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Checking in on the U.S. pumpkin crop

Checking in on the U.S. pumpkin crop

Farmers are pleased with their pumpkins despite planting late

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

Now that fall is in the air, Farms.com thought it appropriate to check in with some U.S. pumpkin farmers.

Producers harvested 65,900 acres and more than 1.6 billion pounds of pumpkins in 2018, the USDA says. The value of that national pumpkin crop was around US$190 million.

Fast forward to 2019 and, like their grain-producing colleagues, pumpkin growers ran into challenges because of the wet spring.

Despite those hurdles, producers are happy with the way their crops look.

“The pumpkins are somewhat of a miracle with all the rain we had this spring and planting them as late as we did,” said Terese Gust, who grows 35 acres of pumpkins at Gust Brother’s Pumpkin Farm in Ottawa Lake, Mich. “They really do look great. We just didn’t get many of the 100-pound giant pumpkins.”

Producers made some adjustments in their fungicide programs to protect the pumpkins from disease, Gust told Farms.com.

“We switched to a different (custom spraying) company that’s really up to date with their cucurbit sprays,” she said. “Our pumpkins were on a 10-day schedule this year, so we don’t have any diseases right now, which is surprising.”

Pumpkin farmers in other states are also pleased with their patches, despite some challenges later in the growing season.

“We think they look good even though we didn’t get enough rain,” said Cyndy Kendall, who grows three acres of pumpkins at Kendall Family Farm Adventures in Converse, Ind. “We barely had any rain in July or August.”

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