Ivy noted that tomatoes and peppers are long season crops.
“To optimize yield, growers must provide the plants with additional nutrients throughout the growing season,” she said. “Growers cannot wait until they see a problem to try to fix the deficiency by adjusting the rate of fertigation.”
Ivy said that some growers who attended day-long workshops on the NNYADP-funded vegetable fertility project are already considering how to add fertigation systems to their farm businesses and that newer growers would like training in how to set up and manage irrigation for vegetable crops.
“Our goal is to get more growers to commit the time to season-long testing as an investment in improving their crop yield, quality and income,” said Project Collaborator Judson Reid, a Cornell University Cooperative Extension vegetable specialist. “In my experience, issues such as potassium deficiency need to be corrected before the plant displays symptoms of the problem.”
The two-part Managing Fertility to Increase Yield in Vegetables project report is on the NNYADP website under Horticulture at www.nnyagdev.org.
The total farm-gate value for vegetables grown in the six northernmost counties, Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence, exceeds $11 million annually.
Accordingly to the most recent Agricultural Census reports, the number of vegetable farms in the region increased by 60 percent from 2002 to 2007 with a 38 percent increase in the number of acres in vegetable production.
The farmer-driven NNYADP selects research, outreach and technical assistance projects for agricultural interests of all types across New York State’s six northernmost counties. The program receives funding from the New York State Senate with support from the New York State Assembly. The Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station provided additional funding support for this vegetable production project.
More information on vegetable production and other agricultural sectors in Northern New York can be found on the NNYADP website and is available from local Cornell Cooperative Extension offices.