MISSOURI — While cash crops such as corn and soybeans are taking center stage with prevented planting acres and fallow fields, specialty crops, particularly grapes, are facing their own challenges.

Missouri is home to vineyards and wineries that are planted throughout the state. They serve as tourist attractions and venues for events, which helps generate revenue for the town in which they are located.

Photo Credit: University of Missouri Extension

According to the University of Missouri – Integrated Pest Management (IPM), one of main concerns that grape producers face is splitting which occurs when the skin over the grape opens and exposes the pulp inside.

When a grape absorbs high levels of moisture following a period of drought, the IPM indicates that water diffuses through the skin of the grape causing it to swell. During the drought, the berry’s skin had become hard and stiff and the influx of water pushes against the skin from the inside, causing it to split open.

Once exposed, the flesh inside is vulnerable to disease and infections that can cause yield losses.

The IPM recommends proper irrigation methods to manage the moisture levels within a vineyard, which help to minimize splitting.

To learn more, visit the University of Missouri Extension – Integrated Pest Management’s website.