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.

Field Update – 7/8/19

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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.”

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.”

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