What is in this article?:
• Despite record rainfall, the North Carolina apple crop yielded reasonably well this year, with 80 percent of normal production in some areas and up to 100 percent in others, depending on variety and location.
MIKE STEPP, right, assists as employee Robert Knowles prunes unproductive wood from an apple tree.
More bad news
And the other bad news is that not only is there pressure on the price side, but the rain lead to immense disease pressure in the orchards.
“It fell almost every day this season until August, starting back in the spring. As of now (early October), we have had close to 100 inches.”
That definitely set a record. “Our normal annual rainfall is closer to 40 to 50 inches.”
That resulted in much more incidence of disease, and the apple growers had to take steps to control it. Thiscost 15 percent to 20 percent more, frustrating for farmers.
There s another potential problem. “Too much rain can lead to a tree having damage to the root system,” he said. “But it may be next season before you see the full effects.”
To reduce disease incidence next season, Owings recommends that after harvest, farmers mow their orchards and blow the leaves out from under the trees into the rows. Usea flail mover to chew up those leaves so they will decay, and apply liquid urea to help the process.
He also advises removing all mummies hanging on the tree.
Mike Stepp of Hendersonville, N.C., who helps run the family operation Hillcrest Orchard, was planning on beginning his sanitation program soon when he spoke to Southeast Farm Press in October.
“In November, we will shred all that litter,” he said. “That will cut down on disease a lot. We have to get it out in the middles where we can shred it up with a mower.