'crops' on Serious Eats

Crop Freezes in Mexico Affect Grocery Prices in the U.S.

During the winter months, the U.S. imports the bulk of its vegetable supply from Mexico and Florida. During December and January, Florida experienced a cold snap that wiped out much of the state's sweet corn, bell pepper, eggplant, and green bean crop. More purchasing was consequently shifted to Mexican growers. This most recent freeze is therefore even more compromising to the produce industry. More

Scary: Fungus Outbreak Threatens Northeast, Mid-Atlantic Tomato Crops

Per the New York Times, a fungus called the late blight (Phytophthora infestans) is threatening tomato crops and garden plants in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. The spores of the fungus ... are often present in the soil, and small outbreaks are not uncommon in August and September. But the cool, wet weather in June and the aggressively infectious nature of the pathogen have combined to produce what Martin A. Draper, a senior plant pathologist at the United States Department of Agriculture, described as an “explosive” rate of infection. The article says that William Fry, a plant pathology professor at Cornell, has been genetically tracking the fungus and says its spread is due in part to "hundreds of thousands" of... More

Move Over, Farmer's Almanac: Data Predicts Crop Growth

wired.com One of the US Department of Agriculture's jobs is to predict crop yields. To do so, they survey a sample of farmers, a method that doesn't appear to be the most effective. It's no surprise that agricultural consultancy company Lanworth is beating them at their own game. Wired reports that Lanworth, a small Illinois-based company, gets its information from satellite images, digital soil maps, and weather forecasts, allowing them to estimate harvests on an individual field scale. So far, these projections are proving to be spot-on. Last October, agricultural consultancy Lanworth not only correctly projected that the US Department of Agriculture had overestimated the nation's corn crop, it nailed the margin: roughly 200 million bushels. That's just 1.5 percent... More

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