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Agrimarketing : September 2012
58 Agri Marketing September 2012 ACREAGE SHIFTS, ALTERNATIVE CROPS Vegetable acreage is not shifting too dramatically for many large vegetable producers. There are some instances, however, where large growers are opting to produce field crops mainly due to potentially more attractive market prices of the latter. Potato growers continue making good progress on aligning supply and demand. Tomato growers facing increasingly strong competition from Mexican imports are seeking new means to achieving a fair market including revision of international trade agreements and finding new niches within open field varieties. Among fruit crops, some alternative crops are now reaching maturity and becoming mainstream. Pistachios continue gaining ground with an average of 11,000 acres planted each year, mainly in California. Blueberries remain popular with growers across the country. Peaches are the hottest new alternative crop among citrus growers in Florida, given concerns over disease and lost acres from earlier canker eradication efforts. Other newer alternatives that will be proven out to find their niche in the marketplace are pomegranates and olives. PEST CHALLENGES The unusual weather conditions in 2012 had vegetable growers concerned about increased pest pressure, specifically thrips in the southeast and flea beetles in the north and southwest. Late blight has also shown up in various locations along the East Coast but has not been as destructive as it was a few years ago. Tree fruit growers continue to monitor the potential threat of the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) that caused near-total crop losses for some apple and peach growers in 2010. However, if there's a pest that is poised to surpass BMSB as a top concern for growers on a national scale, it's the spotted wing drosophila, which primarily targets any soft skinned fruit. Many of the latest control efforts focus on traditional and new trapping systems. Leading crop protection manufacturers are gearing up for new product launches over the next couple years, including DuPont Crop Protection, BASF and Bayer CropScience. With these product launches comes a need for grower education on proper use, resistance management, and efficacy. In addition, the biopesticide industry is staking a bigger claim in crop protection. More growers are accepting biopesticides as a viable option, and as a result more companies are looking to tap into this growing market. FRUIT & VEGETABLE MARKET/continued from page 56 Monahan
AgCareers USA 2012