Field Update – 10/14/19

Statewide

Dr. Tony Keinath reports, “A new technical bulletin published online by Clemson University’s Land-Grant Press will help watermelon growers choose tactics to manage Fusarium  wilt. Options include partially resistant varieties, delaying transplanting until soil has warmed, grafting, applying fungicides at transplanting, and winter cover cropping with vetch.  See: Keinath AP. Integrated Management for Fusarium Wilt of Watermelon. Land-Grant Press by Clemson Extension. 2019; LGP 1022.

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “Strawberries are going in or will be going in very shortly here in the Lowcountry.  I want to remind everyone how important it is that deer fencing is put up.  Ideally the fencing should be put up BEFORE the strawberries go in the ground.  I see hundreds of plants each year destroyed by deer.  Assuming the value of that plant is around $3 (1.5 lbs berries per plant and $2 lb), it doesn’t take losing a lot of plants to really feel the financial loss. Please read an article I wrote about setting up and maintaining an inexpensive deer fence here.

IMG_20160120_141943046.jpg

Deer feeding damage can cause significant yield loses to strawberries.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “The weather felt more like fall this past week, but still no significant rain.  The very first strawberries have been planted in the midlands with a lot more planting expected this week.  The first plants were set just before the weather cooled down and the heat really took a toll on them.  95 degrees just isn’t good for strawberry transplants.  The current weather should be much more favorable for planting.  Be sure to set plants at the proper depth and overhead water transplants adequately.  Take a look at this Strawberry Growers Checklist for some good tips for fall strawberry management.”

20191008_143059.jpg

The 95 degree heat really took a toll on these strawberry plugs.  Photo from Justin Ballew

Field Update – 10/7/19

Statewide

Dr. Tony Keinath reports, “Growers who have “slacked off” on fungicide applications during the dry spell should resume biweekly or weekly fungicide sprays in areas that are or have received rain. For most fungal diseases, the amount of rain determines how severe the disease becomes. The more rain, the more fungicide sprays are needed. Note that many fungicide labels now state that the product may only be applied once every 7 days; 5-day spray schedules are going away.

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “Another hot and dry week in the Lowcountry. Non irrigated crops are really starting to suffer.  Many farms are waiting on rain to plant fall crops.  We are beginning to prepare for strawberry season but dry conditions are making it hard to lay plastic. Festivals, corn mazes, pumpkins, and haunted trails are in full gear in the Lowcountry.”

IMG_7474001.jpg

Sunflowers can add extra income to the farm during the summer and fall seasons. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “Last week was hot, but temperatures finally dropped over the weekend. It finally feels like fall.  Dry weather remains, though.  A few areas got some light showers, but it didn’t amount to much.  Growers have laid their plastic for strawberries and planting is approaching quickly.  Caterpillars are still very active in brassica crops and we are seeing some whiteflies as well.  Keep scouting and stay on top of the insects.”

20191001_101924.jpg

Plastic laid for strawberries. Planting will start soon. Photo from Justin Ballew.

20190930_100848.jpg

Whiteflies are showing up on brassica crops in the midlands. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Sarah Scott reports, “We have had spotty rain throughout the Ridge but conditions are still very dry. Cooler night temperatures are bringing some relief. Field preparation for new peach tree plantings are underway including soil fumigation.  With the recent discovery of the root knot nematode, Meloidogyne floridensis, in fields in Edgefield County, growers can request a PCR test if nematode samples test positive for root knot nematodes.

Lalo Toledo reports, “Phytophthora blight on bell peppers has been found in Clarendon and Orangeburg County. Phytophthora blight on peppers is extremely damaging and can result in total loss of the crop prior to the first harvest. Proper fungicide applications and resistant cultivars can be used to suppress this disease. Sweet potatoes are being harvested, as well as eggplants. White-fly populations have been found in broccoli and mustard.

