Maintaining Momentum

Put the he-said, she-said banter aside for a moment. The reality is Late Blight infected Bonnie Plants’ tomato plants earlier this summer, and the outbreak is a black eye to our industry whether the disease originated in a greenhouse facility, a retail store or somewhere else.

Vegetable sales were our biggest victory of spring. We reeled in first-time consumers, got them excited about gardening and built some momentum for 2010.

Now this. The most visible vegetable brand in the commercial greenhouse industry faces a steep recovery following a Late Blight outbreak. And because Bonnie is the face of vegetables at the box stores, consumers are bound to grow weary about growing any vegetable.

We simply cannot afford to lose vegetable consumers. Not when significant headway was made this year connecting with younger consumers. This year proved veggies are a gateway to a new realm of gardeners. And if 2009 was the year of the veggie, 2010 should be the year consumers grow more of them–or venture into floral crops for the first time.

Of all things, let’s not lose consumers over Late Blight. It’s unfortunate any time disease spreads, and its even more unfortunate when that disease reaches the consumer’s garden. Let’s all use Late Blight as a reminder proper sanitation measures should be taken at all times, whether you’re treating seeds, young plants or finished plants.

He Said, She Said

Following the Late Blight outbreak, the question on many minds was where the disease originated. The industry badly wanted to assign blame, but nobody stepped up to accept it. Bonnie Plants argued Late Blight was first confirmed in a commercial Long Island, N.Y., potato field and at retail stores in the Northeast. The company also argued Late Blight was first found at a Bonnie Plants facility in New Berlin, N.Y., two weeks after the first disease symptoms were confirmed.

The components of that argument are sound, but they don’t directly address Late Blight’s origin. Sourcing wet, windy Northeastern conditions hasn’t helped Bonnie’s cause either.

Subsequently, Bonnie has drawn criticism for its arguments. Two University of Maine crops specialists loudly refuted Bonnie on, arguing a full-blown weather spread across the Northeast was a poor argument. The specialists also conducted their own Late Blight retail search in Maine and found Bonnie tomato plants infected with Late Blight at every store visited.

So what are we to conclude with the back and forth between Bonnie and its critics? The facts don’t seem to add up in Bonnie’s favor, and because they don’t, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a second, third or multiple vegetable suppliers introduced at the box stores as early as next year.

Today, more plant programs are lining up at the Home Depots, Lowe’s and Walmarts waiting for their program to get the call. Considering that, there must be some form of change in store for Bonnie, as well as the commercial greenhouse vegetable landscape as we know it.

Leave a Reply

More From Disease Control...

October 9, 2015

New Biochemical Miticide Is Designed To Combat Varroa Mites In Beehives

EPA recently registered Potassium Salts of Hops Beta Acids (K-HBAs), which is intended to fit into a rotation program to battle resistance.

Read More
Seed Meets Technology

October 9, 2015

Seed Meets Technology Event Highlights Advancements In Vegetable And Bedding Plant Breeding

The second-annual event, held in The Netherlands in September, featured demonstrations, trial fields and presentations on green chemistries for seeds, hydroponics and phenotyping.

Read More

October 8, 2015

Industry Standards For Greenhouse Lighting On The Horizon

As the use of LEDs has risen among greenhouse growers, so have concerns about the best way to measure and compare the many LED light products across the market. As a result, the lighting industry is responding to a call for greater transparency and the development of standardized measuring and testing methods.

Read More
Latest Stories
Nemasys And Millenium Beneficial Nematodes from BASFm_Nematodes

October 7, 2015

How BASF’s UK Biological Production Facility Expa…

BASF has expanded its biologicals production facility in Littlehampton, UK. The new capacity increases the company’s ability to double the production of beneficial nematodes and inoculants.

Read More

September 23, 2015

New Crop Protection Products And Label Updates

Here are some of the most recent products released and label updates for crop protection agents in the greenhouse and nursery market. Fame Fungicides (FMC Corp.) FMC Corp. has introduce Fame fungicides, a family of FRAC 11 group (Strobilurin) products that delivers fast-acting, patented fluoxastrobin protection against major soil and foliar diseases. Rainfast in 15 minutes, Fame fungicides can be used on most greenhouse and nursery plants and provide fast foliar and root uptake. “Proven by university research, Fame fungicides offer fluoxastrobin action, which ensures a high degree of systemic activity to provide very rapid disease protection and stop further growth of established disease,” says Naimur Rahman, strategy and fungicide marketing product manager for FMC. The Fame fungicide family includes: • Fame SC: a suspension concentrate fungicide containing fluoxastrobin that controls major diseases, including anthracnose, downy mildew, powdery mildew, scab and leaf spot. It provides rapid foliar and root uptake […]

Read More
Offshore farm profiles Dummen Orange Las Mercedes Solanaceas GH

September 8, 2015

Dümmen Orange Implementing Consistent Standards On All …

Owning and operating several locations can be a challenge in maintaining consistent quality and cleanliness across the board. This is true of both breeders and growers. But those who do it right have invested in technology and practices that ensure that plant quality matches, no matter where their plants are shipped from. That’s the goal for Dümmen Orange. Now the world’s largest producer of unrooted cuttings, the company has a combined 150 hectares or 370 acres of production space worldwide, dedicated to cuttings production. Recent acquisitions of product portfolios, both this year and in the past few, has raised the company’s cuttings production expectation to more than 1.4 billion, including 350 million in North America. It has farms all over the world (see the 2015 Top Cuttings Producers ranking to see where), and produces cuttings for its own genetics, as well as collaborating with more than 30 third-party breeders across all […]

