Below is an update from Markon Cooperative regarding the explosion of plant virus and disease issues heavily impacting lettuce crops over the last couple of weeks in California’s Salinas Valley.
- Green leaf has been the least affected, but yields are down 20%-50% in some iceberg and romaine lettuce crops
- Sclerotinia is not uncommon in late summer/early fall crops, but the Impatiens Necrotic Spot Virus is typically not as widespread as it is currently being reported
- Harvesting crews are heavily trimming heads to detect and cull defects, but may not be able to eliminate these issues 100%
- Production crews are harvesting fields at a faster pace due to the increase in culled product; upcoming fields will have less time to fully mature
- Expect light weights, intermittent quality and shelf-life issues, and elevated markets for lettuce items for the duration of the Salinas season