The diseases black rot (Xanthomonas campestris pv. Campestris) and black leg (Phoma lingam) represent a serious threat to brassica crops like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. They can wipe out whole fields and spread rapidly to surrounding farms, potentially devastating not only vegetable crops but also brassica seed crops in places like the Pacific Northwest, a heavy seed-producing region. High Mowing takes this very seriously, and we make every effort to ensure that the seed you plant is free of these pathogens.
Prevention in the Field
Seed crops start with stock seed. Before anything is allocated for stock seed, we test and make sure it is found to be free of black rot and black leg. This reduces the risk of introducing the pathogens into new fields. Once our seed growers plant the seed crop, they carefully monitor their crops and use cultural methods that help prevent the disease from becoming established from other sources. Some of these cultural practices include removing volunteer brassicas, inspecting fields regularly for evidence of the diseases and not planting brassicas in a field more than once in five years.
Testing in the Lab
Once the seed crops are harvested and sent to our warehouse in Vermont, our Quality Control team sends samples to an independent lab to test for black rot and black leg. This ensures that neither disease was introduced during the production of the seed crop. Only seed that is found to be free of black leg and black rot is released for the remainder of our quality testing and eventual sale to you.
High Mowing Organic Seeds takes quality seriously. We know that our seeds may provide the basis for your livelihood and that's why we work diligently to provide disease-free seed.
Looking Towards the Future
While conventional seed producers have an arsenal of chemicals to control disease, organically allowed seed treatments for disease control are limited. In order to bring more options to the table, we have expanded our in-house research on disease control and treatment and we are actively working with our partner research institutions in the U.S. and Europe to identify new and better solutions.