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NEWA: A New Free Management Tool for CT Fruit Growers


NEWA: A New Free Management Tool for CT Fruit Growers

Mary Concklin, Fruit IPM & Production, UConn


We have a new management tool available to fruit growers in CT that you should find very useful with crop management decisions including irrigation, fruit thinning and pest management. The NEWA system (Network for Environment and Weather Applications) began in New York in 1995 and has evolved to remain current with advances in pest and weather forecasting. There are 22 weather-based IPM forecast models implemented in NEWA. It is operated by and funded through the NYS IPM Program and collaborates with the Northeast Regional Climate Center (NRCC), Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. Weather data is collected via Ethernet from weather stations on the ground, archived and run through quality control routines prior to calculating and displaying degree day accumulations and IPM forecast models.

At UConn we were very fortunate to have received a grant to purchase and install weather stations this year and link into the NEWA system at Cornell. There will be 41 stations on-line very soon. Presently there are 16 stations on farms across CT with an additional 8 to be installed; of those, 2 were purchased and installed by Rogers Orchards last year but not hooked up to the NEWA system until now, and 1 station has been at Lyman Orchards and on NEWA for several years through a UMass grant. Sixteen weather stations will be installed at schools. UConn has had a weather station at the research farm and that has also been linked to the NEWA system. You can access any of the stations free of charge from your Smartphone or computer by going to www.newa.cornell.edu.

This system uses interactive insect and disease forecast models that will automatically compute and display information beneficial in IPM (organic and non-organic) decisions. NEWA provides hourly and daily weather summaries including leaf wetness, a wide range of degree day tables (which are interpreted in the individual insect models), plant disease forecasts for apple and grape (vegetable and turf as well) including ascospore maturity charts important for apple scab decisions, and insect models for apples and grapes. By using this information to help determine timing to begin scouting for particular pests (driven by degree days and weather forecasting), as well as timing of pesticides applications, growers can save on pesticide costs. Insecticide and fungicide charts with information on organic and non-organic materials, as well as bee toxicity are also on this site under individual models.

In addition to pest management, the NEWA system includes information on apple irrigation, fruit thinning using the carbohydrate model, and critical temperature charts for tree fruit.

Irrigation timing and amounts of water to apply can be figured out using the Apple irrigation section located under the “Crop Management” category located along the top menu bar. Choose a weather station near you on the drop down tab on the left column. You will need to fill in the blanks and then hit the calculate button.  If you irrigate, add the number of gal/acre applied and hit calculate again. This will help you determine the amount of water needed over and above the rainfall that was received.

The Apple carbohydrate thinning model is fairly new and is based on the amount of carbohydrates in the trees and the impact they have on thinners. Sunny days with cool temperatures lead to reduced natural drop and less response to thinners while cloudy days with hot temperatures result in carbohydrate deficits which leads to a stronger response to thinners. I would suggest you try this model on a small scale and not your entire orchard until you feel very comfortable with it.

Find a weather station close to you on the drop down menu and check out the valuable information this system provides. Note that we are still early in the season and the more model specific information will be available as we move into the season.

If you have any questions on how to use this system throughout the season, please contact me at mary.concklin@uconn.edu or at 860-486-6449.


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