Despite Warm Weather, New England Growers Wait to Plant Until Risk of Frost Has Passed

Friday, April 15, 2016
By: Kris Norwood, Communications
2016 Plating Season Update: New England

Stay connected with what’s going on in the field during #plant16 through this series of brief interviews with Crop Science sales reps in various regions. Keep checking back for more!

2016 Planting Season Update: Q&A with Steve Cumming, Technical Sales Rep at Crop Science, a Division of Bayer.

Bayer Technical Sales Rep, Steve Cumming

Steve Cumming

Based in:
Lunenburg, Massachusetts

Sales Territory:
New England states and eastern New York

Key Crops in Territory:
Tree fruit
Wild blueberries

Steve Cumming (left) is pictured with Gary Blackstone (warehouse manager at Maine Potato Growers, Inc., in Presque Isle, Maine).

What’s happening in your area right now?

“Although it’s been the mildest winter on record here in the Northeast, nothing will be planted until late April, or early May at the earliest. Too much risk of a frost occurring until then. Tree fruit has been progressing, and in some of the southern New York and New England areas, has hit green tip. (Green tip describes when green leaf tissue begins to emerge out of the fruit buds as they prepare to bloom.). Although scab sprays for apples haven’t started yet, I would anticipate it beginning in earnest with the next predicted rain event.” 

Can you tell us more about the weather in your area?

“Here in the northeast, it literally was the winter that wasn’t. Last year was record snowfall, and this year nothing with generally above average temps. Despite the lack of snow, an extremely short but very cold snap in early February has devastated most of the peach crop and hurt grapes as well. Current conditions have continued the winter trend of warm and dry. Hard to know what the spring will bring. Generally speaking, most, if not all field crops here don’t get planted until at least mid-April no matter what the overall weather trend has been. Just too much risk of frost. Tree fruit is the exception. Warm temps will push green leaf tissue out and force scab sprays as necessary.”

What’s top on growers’ minds in your area this year?

“What matters most depends on what crop you are talking about. For example, potato growers are concerned about contract prices, a disease called Dickeya, and virus readings. Silage corn growers are concerned about milk prices and keeping corn production costs at a minimum. Grain corn guys are looking at the low commodity price and looking to cut their input costs. It’s a very similar situation for both the wild blueberry growers and cranberry growers. Crop pricing is down, so they want to cut input costs accordingly.”

Follow the planting season conversion using #plant16 on Twitter, and be sure to mention @Bayer4CropsUS!

What are growers doing in other areas of the U.S. for planting season? Find out:

North Dakota: Q&A with Mike Hillstrom

Pacific Northwest: Q&A with Paul Pargeter

South Dakota: Q&A with Ronald Anderson

Southwest Minnesota: Q&A with Torrey Sharkey

Central Florida: Q&A with Roy Morris

Texas Rio Grande Valley: Q&A with Rick Hernandez

Pennsylvania: Q&A with Kent Taylor


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