Specialty Crops

Specialty crops face a variety of climate-related challenges. Perennials such as grapevines and nut trees represent a major investment and – unlike annual field crops – cannot be abandoned or fallowed in the event of a severe drought, storm, or heat wave. Warmer temperatures may prevent stonefruit (such as peaches and cherries) from experiencing the chill-hours needed for proper flowering.

One third of all of our food comes from pollinated crops.  Because increasing temperatures impact both plants and the pollinators they rely on, climate change poses a dual threat to crop production. Shifts in dates when plants flower or pollinators are present could…

  Project Area Brix Cider Farm near Barneveld, WI is home to a two-acre high density orchard consisting of apples, cherries, pears, and plums. 90% of this farm land is for apple production and the other 10% is cherry, pear, and plum production. This orchard lies in the…

2019 has proven to be an extreme year weather-wise here in the Midwest--from extreme cold in January, the Bomb Cyclone in March, and tornadoes in April to extensive rain and subsequent flooding in May and June. The Midwest states are no strangers to disaster. As we look back on…

Growing Season Length Warmer temperatures have resulted in a longer freeze-free season and longer growing season across the region (Frumhoff et al. 2007, Kunkel et al. 2013). The freeze-free season, which is the period between the last occurrence of 32 °F in the spring and the…

What are Pollinators? Pollinators are animals (primarily insect, but sometimes birds or mammals) that fertilize plants, resulting in the formation of seeds and the fruit surrounding seeds. Humans and other animals rely on pollinators to produce nuts and fruits that are…

Capstone students are helping us hear the stories of farmers who are adapting to climate change The Public Communication Capstone is a service-learning course at the University of Vermont (UVM). The USDA Northeast Climate Hub partnered with a team of Capstone students in Spring…

Engaging the Integrated Erosion Tool (IET) to define Soil Conditioning Index (SCI), understand impacts of climate on modeled cropping systems plus improve farmer profitability  The 2019 Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Liaison, Justin Mount, is working with the…

Specialty crops are an important component of the Midwest region’s rural economy with an estimated value of $1.8 billion (estimate from 2012). They are generally more sensitive to climatic stressors and require more comprehensive management compared to traditional row crops.…

The Japanese beetle (Popillia japonica Newman) is a highly destructive plant pest of foreign origin. It was first found in the United States in 1916 and has since spread to most states east of, and immediately to the west of, the Mississippi River. It has also spread to some…