We addressed the issue a couple weeks ago…two viruses in strawberry plants shipped in from a Canadian grower last fall. Now, an informal survey done by NC State’s Barclay Poling backs up the claim that this year’s crop will be reduced. Poling estimates that 12 percent of the state’s 1,600 acres in strawberry production are affected, reducing the state’s overall production from about 28.8 million berries to about 27.6 million.

The good news is there will still be plenty of strawberries to pick and consumers likely won’t notice any difference at their local pick-your-own farms or at the farmers markets. The strawberries from the virus-infected plants are perfectly safe to eat. Florida, the country’s largest strawberry grower, didn’t fare as well. Infected plants shipped to Florida growers died, whereas the plants shipped to North Carolina, while small, have lived with some extra TLC, but will produce about 40% less fruit.

Rain Garden Workshop Planned for the Pee Dee

We’re less than a week away now from rain garden workshop for professionals. The Florence Darlington Stormwater Consortium and the Environmental Discovery Center at Lynches River County Park are hosting the workshop scheduled for 9 a.m. April 15 at the Lynches River County Park Community Building in Coward. The program is designed for landscape architects, installers, nursery professionals, engineers, site designers, and community planners. For more information visit our calendar 

Growers Can Now Enter National Corn Yield Contest Online

Online entry for the 2013 National Corn Yield Contest is now open. Farmers can quickly and easily submit all necessary entry forms and take advantage of the special early entry discount using the online format. Entry fees are reduced to 80-dollars until June 15th.

Grain Sorghum Seed Still Available for 2013 Growing Season

Grain sorghum acreage has increased significantly in the Upper Southeast as growers see the benefits of the crop for their farm and for the economy of the entire region. These increased plantings, as well as higher plantings in Texas and the High Plains due to continuing drought, have led to shortages of grain sorghum seed. However, several seed distributors report that limited seed is still available at some retail locations. Southeast growers interested in planting sorghum for 2013 should get seed booked with their retailers as soon as possible, or seed may be unavailable.

International Information to be Included in Next Round of USDA Reports

Gerry Bange, USDA Outlook Board Chairman, says there will be a lot of international information in Wednesday's Agricultural Supply and Demand report.

“The primary focus of the report will be the southern hemisphere. We will be looking at places like South Africa, Paraguay and Brazil. With respect to the northern hemisphere, there is always opportunity in the requirement that we update to make sure we have the official numbers. That way we true up all of the numbers that we have in the system.”

NC Pesticide Board Looking for Two Additional Members

The NC Pesticide Board is seeking a conservationist and a practicing farmer to fill two vacancies on its Pesticide Advisory Committee. The twenty member committee advises board members and the Commissioner of Agriculture on matters related to NC pesticide law. For more information about the committee or application process contact Jim Burnette at 919-733-3556.” 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.