Hot Weather Hurting Yields and Killing Tomatoes

Tomato Killing Fungus

North Carolina scientists say unusual reports of a tomato-killing fungus could be the result of an abnormally hot spring.

“North Carolina State researchers say a form of blight has been found on tomatoes in two eastern counties, North Hampton and Sampson, it was found earlier than usual in the growing season. The fungus is best known for causing the Irish potato famine in the 1800s.

The summer of 2012 is proving to be a dry one across much of the U.S. and crops are suffering. AP correspondent Robert Ray reports.

“The dry weather right now is historic. We will be challenging the years of the dust bowl era. The markets tend to agree. On the floor the prices are soaring as corn melts away. That means that eventually the price of food is going to rise.”

Midwest Corn Crop Damaged

Just like for people, the heat is bad for what we harvest from the ground. Agriculture Forecaster Drew Lerner, with World Weather Inc., says the corn crop in the Midwest has been damaged, but that's not all:

“We also produce a large amount of soybeans across this region, along with sorghum, cotton and rice. All of these crops have been negatively impacted to some degree.”

Algae Used for Feed Stock

Researchers at Texas A and M University are looking at algae co-product from biofuel production as a potential feed stock for cattle.

“Algae is one feed stock being studied as a potential bio fuel. But what about the algae co-product left after extraction?”

“We can think of it as very similar to taking corn and making ethanol, and the left over product being filler, but in this case we have algo residue. Its everything that is left over minus the lipid component which is extracted to make oil from. “

The study of algae as a cattle feedstock is perhaps the first of its kind. One benefit of the algae in feedstock is a higher protein content.
“Nutritionally algae is relatively high in protein, the product used was about 20% crude protein.”

Further study is needed to improve mineral content and balance.

Room to Improve Farm Bill

American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman says there is room for improvement in the House version of the 2012 Farm Bill. While he says the draft legislation addresses many of the group’s policy priorities – Stallman says they hope there will be opportunities to make adjustments and refinements. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.