Thrips Widespread But Yields are High
By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor
Spotted wilt virus on tomatoes was a big concern at the beginning of the season. California Ag Today spoke with Tom Turini, vegetable crops farm advisor for the University of California Cooperative Extension in Fresno County, about the topic. We caught up with him on the west side of Fresno County. He said despite the potential virus pressure, tomato yields have been very high this year.
“Thrips are the vector of tomato spotted wilt, and while the thrip distribution is much wider than it was last year, it doesn’t look like we’re seeing the level of economic damage,” Turini said.
“We had had concerns initially about problems, and of course that could get worse as we get later in the season, but so far our yields have been very, very high,” Turini said.
He explained that the strong yields is in part due to the mild temperatures during the spring, so there was good early fruit set. “Even that, I would expect that now with these higher temperatures over the last six weeks, we’re going to start seeing the effects of the yield-robbing virus with a later harvest,” he said.
Last year, the concern was with fresh market tomatoes.
“We had concerns late last year in the fresh market, but this year it’s at moderate levels of economic impact. “It doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen in the future, but at this point, it looks like we were spared, at least for the early season crop.”