IMG_0200.JPG

Phytophthora blight on pepper. Photo from Lalo Toledo.

Field Update – 9/30/19

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “It has been very dry here in the Lowcountry.  Our dry land crops are struggling and even irrigated crops are in need of more water.  I found a good number of melonworms this week in cucumber so keep an eye out if you have any cucurbits planted.  I scouted many collard and cabbage fields this past week and found very few caterpillars.  I saw a few isolated areas of harlequin bug damage so scout regularly to stay on top of those.  Our cowpeas are filling out pods right now and unfortunately I found some cowpea curculio in some of the peas.  The good news is that with our dry weather there are very few diseases right now.”

IMG957307001.jpg

Worms feeding on cucumber leaves. Photo from Zack Snipes.

IMG957302001.jpg

Cowpea curculio grub that was inside of a pea pod. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “No changes in the weather from last week. It’s still hot and very dry. Growers are working on bedding fields in preparation for strawberry planting, though it’s difficult to form beds without any soil moisture. Hemp is budding nicely and harvest will probably start in another couple weeks. Caterpillars are still building in a number of crops. We’re seeing diamond back moth, cabbage loopers, and corn earworms mainly.”

20190927_151356.jpg

Field being prepped for strawberries. Photo from Justin Ballew.

20190927_135411

Hemp buds that will be harvested for CBD extraction. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Sarah Scott reports, “We continue to have hot, dry conditions with rainfall in scattered areas. Bell peppers, squash, tomatoes, watermelon, sweet potatoes and eggplant being harvested. Hot, sunny conditions cause some sun scald on bell peppers (photo). Peach growers are still keeping an eye out for San Jose scale. Although many growers do not do a post-harvest spray, scale are still active and if a grower has a particularly high population or an area where scale was bad this season, apply a summer oil, diluted dormant oil or a light oil like TriTek which could reduce populations for next year. Growers should be mindful that a full rate dormant spray may defoliate the trees, so scale down.”

sunscald on pepper.jpg

Sun scald on pepper. Photo from Sarah Scott.

Upstate

Andy Rollins reports, “Strawberry plugs are going through extreme transplant shock due to excessive dry heat.  Smaller sized plugs are more susceptible even in well watered fields.  Early morning overhead waterings of 30 min to 1 hour are recommended to help during first week to two weeks.  Other problems are being investigated, but are unlikely the main problem on these farms.”

IMG_0362.jpg

Newly transplanted strawberry plug experiencing transplant shock.  Photo from Andy Rollins.

 

 

Field Update – 9/23/19

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “Cooler days and nights have really helped out our crops as of late.  Fall planted brassicas are taking off and looking good.  Fall watermelons are being harvested this week and look good overall. I have seen more cucumber beetle damage on the rind of watermelons lately.  While there is nothing wrong with these melons, this damage can impact the marketability of melons.”

IMG957254001.jpg

Adult striped cucumber beetle causing damage to the rind of watermelon. Photo from Zack Snipes

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “The weather has been nice and cool, but it is real dry. We’re still picking squash, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant, and planting brassicas. Caterpillar numbers are building in brassicas.”

20190917_143517.jpg

Fall cucumbers planted behind tomatoes so they can utilize the existing trellis. Photo from Justin Ballew

Sara Scott reports, “We are harvesting zucchini,  squash,  cherry tomatoes and beginning bell pepper harvest. Conditions remain dry with little to no measurable rainfall.”

20190917_093210.jpg

Cabbage looper on a broccoli plant. Caterpillar populations seem to be high for the fall season. Photo from Sarah Scott.

Lalo Toledo reports, “Eggplant with symptoms resembling Cercospora leaf spot were found in Clarendon and Orangeburg county. A calendar-based protectant fungicide spray program combined with cultural practices can help reduce losses from Cercospora Leaf Spot. Cabbage whiteflies were also found in broccoli fields. Preventative application of insecticides to manage whiteflies is the best tactical management option. Refer to the vegetable handbook for recommendations.”

