Field Update – 7/22/19

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “It was another fairly hot week with scattered afternoon showers. We’re about finished with the spring cucurbit and brassica crops and growers are planting some fall brassicas now.  Peas, green onions, tomatoes, peppers and some eggplant are being picked now.  Still seeing some cutworm damage showing up in hemp.  They feed at night, so growers having trouble with cutworms may benefit from night time applications of Dipel or Grandevo directed at the base of the plant.

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Peas are being picked in the midlands. Photo from Justin Ballew

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Cutworm damage on hemp stem. Photo from Justin Ballew

Sarah Scott reports, “The fall crop of bell peppers are being planted. We are continuing to pick peaches and have started picking Asian pears. Field prep is underway for fall planting of new peach trees. Old orchards are pushed up and the trees burned when they are no longer productive, making way for new orchards for the coming seasons.

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Fall peppers are going in the ground in the Ridge Spring area. Photo from Sarah Scott.

Lalo Toledo reports, “Tomatoes have been suffering from many pest and diseases. Most prevalent Southern Blight (White Mold) and Bacterial wilt. Make sure to properly diagnose your pest and/or diseases. Improper identification has led to improper control.”

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Tomato plant wilting rapidly from bacterial wilt. Photo from Lalo Toledo

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White fungal growth from Southern blight on a tomato stem. Photo from Lalo Toledo

Pee Dee Region

Bruce McLean reports, “This last week’s hot weather has taken a bit of a toll on some crops in the Pee Dee Region. Volumes on cantaloupe, cucumber and peppers were off a bit due to heat related damage. But, cooler weather looks to be in the forecast for this upcoming week. Be on the look out for Downy Mildew in cucurbits. I found some in a field of cucumbers last week. Some fall crops have been planted. The remaining acreage will likely be planted after the temperature break.

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Peppers are slowing down from the heat in the Pee Dee. Photo from Bruce McLean

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Downy mildew symptoms on a cucumber leaf. Photo from Bruce McLean

Upstate

Kerrie Roach reports, “Many upstate apple growers are having to do some late thinning on orchards hit by hail from one of the many late afternoon summer storms. Picking early varieties like ‘Wolf River’ and some of the Golden Delicious sports. Peaches are in full swing as are all our major summer vegetable crops. As in other areas of the state we have seen many instances of southern stem blight on tomatoes.”

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Early apple varieties are being harvested in the upstate. Photo from Kerrie Roach

Field Update – 7/15/19

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “Most crops are finished here in the Lowcountry.  There are a few crops that are being harvested for the final time this week.  Fall watermelon and tomato are in the ground already.  I saw some interesting cucumber beetle larvae damage on watermelons this past week. This type of damage will result in loads of melons being rejected by buyers.  Crop rotation is a vital component to managing this pest.  If you have seen this type of damage, please reach out so we can develop a plan of attack for next season.  I attended the Edisto REC Watermelon Field Day this past week and learned about the future of robotics in agricultural production and had the opportunity to taste over 30 varieties of watermelons.

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Cucumber beetle larvae damage to watermelon rind. Photo from Zack Snipes

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Robotics demo at the Watermelon Field Day at Edisto REC, 7/11/19. Photo from Zack Snipes

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “We had some scattered rain over the last week.  Some folks are still needing some.  We’re winding down on the spring brassicas and cucurbits.  This is good because foliar diseases like anthracnose and powdery mildew are really increasing with the humidity.  We’re still picking tomatoes and have started picking peas.  Spider mites are picking up, so scout closely for those.  Hemp is growing well, though we’ve seen some seedling disease and cutworm damage in spots.”

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Anthracnose lesions on a cucumber leaf. Photo from Justin Ballew

Sarah Scott reports, “Hot and dry weather along the Ridge. Conditions have been favorable for increased spider mite and stink bug activity.

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Stippling from spider mite feeding damage on peach leaves. Photo from Sarah Scott

Upstate

Andy Rollins reports seeing some blackberry tips wilting from raspberry cane borers. “If you see this, they need to be cut off 6 inches below the 2 girdled lines you see below.  This material can be composted or you can just squish them.  Insecticide sprays can be helpful but only when applied before symptoms appear.  It is a type of beetle larvae that is feeding on the stem before becoming an adult.  Commercially, there would have to be a major infestation to warrant the extra labor.  Normally this won’t be present in a regularly sprayed crop.”

