

    0 0

    Author: 
    Ginger S. Myers
    Food Trends


    Mastering Marketing - June 2017

    During a recent webinar that I led addressing vending at Farmers’ Markets, a participant asked how to discover food trends and consumer purchasing preferences. While we discussed several resources for searching out “what’s hot and what’s not”, the real key to keeping our customers engaged is more about understanding their wants and needs than trying to capitalize on any one trend or specific product. Peter Drucker’s timeless adage that “the purpose of any business is to have a satisfied customer”, still holds today in our multi-channel, wireless, 24/7 shopping arena.

    “To consider what customers want or need, we need to identify “Who are your customers?” The largest portion of your customer base is now the Millennials. Millennial is the name that has taken hold to describe the generation of young people born between 1981 or 2000. Ashton Kutcher, Serena Williams and Mark Zuckerberg are famous Millennials. Your neighbors, coworkers and gym buddies are everyday Millennials. All have been hit hard by the 2008 recession, 9/11 and numerous school shootings.

    Just entering their prime spending years, Millennials will soon be the group driving the economy. Fueled by credit cards and shopping malls in an age of relative affluence, the Baby Boom era is over.”1

    According to a Goldman Sachs report, Millennials: Coming of Age in Retail 9.13, Millennials as shoppers are:

    ► Earning less than previous demographic groups, having been hit hard by recession.

    ► In no hurry to get married, start households, buy homes, appliances and cars.

    ► Much more health-conscious; attracted to athletic brands.

    ► Extremely tech-savvy. Because they are so engaged in sharing knowledge and opinions with peers digitally, they are early adopters of new ideas, concepts and products. This will drive the speed of change even faster than what we've known.

    ► Not brand loyal.

    So if Millennials are your target audience, what do they want and/or need when food shopping? Keep in mind that they are very comfortable eating a variety of foods due to the population’s multicultural makeup. Various market surveys have identified that they shop for food looking for very identifiable traits such as organic, natural, antibiotic-free, GMO-free, etc. Yet, few can really detail what these production practices entail or how they affect the nutrition or taste of the product. This opens up an opportunity for producers to educate their customers about what all these labels mean and help convert a “trend” into an exceptional food retailing experience.

    Give customer a “story” about your product. Not just how it’s produced but why they should buy it. Today’s customers want to know how, where, and by whom their food was produced. While grocery stores are still our primary food purchasing location, the increase in farmer markets, buying clubs, CSA memberships and even the “meal in a box delivery models” attract customers by giving their food an identify- a story, if you will.

    Your story needs to include:

    1. Food with a message- transparent and attractive information about how it’s produced and the impact of their buying choices.

    2. A super sensory experience- this includes the product’s visual appearance. It also helps to provide directions for preparing and storage. Keep that simple.

    3. The My Health trend- maintenance of one’s health and well-being

    4. The Eater Identity Trend- “personifying” food as part of one’s own identity whether as an individual or as part of a group with specific dietary preferences.

    When identifying trends that convert into product preferences, consider the emergence of food as a craft and not as a commodity- craft beers and spirits, artisanal baked goods, homestead cheese, and custom butcher shops.  These products can have staying power in the market because they all have the attribute previously listed that can aid in food purchasing decisions for your target audience.

    Knowledge about market trends and emerging marketing models is important to any business. But few local producers have the production capacity to set a trend. What you do have is the flexibility to detect a new business opportunity, anticipate the competition, and keep your target customers’ wants and needs in the forefront when changing the product or market mix.

    1. Millennials in the Market Place; Who are They?  https://www.2020mag.com/ce/millennials-in-the-marketplace-a-7AD73

    To print this article (pdf) click the "Download document" below...

    Brought to you by: 
    Document: 

    0 0

    Author: 
    Ginger S. Myers
    cell phone laying over a computer keyboard; image on phone has social media icons

    Mastering Marketing  - July 2017

    With July temperatures approaching triple digits, it’s hard to start thinking about holiday marketing plans. For many that would be the Christmas season but, for direct farm marketers, the “holidays” encompass the Labor Day weekend, a six-week period in the Fall that crests every weekend in October, Thanksgiving meals and decorations, and of course Christmas.

    Retailers seem to launch into the holiday marketing mode earlier each year, with most starting even before Halloween. We can take a page from their playbook and plan ahead too, particularly our social media marketing plan for the holiday ahead. With the successes of Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and sites like Amazon Prime Days, shoppers are relying more and more on digital marketing messages and on-line shopping platforms to make their seasonal and holiday purchases. Now is the time to develop a social media marketing plan and benchmark implementation dates to capture the largest portion of market sales possible.

    1) Establish a link with possible customers now. During the holidays, consumers are inundated with promotions and sales. It will be tough to grab their attention with your message if they’re not familiar with your farm or the types of products you offer. Build a trusting and mutually beneficial relationship with them now rather than waiting to reach out in November. Be a brand advocate now by reaching out through your social media tools to offer:

    ► Product discounts

    ► BOGO-buy on and get another one free or half price

    ► Announcing upcoming holiday discounts or special sales promotions.

    ► Offering an invite to an exclusive event

    ► Conduct a poll for consumer feedback

    2) Make your social media voice stand out from the crowd. What unique messages and content can you build on through the upcoming months through all your social media channels that will help customers find relevancy in your posts, emails, or newsletters?

    That voice shouldn’t be about inflated self-promotion, but rather it’s about problem solving for your customer. Help consumers overcome the stresses of holiday shopping and event planning by providing on-line shopping opportunities, shopping lists, integrating shopping guides or recipe suggestions, or chat lines for customers to ask questions about your products before purchasing. These types of links can be embedded in your social media posts.

    3) Determine your paid social media marketing strategies now. Recent changes in many social media algorithms dictate that if you aren’t using some type of paid tactics, then your social media presence is probably ineffective. To make the most of your paid social media postings:

    ► Make sure your paid strategies compliment your other marketing messages. Traditional marketing strategies generally work well at the top-of-the funnel when customers are making purchasing decisions. On the other hand, your social media postings might play a larger role during the evaluation and purchasing phases for the “decision-to-buy” process.

    ► Start with Facebook. Facebook continues to be the highest performing social media platform for most businesses. It has developed some great resources to help get an effective paid marketing strategy in place. Once you’ve experimented with this platform, it will be easier to see how other sites such as Instagram and Twitter might work into you program.

    ► Know your goals. Are you trying to increase brand awareness, drive clicks to your website, or build your customers knowledge base. Different ad and posting types are targeted for different desired objectives. Again, there are resources on most sites that will help you find the campaign objectives that will best help you reach your goals.

    Incorporating social media into your holiday marketing plans is no silver marketing bullet for success. But, it can be a valuable and expanding part of your marketing strategy to reach an increasingly tech savvy customer. Having a social media marketing plan put together in the summer will help you determine your best marketing messages, the use and amounts to invest in paid marketing, and the best return on your investment of time spent getting your products in front of your customers’ eyes.

    To print this article (pdf) click the "Download document" below...

    Brought to you by: 
    Document: 

older | 1 | (Page 2)