July 2020 - 1
Growers strive for safe
OSU professor shares
benefits of controlledenvironment
Raised beds, when
done correctly, boost
July 2020 | Volume 54 |
Plan of attack
Major vegetable diseases
weather-driven in Southeast
Lina Quesada-Ocampo focuses her work as an associate professor in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology on five key vegetable crops for North Carolina.
Photos: North Carolina State University
By Dean Peterson
Lettuce drop, phytophthora
in peppers and fusarium wilt of
watermelon share a common feature -
they are all weather-driven.
Lettuce drop prefers wet soils and
cool, moist conditions in the spring.
Fusarium wilt is also favored by
cool, moist conditions and infects
watermelon plants early. " It infects in
the spring when it's a little cooler - right
after planting, but you don't see injury
until later in the summer, " said Lina
Quesada-Ocampo, associate professor
in plant pathology at North Carolina
Phytophthora's favored by warmer
weather and saturated soils. The
pathogen can spread rapidly in water
and heavy rains or overhead irrigation
can carry it to other plants or splash it
up on the fruit. " A single rain event - if
heavy enough - can wipe a field out, "
Quesada-Ocampo spoke on these
three diseases at the Ag Expo in
Wilmington, North Carolina. Ag Expo is
jointly presented by the North Carolina
Vegetable Growers Association and the
North Carolina Agribusiness Council.
Lettuce drop is caused by the fungal
pathogens Sclerotinia sclerotiorum
and Sclerotinia minor, although S.
sclerotiorum is the most common.
Both fungi are soil-borne and can be
spread by soil carried on equipment.
The pathogens survive as sclerotia
in the soil but S. sclerotiorum also
produces ascospores that can be spread
by the wind.
Lettuce drop causes the lower leaves to
wilt and drop to the soil. These become
inoculum sources that can infect the
upper leaves with airborne spores.
See DISEASE, page 5
Markets recovering from COVID-19
By Stephen Kloosterman
Vegetable growers' biggest obstacle
seems to be market demand diminished
by the COVID-19 pandemic that for
months shut down restaurants and
food service, and complicated farm
operations and distribution.
In early June, growers were getting
creative, in some cases finding new
outlets for selling vegetables while
strengthening their worker safety
practices to prepare for harvests. And
the worst of that crisis seemed to be in
" The vegetable industry, in particular,
has been very resilient since the first
days, " said University of California
Agricultural Economist Dan Sumner.
While he admitted " we did have
some people plow some stuff up early
on, " he compared it favorably to the
meatpacking industry, which has
had production disrupted because of
employees sick with the disease.
" My feeling has been that labor
supply in agriculture has held up pretty
well, " he said. " From the grower point
of view, it's good news. "
Gene McAvoy, a retired University
of Florida Extension professor, said
the state's growers enjoyed a great fall
and winter growing season before
COVID-19 shut down restaurants,
Walt Disney World and the cruise lines
that they usually supply. South Florida
tourists " eat out every morning, every
evening, every noon, " he said.
" It looked like it was going to be one
See OUTLOOK, page 14
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of July 2020
July 2020 - 1
July 2020 - 2
July 2020 - 3
July 2020 - 4
July 2020 - 5
July 2020 - 6
July 2020 - 7
July 2020 - 8
July 2020 - 9
July 2020 - 10
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