News Roundup

News Roundup: June 3-9

By on June 9, 2017

News Roundup - this week's top news stories about NC agriculture

Each week we round up the latest N.C. agricultural headlines from news outlets across the state and country, as well as excerpts from the stories.

  • “Carolinas Southern veg deal heating up after a frosty spring,” Southeast Produce Weekly: A late March freeze wreaked havoc on some Southern crops, but the classic Southern veg crops in North Carolina and South Carolina are coming off just fine, thank you. Harvest has already begun on some items and growers will be picking well into the summer. “Mother Nature has not been friendly at all,” said Tony Melton, county extension agent with South Carolina’s Clemson University. Just a few days ago, the northern part of the state had between eight and 14 inches of rain depending on where you were standing. Wind has been an issue. Downy mildew and pests like grasshoppers and spider mites have flourished in the wet conditions. Yet, “We’ve still got some good crops going,” Melton said. “I think [growers] will come out alright, they’ll make it somewhere. You might not make it on one crop but you’ll make it on another and that’s the way you have to do it with vegetables – prices go up and down and you’ve got to make it when you make it and hopefully break even when you don’t.” North Carolina growers have had an easier time of it. Though there has been a lot of rain in the Tarheel State as well, a remarkably warm winter has veg crops coming off a bit early. Abundant supplies of yellow squash and zucchini are already being picked and the rest of the veg deal is following right behind. Said Glen Herring of Pope and Sons farms in Clinton, NC, a growing partner of Raleigh-based L&M Companies, “It’s all coming together pretty good. We had a pretty mild winter and were able to get in the fields early. Everything looks fair at this point. We’ve got 100 acres of bell pepper, 100 acres of cucumber and about 30 acres of squash. We just recently started harvesting squash like two weeks ago and that will run for another month roughly. It’s going to be one of those years where its early, no doubt about that.” …
  • “Significant Stink Bug Pressure in Corn,” Southern Farm Network: (Audio) With replant situations in other crops, the region’s corn crop has been left to its own here lately, and NC State Extension Corn Specialist, Dr. Ron Heiniger says micro-nutrient deficiencies need to be addressed, but insect pressure this year has been significant: “Actually, we’ve seen quite a bit of insect pressure. Stink bugs, I guess because of the warmer weather back in March and April have already been really active this year, even on seedling corn. So, we’ve certainly seen stink bugs, and they will probably continue to plague us all the way to tassle time. The critical thing about stink bugs is that you have to catch them right as the ear is being formed, because that’s where they do their biggest damage is where they feed right directly on that developing ear, and that’s about V-12, or about two weeks before tassle. So, this is a critical time here as corn really shoots up and starts to form that ear for stink bug pressure. I think that’s certainly something we want to think about. We’re also still seeing some bill bug pressure, and they’re lasting into late May, I guess it stayed cool enough there in early May for them to stick around, they don’t usually like warm weather, and our Pancho treatment seems to have been a little less effective. Particularly stink bugs, but insects this year, but I think this year insects are going to be a thing that’s going to be frustrating on this corn.” …
  • “Rosa Parks Farmers Market is open for the season,” Charlotte Observer: (VIDEO) The Rosa Parks Farmers Market opened for the season Tuesday and will be open every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through September.
  • “Made in the Shade: Research Focuses on Combining Forestry and Livestock Grazing,” NC State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences News: Silvopasture – the practice of combining forestry with forage and livestock production – is rare in North America, but the practice could bring both economic and environmental benefits on marginal lands where traditional row cropping hasn’t worked. To find out, scientists from NC State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are studying the practice at the Cherry Research Farm in Goldsboro. Alan Franzluebbers is coordinator of the Center for Environmental Farming Systems’ (CEFS) research unit at the farm, where the studies are taking place. The USDA scientist, affiliated with NC State’s Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, said he and fellow researchers Miguel Castillo, an NC State crop scientist, and Matt Poore, an NC State animal scientist, are interested in learning more about silvopasture’s potential here. …
  • “Local farms and fields on display for ASAP’S annual Farm Tour,” Asheville Citizen-Times: June, all juicy, sun-kissed berries and flowers in the fields, seems the perfect time for the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project’s Farm Tour, June 24-25. In its ninth year, the self-guided tour of 21 Appalachian Grown member farms in Western North Carolina heralds the arrival of summer this year. ASAP’s Scott Bunn said it’s a perfect time for his organization’s marquee farm event. “It’s toward the beginning of growing season, and there’s a lot of variety of produce,” he said. …
  • “Peanut’s environmental footprint stretches beyond the farm,” Southeast Farm Press: For peanuts, the sustainability story starts in a field on a farm, but the story doesn’t end there. The next act starts when wagons loaded with peanuts pull away from the field. In this the fourth installment of the Southeast Farm Press ‘Peanut: It’s Sustainable’ series sponsored by AMVAC/Thimet, we’ll introduce you to a study that measures peanut butter’s impact on greenhouse gas emissions, and introduce you to the country’s most-recent and largest peanut shelling facility’s efforts to create a program to connect its farmers’ sustainable practices to its buyers. For a glimpse at peanut’s post-harvest environmental impact, Marshall Lamb, research director of the National Peanut Lab, pointed Southeast Farm Press to an industry study very academically titled “Life Cycle Assessment of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Associated with Production and Consumption of Peanut Butter in the U.S.” The study was published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers in 2014. Funded through a grant by the American Peanut Council, the peer-reviewed study looks at the journey of peanut butter as told through its emission of CO2e, which stands for carbon dioxide equivalent and is commonly used to quantify and describe different greenhouse gases and potential global warming impact. The detailed study looks at the supply chain of peanut butter and breaks down the chain into six sub-systems in the process: the farm, to the buying point, to the sheller, to the processor, to retail and finally to the consumer. It measures how much CO2e of each sub-system in the chain is created to make, deliver and consumer 1kg, or 2.2 pounds, of peanut butter. The stated goal of the study was “to equip peanut industry stakeholders with data concerning the environmental performance of peanut butter manufacturing to support decision-making and to provide an opportunity to benchmark performance. This would be accomplished by quantifying GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions associated with the production, consumption, and disposal of peanut butter in the U.S.” In short, from ‘cradle to grave’ as the study puts it, “1 kg (or 2.2 pounds) of peanut butter contributes an average of 2.88 kg CO2e to global (greenhouse gas emission) impacts.” …
  • “Blueberries thrive in North Carolina,” Winston-Salem Journal: I have spent many hot summer afternoons picking blueberries in Western North Carolina. Whether it was cultivated berries at a pick-your-own farm or wild blueberries on the Blue Ridge Parkway, I’ve always enjoyed bringing home a few quarts. But if you want to bring the fruit a little closer to home, consider growing a few blueberries in your home garden. Many different kinds of blueberries thrive in North Carolina, but the two we see most often are highbush and rabbiteye. …
  • “8 things to know about goat yoga in Wilmington,” Wilmington Star-News: BAAAmaste. Goat yoga has arrived in Wilmington at Tidal Creek Co-op and this reporter got a first-hand experience June 4. Goat yoga is the regular practice of yoga while goats graze, jump, hop and skip about the yogis in a field. If it sounds abstract, it sort of is, but it is a whole new way to experience yoga and community. It was hard not to grin as a goat tugged at my ponytail as I laid on my yoga mat and little baaas could be heard as I closed my eyes. Here are 8 things I learned about goat yoga. …
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