WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The excessive rain this spring is not only delaying planting for Hoosier grain farmers, but it also is taking a toll on fruit producers, as well.

“The rain is causing problems for growers. Some, like other farmers, were not able to plant, although in this case, they wanted to plant new trees, not corn or beans,” said Janna Beckerman, a Purdue University botany and plant pathology professor.

Beckerman said that besides not being able to plant new trees, fruit producers are dealing with another issue, as well.

“The rain and cool weather have really created ideal scab conditions,” she said, adding that the constant rain, unfortunately, is making timely application of fungicides quite difficult.

Beckerman said that if they can get in their orchard to spray, all the rains have made the grounds very wet and producers will face a real risk of getting stuck in their orchards.

“For growers that were unable to protect against primary scab in the early spring, secondary infections will make the situation that much more challenging,” she said, adding that sustainable apple scab management should incorporate scab resistant varieties.

Some popular varieties include GoldRush, Crimson Crisp and Pixie Crunch.

Beckerman said another issue fruit producers are facing is that the extra water and cool weather conditions could lead to more disease issues than in a normal, drier season.

“I suspect we are about to see some bad outbreaks of rust in addition to scab, and I fear that there will be problems of summer rots, which infect from bloom to early summer,” she said.

Beckerman said the bad part of summer rot is that many of the symptoms of the disease aren’t visible until just before harvest.

Ashley Langreck can be reached at 800-426-9438, ext. 192, or alangreck@agrinews-pubs.com. Follow her on Twitter at: @AgNews_Langreck.

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