specialty crops

USDA Invests $11M In Research That Will Support Specialty Crop Farmers

Dan Cooper Avocado, Berries, Fruit, Grapes, Hemp, Hops, Horticulture, Industry News Release, Leafy Vegetables, Mangos, Mushrooms, Nuts, Olives, Onion, Organic, Peaches, Pecan, Pomegranates, potato, Produce, Stone Fruit, Strawberry, Sugar, Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, Tropical Fruit, Vegetables, Watermelon

WASHINGTON (USDA-Oct. 3, 2019) — U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary Scott Hutchins announced that the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has invested $11 million in research that will support specialty crop farmers. “This collaborative public-private research effort will focus on applying innovative solutions to pest management problems that often are otherwise not available to specialty …


Tempering Expectations for the Future of Organic

Dan Cooper Organic

A new report from Rabobank is tempering expectations for organic production as growth in the sector is beginning to slow.  The six-page report “Organic Produce Premiums Under Pressure,” notes that organic food sales grew an average of ten percent per year between 2010 and 2016.  However, the previous two years’ growth was only tracked at six percent. Some of the …

Bags Protect and Improve Peaches

Abbey Taylor Florida, Georgia, Organic, Peaches, Top Posts, VSCNews magazine

By David Campbell and Danielle Treadwell Peach growers have rediscovered a tool to add to their integrated pest and disease management toolbox — a unique paper bag. Easy to install and remove, the bag has extra durability to withstand wind and rain throughout the season. And if our data is consistent with previous observations, bagging may be affordable for many …

Growers of Organic Vidalia Onions Face Challenges

Abbey Taylor Georgia, Onion, Organic, Research, Top Posts, VSCNews magazine

By Bhabesh Dutta, Carroll Johnson and Jason Schmidt Vidalia onion ranks first in terms of farmgate value among vegetables in Georgia, making it the most important vegetable crop in the state. Among the spring-grown onions in the United States, Georgia ranks first because Vidalia onions are predominantly grown in spring. Although most of the acreage is conventional, nearly 20 percent …


Rotating Organic Insecticides

Abbey Taylor Organic, Top Posts, Vegetables

Rotating insecticides is key for organic growers. According to Ayanava Majumdar, Extension entomologist with Auburn University, if growers do not rotate their insecticides, they run the risk of harming natural enemies. Majumdar has been testing organic insecticide rotations in Alabama over the past six years. He noticed that using one insecticide did not work very well against high populations of …

Southeastern Growers Kick Off 2019 at Industry-Wide Conference

Abbey Taylor Fruit, Organic, Produce, Top Posts, Vegetables

Every year, the southeastern fruit and vegetable industry starts a new year together at the Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference (SERFVC), and 2019 was no different. Thousands of growers, packers, shippers, industry leaders and educators gathered together in Savannah, Georgia, on Jan. 10–13 at one of the industry’s biggest regional events. Charles Hall, executive director of the Georgia Fruit …


Organic Tank Mixes Bring Benefits

Abbey Taylor Organic, Pests, Top Posts

Generally, organic producers try to stay away from using insecticides. If pest pressure is bad enough, however, it is important to avoid resistance. According to Ayanava Majumdar, Extension entomologist with Auburn University, incorporating tank mixes into a grower’s spray program can help deter resistance. Majumdar says he understands most organic producers use individual organic products. “But, through years of research, …

Improving Orchard Soil with Cover Crops

Abbey Taylor Organic, Research, Top Posts, VSCNews magazine

By Ali Sarkhosh and Danielle Treadwell Most Florida orchards display low soil fertility. The soil is highly susceptible to erosion, low in organic matter content and, therefore, low in water-holding capacity and nitrate retention. Low organic matter content in the soil is associated with sub-optimal plant development due to a reduction in annual nutrient consumption and therefore total nutrient content …