Arizona hemp farmers see crop losses from Pythium in drip-irrigated fields

Farmers in Arizona found out the challenging way that drip irrigation may possibly not be the way to go for expanding hemp crops in the state’s arid weather.

For the duration of the 2020 growing year, 85% of drip-irrigated hemp crops in Yuma and Graham Counties showed symptoms of crown and root rot, a disease that leads to leaf yellowing and browning, sudden wilting and plant death.

Agronomists at the University of Arizona said the pathogen resulting in crop losses was Pythium aphanidermatum, typically identified as h2o mold, which thrives in damp environments and can infect hemp at any expansion phase.

Crown and root rot on hemp is generally discovered in heavy soils with bad drainage, especially in incredibly hot climates using plastic mulch and too much irrigation.

In accordance to the agronomists’ study, infection can be minimized by guaranteeing crops are grown in soils with great drainage, regulating irrigation to protect against oversaturation and eradicating mulch to minimize soil humidity.

The U.S. Environmental Safety Company has not but authorized fungicides to enable farmers control Pythium on hemp.

In 2019, farmers knowledgeable off-the-charts crop losses after hemp crops exceeded .3% THC concentrations, which point out authorities attributed to the scorching local climate. Hemp acreage fell from 5,430 acres in 2019 to 1,130 acres in 2020.