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Stem girdling from raspberry cane borer. Photo from Andy Rollins

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Raspberry cane borer larva inside of blackberry stem. Photo from Andy Rollins

Kerrie Roach reports Ginger Gold apples are being harvested in the upstate.

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Ginger Gold apples from the upstate. Photo from Kerrie Roach

Pee Dee

Bruce Mclean reports, “Well, it looks like another hot week is on tap for us this week. Squash, watermelons, cucumbers, cantaloupes, peas and peppers are coming off in good volumes.  Quality looks especially good on these crops.  Blueberries and sweet corn are finishing up.  Starting to see some disease in muscadines.  If you are seeing leaf spots in them, it may be time to evaluate and adjust your spray program. Also, starting to see early ripening of fruit.  Be on the look out for fruit rot.

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Muscadines ripening. Photo from Bruce McLean

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Black rot lesions on muscadine leaf. Photo from Bruce McLean

Tony Melton reports, “Cucumbers having hard time setting fruit in the heat – getting many nubbins (crooked fruit).  Parthenocarpic varieties seem to handle the heat better than regular pollinated varieties.   Processing tomato harvest is progressing quickly and about ½ complete.  Processing pea harvest will begin this week – thousands of acres ahead to harvest.  Processing hot pepper harvest has begun and will continue for a month.

Alternaria Leaf Blight Common This Year

From Clemson Extension Plant Pathologist Tony Keinath.

During the 2019 Cantaloupe Disease Survey, Alternaria leaf blight has been found in several fields. It was more common in fields that had not been sprayed recently than in fields sprayed on a regular schedule. It also was found in a field rotated only one year out of cantaloupe.

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Alternaria leaf blight lesions on cantaloupe leaf.

The FRAC Group 11 fungicides (Cabrio, Quadris, Flint) are the recommended fungicides. Although the gummy stem blight fungus is resistant to this group of fungicides, they still are very effective against Alternaria leaf blight on cantaloupe and anthracnose on watermelon.

Field Update – 7/8/19

Don’t forget to check out the “Upcoming Events” tab for events around the state. 

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “It’s hot in the Lowcountry! We are just about finished on all summer crops. Bell peppers and rabbiteye blueberries should finish up this week. We are still picking some okra and hot peppers. Keep an eye out for worms in the coming weeks. I am seeing some basil downy mildew on basil. I have seen lots of ant and cricket damage on recently planted hemp.”

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Basil downy mildew. Photo from Zack Snipes.

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Cricket chewing damage on hemp stem. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “It’s been hot and humid.  Some lucky folks have gotten some isolated showers, but overall, we need rain badly.  The humidity is allowing powdery mildew to pick up on cucurbits and pickleworms are showing up heavy in some fields.  Hemp is doing well so far.  We are seeing some mite, caterpillar, and cutworm activity.”

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Powdery mildew on a squash leaf. Photo from Justin Ballew

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Pickleworm in the middle of a squash.  Photo from Justin Ballew

Sarah Scott reports, “The peach crop in the Ridge is looking good.  Varieties are getting ready a couple weeks early and there is an abundance of  fruit being picked.”

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Peaches are coming in early on the Ridge, but are looking good. Photo from Sarah Scott

Pee Dee Region

Bruce McLean reports, “The recent rain showers have really helped the area crops. Cantaloupe and watermelons are seeing some good volumes coming out of the field.  Mid season cucumbers are looking good as well.  A consistent volume of peas are being picked and looking great.  Sweet corn volumes are starting to fall off as the season is winding down.  Muscadines are starting to size pretty well, and are looking very good.”

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Cucumbers are looking good. Photo from Bruce McLean

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Muscadines are sizing up. Photo from Bruce McLean

Tony Melton reports, “Butterbean harvest will be in full swing this week and it seems this week and next maybe our total spring harvest.  Processing peas will begin harvest this week if rains hold off.  Processing peppers are being harvested and will continue for next 4 weeks.  Also, processing tomatoes are being harvested and will continue for 4 weeks.  Harvest of second planting of pickles for processing will begin this week.   Last of the collards for processing will be harvested this week.”

