Whiteflies prove a menace to Georgia fall harvests

10/17/2012 01:23:00 PM
Doug Ohlemeier

Georgia grower-shippers are battling whiteflies.

The pest isn’t causing major problems, but growers say buyers should expect lower yields, particularly with squash.

whiteflies effect on squashsubmitted photoWhiteflies are a problem on some Georgia fall production vegetables, changing their color, like these squash. Grower-shippers say the pest isn’t causing major problems but say the flies are harming yields “It has caused some issues, particularly with the squash,” said Adam Lytch, operations manager for Raleigh, N.C.-based L&M Cos. Inc., which grows and ships from Moultrie, Ga. “It’s such a vector for different viruses that affect the production of squash. It’s hard to say now, but it will definitely affect the yield.

“Some areas have it real bad while some don’t have it as much,” Lytch said.

Cucumbers are also being affected, Lytch said Oct. 16.

He said the pests are stressing the cucumbers, which prevents the plants from flourishing.

“There was a lot of whitefly pressure early on in Georgia,” Brian Rayfield, vice president of sales and marketing for Loxahatchee, Fla.-based J&J Produce Inc., said Oct. 16. “The main problem is it makes the yellow squash have a pale color and there has been some reduction in yields, but everything is under control.”

Gary Stafford, salesman and green beans manager with Pahokee, Fla.-based Hugh H. Branch Inc., said the fly isn’t affecting corn but is damaging green beans.

“There is a problem and there’s always a problem in the fall in southwest Georgia, early on when it gets hot,” he said. “It gradually gets better. It’s not a major issue but still, it’s an issue. It depends where you are.”

Whiteflies attach themselves to the leaves and drain the plants’ nutrients, but growers say whiteflies affect plant color more than yield.

Georgia production of cucumbers, squash, bell peppers, corn and beans normally runs through mid-November as central and south Florida begin production.



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butterfly    
USA  |  October, 18, 2012 at 09:24 AM

Regarding the picture caption: Whiteflies don't CHEW on anything. They have piercing sucking mouthparts. they might be sucking GA production dry, but they don't have the capacity to chew.

sciguybm    
October, 18, 2012 at 11:48 AM

Georgia Agricultural Extension and the Georgia Growers are themselves at fault here. Ignoring chemical rotation, ignoring sound field rotation, ignoring cover-crops, ignoring IPM: what do they do right? Nothing. This is the result. Now they will be crying "more chemicals, stronger chemicals which they will abuse as quickly as they did what they have. And the State Extension are just as worthless. Too busy kta of chemical companies and not spending any time actually working to make growers do better. Cancer to all and to all a short life!

farmerj    
Georgia  |  October, 24, 2012 at 08:17 AM

Georgia farmers do not play by the rules, as already said no field procedures like crop rotation, cover crops, IPM and when they spray they us formulas of chemicals out of label rates and frequency and have lousy spray coverage. Their food safety is just as bad or worse.

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