IMG_0238.JPG

Cercospora leaf spot on eggplant foliage. Photo from Lalo Toledo.

Upstate

Kerrie Roach reports, “Nighttime temperatures are finally indicating that fall might be on it’s way despite continued daytime highs in the 90’s. Currently listed in moderate drought with no rain in the extended forecast, the upstate is literally baking. The apple crop as a whole looks good, but red varieties are not coloring because of the heat, picking is about two weeks ahead of schedule, and with the lack of rainfall, moisture content is very low.”

Andy Rollins reports, “Muscadines are continuing to sell well in the upstate and are very high sugar compared to normal.  We are finishing with ‘Fry’ but still have ‘Supreme’ and ‘GrannyVal’ being harvested.  The crop will finish sooner this year because of higher than normal temperatures this month.  So if you wantem’ you better gettem’ because they’ll be gone soon.”

IMG_0334.jpg

Fresh muscadines ready to sell. Photo from Andy Rollins.

Field Update – 8/19/19

Coastal Region

Dr. Tony Keinath reports, “Phomopsis blight is showing up on eggplant at the Coastal REC. On susceptible cultivars, like ‘Black Beauty,’ the disease starts as leaf spots; later in the season stem cankers and fruit rot appear. Although several fungicides are registered on eggplant, none are specifically labeled for Phomopsis blight. Aprovia Top and Priaxor might give some control; more testing is needed before a definite recommendation can be made.”

Phomopsis blight.JPG

Phomopsis blight on eggplant foliage. Photo from Dr. Tony Keinath.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “Last week we had some scattered rains, but some areas remain bone dry.  Irrigation is running a lot in those areas.  Muscadine harvest has started and so far, this is the largest yield we’ve seen in recent years.  Squash, zucchini, eggplant, cucumbers, and tomatoes are also being harvested. Quality looks good, but volume is down a bit in some areas.  More fall brassicas are being planted and strawberry growers are just starting the process of prepping their fields.”

20190812_143457.jpg

Great crop of muscadines in the midlands this year. Photo from Justin Ballew.

20190812_140829.jpg

Good looking eggplant harvested in the midlands. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Pee Dee Region

Bruce McLean reports, “Much of the upper Pee Dee Region received beneficial rains late last week. This helped to drop temps back to about normal, following the excessive heat from a few days earlier. On most crops, the rain really helped to push production again. Late season cucumbers, squash, zucchini, and okra are looking good. Canary melons are looking excellent. Volumes on these crops are good. Last week’s heat did take a toll on watermelons, though. Volumes are significantly down from the prior week and are likely winding down for the season. Muscadines are a bit varied across the region. In some locations, ‘Carlos’ and ‘Noble’ (wine and juice varieties) are getting very close to harvest, while other vineyards are ripening a bit slower. Harvest on the most mature wine and juice muscadines could begin as soon as next week.

IMG_0227.JPG

Fall cucumbers were showing some downy mildew earlier on. Fungicide applications seem to have held down further development. Photo from Bruce McLean.

IMG_0230.JPG

Canary melons are looking excellent. Photo from Bruce McLean.

Tony Melton reports, “Heavy rain in certain area but none in others.  Some fresh market sweet potatoes are ready for harvest.  Processing sweet potato harvest will begin end of August.  Pickling cucumbers for machine harvest are still being planted most growers are favoring the parthenocarpic varieties.  Brassica planting has begun – seeds and transplants.  Fall bearing blackberries are yielding well.”

Upstate

Mark Arena reports seeing pecan scab. “Pecan Scab fungus is a weather dependant disease. There are varieties/cultivars that exhibit tolerance to this disease as shown below in the photos. Observed in Picture #1, we see both the nuts and foliage are showing signs of infection (the brown lessions). Picture #2 shows no sign of disease on either the nuts and/or foliage at the present time. Pecan scab can go undetected for days before the lessions appear, therefore, it is imperaitive to use a preventitive fungicide program to insure nut production.

scab.jpg

Nuts and leaves infected by pecan scab. Photo from Mark Arena.

no scab.jpg

Nuts and leaves appear free of pecan scab. Photo from Mark Arena.