Upstate

Kerrie Roach reports, “In apple news, we are about 2 weeks from picking the early golden varieties and about 4 weeks out from Galas. Hail damage is wreaking havoc at many orchards, and we are hoping for some clear weather for a few weeks to finish out the prime growing season. Peaches have finally come in and are looking good right now. Later varieties of peaches  at many orchards in the upstate are seeing between a 70-80 percent crop loss.”

Guide for New Required Paraquat Training

Paraquat (most commonly used as Gramoxone) will have a new label beginning as early as August 2019.  The new label requires applicators to take a training every three years.  Currently, the training is only available online.  The link below is a PDF of a step-by-step tutorial made to guide someone through the online training. Paraquat Training Instructions. The training and assessment should take around 45 minutes to complete.

Also, under this new label, every applicator applying paraquat must have a pesticide applicator’s license.  Applicators may no longer apply paraquat under the supervision of another certified applicator.  Contact your local Clemson Extension office about opportunities to get a pesticide applicator’s license.

Field Update – 7/1/19

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “Everyone is busy in the Low country harvesting summer crops.  This should be a big week for us in the field and at local markets and roadside stands as July 4 approaches.  The tomato crop is either finished or finishing up this week.”

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A variety of tomatoes from the coast. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “It’s getting hot here in the midlands and it’s getting dry too.  Harvest is still going strong on a number of crops.  We have a reduced blueberry crop because of the hot, dry weather back in May, but picking is going on now. Lots of hemp has been planted in the last two weeks and is growing well.”

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Hemp going in the ground in the midlands. Photo from Justin Ballew

Sarah Scott reports, “We are picking several summer varieties of peaches along the Ridge, many varieties coming in early. Freestone peaches are beginning to ripen and become available. A second population of Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs is near its peak based on high numbers found in traps across the Ridge. Be on the lookout for egg masses, generally in groups of 28 eggs. (picture) BMSB damage from earlier populations causes distortion as fruit ripens. Damage goes beyond skin into flesh.

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Brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) eggs. Photos from Sarah Scott.

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BMSB damage within the peach flesh. Photo Sarah Scott

Pee Dee Region

Bruce McLean reports, “Harvest for many vegetable crops are rolling right along. Watermelons and cantaloupes are starting to see some volume.  Early season rabbiteye blueberries are starting to wrap up. Mid and late season rabbiteyes are looking good. Heat and dry weather is starting to have an impact on crops, even those with irrigation. Growers are adjusting irrigation schedules to compensate for the increased heat and the lack of rain.”

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Rabbiteye blueberries looking good. Photo from Bruce McLean

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Zucchini wilting in the heat. Photo from Bruce McLean

Tony Melton reports, “Downy Mildew is showing up in later planted cantaloupes, cucumbers, and squash.  First planting of cantaloupes and watermelons are winding down.  Processing peas are drying and will be terminated soon for harvest.  Butterbeans that reset pods after heat at the beginning of June will begin harvest this week.  Sweet potato planting is winding down many of the first planted are laid-by.  Pepper and eggplant harvest has begun.”

Some Pesticides Now Approved for Hemp Production in SC

Yesterday (6/27/19) Clemson’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) released a list of pesticides they are now allowing for use in hemp production.  A PDF including a letter from DPR and the list of approved products can be accessed here: Approved Hemp Pesticides.  Please read the letter from DPR before using any chemicals on the list.  Additionally, it is recommended that growers speak with their processors to ensure using these chemicals will not result in any unacceptable residues.

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Growers will now have some chemical options for treating insect and disease pests in hemp crops.

Previously, growers were only allowed 25(b) products, which the EPA deems “minimum risk products”. These are products that do not have EPA registration numbers (mostly plant extract oils).

 

Field Update – 6/24/19

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “Summer crops are looking good and we are continuing with harvests. It seems like every crop is coming in right now from basil to zucchini. We have had mild temperatures and just the right amount of rain.

Freshly harvested melons in the Coastal region. Photo from Zack Snipes
Shishito peppers. Photo from Zack Snipes

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “We had a few storms last week that brought rain to most of the midlands. Everything is growing well and we are really benefiting from the timely rain and mild temperatures. Growers are harvesting collards, kale, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, herbs, tomatoes, peppers, and sweet corn.”

