All tomatoes grown in North Carolina are grown for fresh market and the majority of the industry utilizes the plasticulture system with raised beds covered with plastic, drip irrigation, fumigation of soils and the string-weave culture system. The highest concentration of production is in Western North Carolina (WNC) and production is important, but sporadic in Eastern North Carolina (ENC) and the Piedmont. Estimated total production is 2200 acres with average yields of 25 tons per acre for a total farm gate income of 31 to 33 million dollars. This represents 1.6 percent of U.S. fresh-market tomatoes ranking NC 10th in production.
Major diseases include the foliar and fruit pathogens and the root or crown pathogens. Foliar and fruit diseases include early blight, late blight (primarily WNC), Septoria leaf spot, bacterial canker, bacterial speck (primarily WNC), bacterial spot, and Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus. Major root and crown rot diseases include Verticillium (race 1 and 2; primarily WNC); Fusarium wilt (race 1, 2, and 3; primarily WNC), bacterial wilt (primarily ENC), southern stem blight (ENC), root-knot nematode and pith necrosis.
The majority of the industry uses conventional practices, but there is a growing organic market. Organic systems tend to rely on heirloom or otherwise less common varieties that typically do not have effective resistance against the common pathogens and rely on intense land management and cultural management practices for production.
Some additional web sites:
- Commercial Production of Staked Tomatoes in the Southeast
- Fresh Market Tomato Production in the Piedmont and Coastal Plain
- NC Tomatoes Growers Association
- 2018 Tomato Fungicide Spray Guide for North Carolina
Early blight on tomato NCSU Factsheet
Tomato late blight NCSU Factsheet
Septoria leaf spot of tomato NCSU Factsheet
Sclerotinia stem rot NCSU Factsheet
Southern blight NCSU Factsheet
Virus diseases of greenhouse tomatoes NCSU Factsheet
Bacterial spot of tomato NCSU Factsheet
Blossom-end rot of tomato NCSU Factsheet
Tomato bacterial wilt NCSU Factsheet
Damping-off of seedlings NCSU Factsheet
Gray mold of tomato NCSU Factsheet