‘Average’ Crop Revealed for Illinois Pumpkin Day
By Sean Powers
Pumpkin growers from around the Midwest spent Thursday picking up tips from one of the leading institutions on the crop’s overall success.
Experts from the University of Illinois discussed the latest on plant disease, insects, and proper equipment at Pumpkin Day at the University of Illinois. The group toured the U of I’s Vegetable Crops research farm.
Crop Sciences Professor Mohammad Babadoost says overall, it was an average year for both the large ones used at Halloween, and those processed for food.
He says drought was a key factor, along with insect and disease.
"And everybody hoped to have an almost bumper crop (in 2012)," he said. "But it happened to be very dry. Dry conditions helped to keep the disease pressure down, until about two weeks ago, then disease started showing up."
Bababoost says the hardest part of dealing with the summer was some of the pumpkin crop aborted the fruits because of the extreme heat, and insect pressure was higher.
About 90-percent of processing pumpkins produced in the US are grown and processed in Illinois.