A disease called “late blight” is killing Michigan tomato shipments, while other veggies continue to be loaded. But tomatoes are taking a big hit.
It is the same disease is a fungus-like organism responsible for the Irish potato famine.
The disease has been reported in 10 Michigan counties, and is spreading fast. Late blight will infect the plants of tomatoes and potatoes, and is loving this summer’s weather. Cool nights, very heavy dew and numerous rainy stretches help the disease flourish. The spores easily travel great distances in this summer’s cool breezes.
Once tomato plants are infected with late blight, it is too late to do anything. Fungicide could be applied to plants not yet infected, but in most cases it is too late now. If you see the damage starting, it’s too late.
The infected plants need to be destroyed immediately so the spores don’t travel to other tomatoes that are not infected. Plants can either be thrown away in a tightly sealed black garbage bags, or the diseased plants can be burned.
Michigan vegetables – grossing about $2200 to Atlanta; Michigan blueberries – about $2700 to Atlanta.
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If you’re planning to haul New Jersey produce be extra cautious and know what you are loading when it comes to quality. Tomato and potato crops are being threatened by late blight.
It is a destructive fast-spreading disease and has been found on five farms in the state. The disease of Irish potato famine notoriety, creates fuzzy spores and dark lesions on leaves and stems of tomatoes and potatoes and quickly kills the entire plant.
Meanwhile, no quality problems have been reported with New Jersey peaches, which are now being shipped to destinations on the East Coast and some to the midwest.
New Jersey blueberry shipments have been going at a good, steady pace and should continue into mid August. The only distruptions have been a few occasions when rain has delayed harvest, which in turns affects packing and shipping.
A fair amount of Maine broccoli is being shipped between now and mid October. Up to a million cartons should be loaded during the season for destinations along the East coast and into the midwest.
Florida is pretty dead this time of year when comes to loads. A quick look back at the Florida citrus shipping season shows it was a little disppointing. There were fewer loads of oranges, grapefruit and a lot less tangerines.
In its July 11 final season report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported all orange production declining 9% from the previous season, and tangerines saw a 22% drop.
This season, total orange production fell from 146.7 million equivalent cartons to 133.4 million cartons, with the late season valencias also seeing a 9% drop from last season’s 72.5 million cartons to 68.3 million cartons this year.
Grapefruit production fell 2.2% from the previous year, from 18.8 million equivalent cartons to 18.4 million cartons.
Though 96% of Florida’s oranges are grown for processing, about 60% of its navels, 70% of its tangerines and 40% of its colored grapefruit ship to fresh markets, primarily by truck.
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