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Published July 22, 2010, 09:52 AM

Blight could threaten Illinois pumpkin crop

PEORIA, Ill. — Illinois pumpkin experts say they’re worried the state’s crop could suffer blight given the wet spring weather.

PEORIA, Ill. — Illinois pumpkin experts say they’re worried the state’s crop could suffer blight given the wet spring weather.

University of Illinois extension specialist Mohammad Babadoost says that would be a large worry because 95 percent of the country’s processing pumpkins come from central and southern Illinois. Processing pumpkins are grown for pies, breads and other foods. Baba-doost says some fields already have blight because of wet weather.

He says specialists are visiting pumpkin fields to research the problem and “see how we can save the crop.”

Babadoost says while there is a risk of economic loss, there’s also a great value to the state’s pumpkin crop. He says pumpkin patches draw thousands of visitors, carrying “signifi-cance beyond its market price.”

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