Posts Tagged ‘19:27’

Optimistic for Vegetable Acreage in 2012 and Beyond

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Gordon Johnson, Extension Vegetable & Fruit Specialist;

There is potential for increased vegetable acreage in 2012, especially on the processing side. Market opportunities being presented to processors will likely mean increased pea, lima bean, and snap bean acreage. Processing sweet corn is more undecided and pickle acreage should remain about the same. There is also potential for picking up processing tomato acres for the first time in many years.

While processing vegetables do not compete well with corn at current prices, they still are competitive with soybeans and often offer double crop opportunities (soybeans after early sweet corn; soybeans or lima beans after peas; pickles or lima beans after small grain; lima beans, pickles, or soybeans after snap beans; snap beans after sweet corn; etc.).

Acres of processing lima beans are being lost in other regions, especially California. Land and water costs make lima beans less competitive than other higher value crops. Processors are very interested in having more Fordhook lima bean production on Delmarva. When we can get a more stable Fordhook lima variety for the East, we can recapture almost all of that market from California.

On the fresh market side, 2012 watermelon acreage, should cycle back with fewer acres than 2011 with greater concentration on the early market. Fresh market sweet corn acres should remain steady or see a small increase. Fresh and processing potato acres should remain about the same. There should be a small but steady increase in other fresh market vegetables over the next few years. Proximity to markets makes Delmarva very competitive.

The next few years may also bring new opportunities with onions, broccoli, and oriental vegetables.

Processing Vegetable Year in Review

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Gordon Johnson, Extension Vegetable & Fruit Specialist;

2011 was a “mixed bag” for processing vegetable growers in Delaware. The pea planting season started out slow with a wet and cold March. April plantings went in on-time. There was a hot period in late May and early June that cause yield losses but the second half of June was more seasonable and yields were as expected.

Processing sweet corn yields were at or above average for earlier plantings. Later crops that were silking in the second half of July lost yield potential due to excessive heat.

So far the lima bean season has been disappointing. Early planted limas had very low yields due to the record breaking heat in July. Limas planted in the first half of June have had their harvests delayed several weeks and are suffering split sets. On top of that, the excess rainfall in later August has caused yield losses due to diseases and brown beans. There is better promise for limas planted later in June and in July.

Snap beans yielded well up to July. As with last year, summer yields were low due to split sets. Summer planted snap beans for fall harvest were hurt badly by storm damage and excess rain from the hurricane and tropical storms and will have lower than expected yields.

Pickling cucumber yields for the first 2/3 of the season were excellent. Plantings for later August and September harvest were hurt by storm damage and excess rain. Late plantings also had higher levels of fruit diseases.

Vegetable Disease Update – September 23, 2011

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Bob Mulrooney, Extension Plant Pathologist;

Lima Bean Downy Mildew
Downy mildew is present now in Delaware lima bean fields. Levels are not high but many have been sprayed to protect the crop. Keep scouting and apply fungicides when needed; see past issues and the 2011 Delaware Commercial Production Recommendations for more information.

Fall Sanitation
In vegetable production it is not a good idea to leave old crop residue in the field any longer than necessary. If the crop is allowed to survive after harvest, fungi that cause many diseases continue to increase on the surviving plants. This allows higher numbers of the fungus to potentially survive until next season. Sanitation (plowing or disking the old crop) will help prevent pathogen carry-over.

Nematodes in Veggies
Fall is the best time to soil sample for nematode pests such as root knot, lesion, and other plant parasitic nematodes. After fall harvest but before any fall tillage is done take soil cores six inches deep between plants in the row. Samples should be taken in the root zone of the old crop. Twenty cores/ sample should be taken from random spots in the field and placed in a plastic bucket gently mixed, and a pint of soil submitted for analysis. Large fields should be subdivided into blocks of 10-15 acres each and sampled separately. Nematodes are not uniformly distributed in the soil and it would be easy to miss significant numbers if a single sample of 20- 25 soil cores represented a large acreage. Nematode test bags and instructions are available for purchase from the county Extension offices. Samples cost $10.00. Fall sampling for root knot nematodes is strongly recommended for fields that will be planted in cucumbers, watermelons, cantaloupes, lima beans or other high value vegetables where root knot could reduce production. Forms and instructions are also available on the web at

New video on nematode sampling
“How to Sample for Nematodes”
is a new video that was just produced to help growers with taking nematode samples in the fall to monitor plant parasitic nematode populations in their fields. The video features Bob Mulrooney, Extension Plant Pathologist at the University of Delaware explaining and demonstrating how to take soil sample for nematodes in row crops as well as narrow crop soybeans. The link for viewing is on the CANR You Tube server at

Last Issue of WCU for 2011

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Emmalea Ernest, Extension Associate – Vegetable Crops;

This is the last issue of Weekly Crop Update for the 2011 season. I hope that this newsletter has been a useful resource to you as you dealt with the challenges of this past growing season. My thanks to the Extension specialists and agents who have contributed articles this year — the WCU would obviously not be possible without them. My thanks as well to our office staff at the REC, who make sure the WCU gets to our fax and mail subscribers.

As editor of WCU, I appreciate your comments and suggestions for improvement of this publication. You can contact me at the email address above or at (302) 856-7303.

Best wishes for a safe and prosperous fall harvest season. I look forward to seeing many of you at meetings this winter.