Read More
r3bv2 disease

May 20, 2015

SAF And AmericanHort Ask Government To Take Ralstonia O…

The Society of American Florists (SAF) and AmericanHort want Ralstonia solanacearum, Race 3, Biovar 2 (R3Bv2) taken off a list of animal and plant diseases that the federal government has determined could be misused as terrorist weapons. SAF and AmericanHort submitted formal comments together on the horticulture industry’s science-backed position on the matter. According to Lin Schmale, SAF’s senior director of government relations, extensive research has proven R3Bv2 does not belong on the government’s list of animal and plant diseases that can be misused as terrorist weapons. Every two years, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) requests a public review of the Select Agent list, asking for comments on whether plant or animal diseases should be taken off the current list or added to it. In the floral industry, R3Bv2 can have a devastating impact on geranium (pelargonium) crops, Schmale says, and both the potato and tomato industries also could be adversely affected by introduction […]

Read More

May 13, 2015

BASF’s Empress Intrinsic Fungicide Is Approved Fo…

BASF’s Empress Intrinsic brand fungicide received supplemental labeling, providing California growers with an effective drench fungicide for disease control and plant health. The supplemental labeling is for use on herbaceous and woody plants in greenhouse, nursery container and field production in California. Empress Intrinsic fungicide provides protection against the four major root and crown disease pathogens: fusarium, phytophthora, pythium and rhizoctonia. Research shows Intrinsic fungicides control the broadest range of ornamental diseases while improving plant resilience to quality and reducing stresses that commonly occur during commercial production, handling and transportation. “More and more growers across the country are discovering the benefits of Empress Intrinisic brand fungicide treatments at propagation for rooted plugs, cuttings and seedlings, and in drench applications on transplants during the production cycle to protect against the major root diseases,“ says Joe Lara, senior product manager for BASF ornamentals. “A BASF fungicide program utilizing Pageant Intrinsic and Empress Intrinsic […]

Read More

April 20, 2015

Three Michigan State University On-Demand Webinars Offe…

The first rule of effective insect and disease control for vegetables is to take action to prevent problems before they occur. But in order to do that, you need to have an effective pest and disease management strategy in place that incorporates best practices to ensure a successful outcome. Michigan State University offers three pest and disease management on-demand webinars that will get you started and keep you on the right track.

Read More

April 15, 2015

BASF’s Pageant Intrinsic Fungicide Registration A…

The state of California has approved the supplemental label registration of Pageant Intrinsic brand fungicide for disease control in the commercial production of greenhouse-grown tomatoes and tomato transplants for the home consumer market.

Read More

March 23, 2015

BioSafe Makes Label Changes To OxiPhos And ZeroTol 2.0

There have been some recent label changes made to the BioSafe Systems product OxiPhos, a systemic bactericide/fungicide that reduces downy mildew spores when tank mixed with ZeroTol 2.0.

Read More

March 23, 2015

Nufarm Fungicides Now Registered For Use On Edible Crop…

Nufarm Americas announced label expansions for two of its fungicides that will provide more pest management options for the ornamental industry. The Cleary 3336 F and EG fungicides are now registered for use across a wider range of edible crops, including select greenhouse vegetables and transplants, herbs and backyard fruit.

Read More

March 11, 2015

Research Gives Clues For Preventing Coleus Downy Mildew

Maintaining awareness of coleus downy mildew is more important than ever to safeguard these attractive plants for reliable garden performance.

Read More
Rose Rosette on Knockout rose, May 2013. Photo credit: Alan Windham, University of Tennessee

March 2, 2015

Rose Rosette Disease Fight Gets A Boost From Government…

In 2014, $4.6 million was awarded through the Farm Bill to tackle rose rosette disease, a devastating pathogen that affects one of the industry’s most important crops.

Read More
Fig 1 Leafy Gall On Leucanthemum Becky

March 2, 2015

How To Prevent Leafy Gall Before You Lose Plants

Leafy gall is a nasty disease that can go undetected until plant damage is done. Take these steps to protect your crops from infection.

Read More

October 6, 2014

EPA Registration Granted To Stockton’s Timorex Go…

Timorex Gold, a broad spectrum fungicide, has received EPA registration in the U.S. for disease control on organic and conventional crops.

Read More

August 5, 2014

Prevention Measures For Impatiens Downy Mildew Start At…

Impatiens downy mildew is a fast-moving disease that can quickly go from bad to worse if conditions are right. In case you missed it, here are some of the highlights from Ann Chase's (Agricultural Consulting) downy mildew update at Cultivate'14.

Read More

July 22, 2014

Spray Coverage Key To Uniform Pest And Disease Control …

Greenhouse growers need to understand proper spray application coverage when applying pesticides and growth regulators to ensure successful treatment results.

Read More
Jeff Rich

July 18, 2014

Removing The Mask Of Phytophthora

Phytophthora is the number one disease of floriculture and nursery crops nationwide. Here are some effective measures growers can take to reduce the occurance of this pathogen, known as "the plant destroyer."

Read More

June 27, 2014

Biocontrols Can Be Highly Effective With Serious Commit…

Biocontrols can be very effective when the greenhouse operator makes a serious commitment to using them for integrated pest control. See how Parkway Gardens has successfully used biocontrols for the last nine years.

Read More

May 1, 2014

Be On The Lookout For Botrytis Blight

Greenhouse growers will be challenged by weather forecasts for cloudy and rainy conditions favoring Botrytis blight. Remembering cultural practices and correct fungicides will help until we get more sunshine.

Read More