All of SC is now under a “Home or Work” order from Governor McMaster. Farming is an essential industry, so Commissioner Weathers has issued this Notice of Essential Food and Agricultural Employee form that farms may fill out for each employee certifying them as an essential employee. Employees should keep this form with them while commuting to and from work.
Zack Snipes reports, “We had a great week of weather last week in the Lowcountry. I am extremely concerned and curious to see what things look like after the powerful line of storms we had Monday morning. I feel like we will see lots of damage to taller crops and in areas where there were no windbreaks. If plants suffered in the storm and have open wounds from sand, wind, or tying twine, then expect to see more disease. It would be a great time to get out some fungicides and bactericides to prevent spreading of diseases. As of Friday, our crops looked great. I have been seeing LOTS of damage by our biggest pest in the Lowcounty…DEER. Fencing is cheap compared to the amount of money you are losing to browsing damage. Check out this publication on fencing.
A deer browsed tomato (left) and un-browsed tomato (right). Photo from Zack Snipes.
When browsing occurs, other competitors such as nutgrass take hold further impacting yield. Photo from Zack Snipes.
Justin Ballew reports, “The weather was nice last week and crops really responded. Brassicas and sweet corn are both growing really fast. Strawberry production really picked up last week too. Luckily, sales at produce stands have been really good lately. We had a really strong storm come through early Monday morning and we expect to see some water damaged strawberries as a result and probably some diseases like black rot on brassicas. Strawberry growers, be sure to sanitize the plants well so damaged fruit won’t become inoculum for Botrytis and anthracnose.
Workers at James Sease Farms in Gilbert grading strawberries fresh from the field. Strawberry season is in full swing. Support your local farmers! Photo from Justin Ballew.
Sarah Scott reports, “The peach crop is coming along nicely. Some high chill hour requiring varieties are developing at an uneven rate but only time will tell if there will be a good crop on those. Strawberry production is picking up. A couple of cooler nighttime temperatures may have slowed progression a bit but harvests are still on the rise. Field crops like spinach, kale, and broccoli are performing well. Some cucurbits being planted as well as tomatoes as labor needs are filled.
Blossom blight caused by the fungi, Monilinia fructicola. Extended bloom and lots of rain during winter months made ideal conditions for infection. Refer to the 2020 Peach Management Guide for information on treating and preventing spread of brown rot. Photo from Sarah Scott.
Tony Melton reports, “Awful infestation of early season diamondback caterpillar on brassicas like collards/cabbage most likely due to the overwintering on brassicas like radish in cover crops. When these crops are terminated for summer cropping these insects and other insects like yellow-margined beetle invade vegetable production fields. Also, cover crops containing brassicas should not be used in vegetable production fields because they increase diseases like bacterial soft rot and sclerotinia, which are tremendous problems in all types of vegetable crops.
I hope all strawberry growers got their ripe fruit out of their fields before this storm – if not a lot of fruit will most likely be discarded. Some rain was needed hope not too much falls – in S.C. when it rains it pours. Most summer crops are planted and we did get some wind damage and sandblasting causing stunting but no frost damage in the Pee Dee. The first plantings of processing tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers are in and after this rain more will be quickly following. Spring brassicas are loving this rain.”
Kerrie Roach reports, “It was confirmed that a tornado touched down in Seneca, SC early this morning around 3:30am. Reports of damage to agricultural operations have been limited, but there is certainly significant damage to business and residential structures. Apple and peach crops are looking good right now. We have many farmers market operations who will be replanting/reseeding after last night’s heavy rains.”
Andy Rollins reports, “We have been trapping high numbers of Oriental Fruit Moths in pheromone traps in peach orchards in upstate SC weekly. Numbers have been much higher in our late season varieties. We are assisting growers with correct timing of spray applications directed at egg hatch. We are also encouraging growers to rotate insecticide classes to prevent failure of the pyrethroids if this hasn’t already occurred. Dr. Brett Blaauw UGA/Clemson peach entomologist has been directing the effort aimed at reducing damage from this pest.”
Oriental fruit moths captured on a sticky trap. Photo from Andy Rollins.