 

SC Farmers Can Help Report Drought Conditions

No one keeps a closer eye on the weather and understands the impacts of drought more than farmers.  Therefore, the US Drought Monitor is seeking help from farmers in reporting drought conditions.  See the handout below and access the mobile friendly survey sight here. View the PDF with working links here: USDM DroughtImpactReporter SC flyer

IMG_0303.PNGIMG_0304

Field Update – 6/3/19

Statewide

Dr. Tony Keinath reports,”Powdery mildew was found on watermelon at the Coastal REC on May 30. Typical symptoms of powdery mildew on watermelon are distinct yellow spots, although the spots may be indistinct yellow blotches rather than round spots. The symptoms seen this week included more browning than is typical for the size of the spots, perhaps due to unusually hot weather.  To manage powdery mildew on watermelon and other cucurbits, click here. Powdery mildew-resistant cultivars of cucumber and cantaloupe are holding up well, but squashes with partial resistance to powdery mildew should be sprayed.”

Yellow spots include more browning than usual for powdery mildew. The hot weather probably contributed to this. Photo from Dr. Tony Keinath.

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “Another week without rain for most of the Lowcountry.  The irrigated crops that have gotten enough water and look great including tomato, watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumbers, and squash. We are at the beginning of tomato, melon, rabbiteye blueberry, and blackberry harvest.  Blueberry growers will want to look out for anthracnose fruit rot in harvested berries.  There is nothing that can be done this year but we can work on spray programs for next year.  The tomato crop looks great except for the usual bacterial wilt and southern blight.  I heard of a few hot spots of spider mites last week so scout regularly especially during this hot and dry period.”

Cantaloupe looking good in the Coastal region. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Anthracnose in blueberries. The photo on the right shows berries that were just picked. The berries on the left were picked 3 days prior to the photo being taken and stored at room temperature. You can see the orange spore masses on some of the berries. Photos from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports,”Last week was another hot, dry week. It’s been 23 days now since we’ve had rain that amounted to anything more than a brief sprinkle. Irrigation systems are not getting much rest. Squash and zucchini yields have suffered some, most likely because bee activity decreases when it is extremely hot and dry. We have some blueberries that are suffering because the drip system is not able to keep up with the water demand. Other irrigated crops like sweet corn, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant are looking fine. We need rain pretty badly, though.

Collards just outside of the reach of the end gun are wilting and the bottom leaves are drying out. Photo from Justin Ballew
Blueberries are showing signs of drought stress in the Midlands. Photo from Justin Ballew

Sarah Scott reports, “Things are busy and man has it been HOT! I’ve been speaking with Brett Blauuw, entomologist from UGA,  about what to expect when the temps dip back down to “normal” as far as the pest outlook is concerned and here are some notes from our conversation:

  • Scale insects tend to become inactive at temperatures greater than 90, but they will continue to develop at night when the temperatures dip back down. The activity should decrease compared to a ’normal’ spring where it’s in the 80s. We still have a couple of weeks before we see another peak abundance of scale crawlers.
  • Stink bugs don’t mind the heat much. The adults that emerged from overwintering are dying right now, so the numbers are declining but, they have laid eggs and the nymphs will be developing. In a couple of weeks we should expect another large number of BMSB adults. 
  • Plum curculio is also more abundant and active this year. Still catching adults down in Fort Valley, so that is another concern.
  • Thrips, unfortunately love hot, dry climates, so right now is the perfect weather for them. For organic producers, Entrust is an affective product.”
Squash bugs showing up on cucurbits in the Midlands. Photo from Sarah Scott.