Bacterial soft rot on a collard stalk that was severely stressed by the hot, dry weather back in May.  The inner stalk has turned to mush and has a strong odor. Photo from Justin Ballew

Sarah Scott reports, “Potatoes are being dug around Aiken. Conditions have been favorable for blackberry leaf rust. Plants that are affected will show small orange colored spots, or pustules on the undersides of leaves and on shoots. Pustules can appear on undersides of leaves as well. In severe cases defoliation can occur and a lack of vigor in canes. Refer the Small Fruit Consortium website for information on control and management.”

Leaf rust pustules on the upper side of a blackberry leaf. Photo from Sarah Scott
Freshly dug potatoes. Photo from Sarah Scott

Pee Dee Region

Tony Melton reports, “Tomatoes are ripening. Sweet potatoes are mostly planted and lay-by has begun. Some peas are ready for harvest and the last of the collards are being harvested.”

Upstate

Andy Rollins reports, “Orange isn’t a good color to be seeing in your blackberry plants!  Be on the look-out for leaf rust in Blackberry and get it properly identified.  Over the last 2 weeks I have found this on 3 farms in the upstate and one in the midlands with another agent.  This light orange colored leaf rust isn’t as destructive as the orange rust that can be found in the early spring on the ‘Navaho’ variety especially but it does deserve your attention.  Spores can be found on the top and bottom of leaves so look closely sometimes it’s hard to see.  There is a another leaf rust that has yellow colored spores.  If you are still picking fruit,  Rally or a generic product containing the same active ingredient ‘myclobutanil’ can be used but as always read and follow the label.  Tilt (propiconazole) is labeled also but has a 30 day PHI.  So, I would use Rally then follow with Tilt when I was finished picking.  Hopefully this will help keep your blackberry patches clean.  There maybe other options for organic growers also but I am not sure how effective they would be.  NARBA (North American Raspberry and Blackberry Association) has a good article on this here https://www.raspberryblackberry.com/is-it-blackberry-leaf-rust-or-orange-rust/ .

Leaf rust pustules on underside of blackberry leaf. Photo from Andy Rollins

Field Update – 6/17/19

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “We received a good amount of rain last week. Some farms got just the right amount while others received 15 inches or more. I am seeing disease now that the rain has passed in all crops, especially the tomato and cucurbit crops. Keep on top of your spray programs to finish the season out. I am also seeing some cracking in heirloom, cherry, and grape tomatoes because of the rain. Stink bugs are increasing in number and tomato growers should scout their crops for them and make adjustments to insecticide programs. On Friday I visited a farm that had buckwheat strips beside the cash crop. They had, by far, the least amount of insect pressure on their cash crops as a result of providing a beneficial insect refuge.

Stink bugs nymphs on a tomato. Photo from Zack Snipes
This buckwheat strip planted in the row middle provides refuge for beneficial insects. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “The first half of the week was rainy, but by the end of the week, irrigation systems were running again in places. The temperatures have been pretty mild for mid June. Vegetables are growing fast since the rain and we’re picking sweet corn, green onions, tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers, and zucchini now. We’re continuing to scout for downy mildew as it’s been found in several places on the coast now. It’s only a matter of time before it shows up here, so stay on top of spray programs. Hemp is also going in the ground.

Squash is growing fast. Photo from Justin Ballew
Hemp transplants ready to go to the field. Photo from Justin Ballew

Sarah Scott reports, “After a long period of dry weather, the recent rains have stirred up some cases of anthracnose in peaches and plums. Orchard floor and perimeter management of leguminous hosts and wild Prunus species can help prevent spread of this disease. Refer to the Southeastern Peach, Nectarine, and Plum Pest Management and Culture Guide for chemical recommendations to use pre-harvest. Peaches harvested in the Ridge are starting to get some size on them and are looking good.

Anthracnose on a peach. Photo from Sarah Scott
Peaches harvested on the Ridge are looking good. Photo from Sarah Scott.

Pee Dee Region

Tony Melton reports, “Only 1 farmer had butter beans to harvest. They were planted on March 23 and sneaked-by those last frosts.  After these the next harvests will be in July because of the heat causing flower drop and reset during the cool week of June 10.  It is drying out quickly and we will need another rain this week to keep crops going.  Collards are really doing well since the cool spell gave them relief from the heat.  Southern peas are flowering and need to be sprayed for cowpea cucurlio.  Snapbeans took a real hit from the heat and there will be poor yields except for later planted ones the flowered during the cool spell.