Weekly Field Update – 8/16/21

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “Its hot and humid in the Lowcountry. Fall tomato and watermelons are in the ground and enjoyed a week of mostly dry weather. Okra and sunchokes, aka Jerusalem artichokes, are loving this heat. With the exception of those crops, there aren’t too many crops in the ground right now.  I am seeing lots of summer cover crops. I love the idea of using a mixed species of cover crop. One reason is, it spreads out the risk that one of the species in the mix won’t germinate or will be eaten by deer. So by using multiple species, you can almost guarantee that something will be there covering the soil. Multi-species mixes also provide different benefits to the farm. Cowpeas may fix nitrogen while sorghum X Sudan hybrids may be a deer deterrent and shade out weeds.”

A beautiful mixed-species stand of cowpeas and sorghum X Sudan hybrid (sudex). Photo form Zack Snipes.
Buckweat is one of my personal favorites because of its ability to attract beneficial insects and mine potassium from the soil. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “Not much has changed here in the midlands over the last week. Its been warm and humid and we got a little rain a couple times throughout the week. Recently planted fall brassica and cucurbit crops have gotten off to a good start. We are seeing some caterpillar activity already. We are seeing increased amounts of scab in pecans this year, thanks to the rain and humid weather. I’m seeing some black pecan aphids causing damage as well. For insect and disease management in pecans, take a look at the UGA Commercial Pecan Spray Guide.”

Pecan scab is really showing up this year. If growing cultivars with poor scab resistance (Desireable, Pawnee, Kiowa, Oconee), stay on top of fungicide applications. Photo from Justin Ballew.
Black aphid damage on pecan foliage. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Phillip Carnley reports, “It’s that time of year to be on the look out for Southern stem blight (Athelia rolfsii) in hemp. To avoid possible infections of this pathogen, avoid planting in fields that have previously had tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, or peanuts. Crop rotation is your best avenue for mitigation as there are no fungicides labeled for control of Southern blight in hemp at this time. Also be on the lookout for plant stunting from girdling roots. For information on chemicals labeled for hemp checkout the EPA website.”

Southern blight mycelium (white fuzzy looking growth) and sclerotia (small, tan bb-shaped structures) developing around the base of a hemp plant. Photo from Phillip Carnley.
This hemp plant has wilted due to Southern blight cutting off its ability to transport water from the roots to the shoots. Photo from Phillip Carnley.

Upstate

Kerrie Roach reports, “Late summer season crops are still producing in the upstate, but many market producers are starting to lose the disease battle. When something is finished for the season, make sure to remove all parts of the crop. Do not leave diseased plant material in the field. Dispose of the diseased crop in an area far away from your fields or garden. Do not use diseased plant material for compost. Most home compost piles do not reach consistent and uniform temperatures at which pathogens will be killed. Dead plant material harbors insects and pathogens that can and will cause issues for fall season crops as well as next year’s crop.”

SCDA Now Accepting Hemp Growing Permits for 2021 Season

From the SCDA press release from 12/30/20:

The South Carolina Department of Agriculture (SCDA) will accept applications for hemp farming permits for the 2021 growing season from Jan. 1 through Feb. 28, 2021. The state’s Hemp Farming Program has grown from 20 farmers in 2018 to 265 farmers in 2020 – and each year, the program has changed as state and federal laws changed. When the federal government approved South Carolina’s State Hemp Plan in April 2020, the program entered a new period of regulatory stability, one that SCDA expects to continue in 2021. The agency now has six full-time staffers devoted to hemp regulation.

Requirements to receive a hemp farming permit include:

  • Proof of South Carolina residency
  • Criminal background check (A new check is required each permit year.)
  • FSA (Farm Service Agency) farm number
  • $100 nonrefundable application fee and $1,000 permit fee
  • GPS coordinates of all locations on which hemp will be grown
  • Submitting application and all required materials by the February 28, 2021 deadline
  • Attending an SCDA orientation and signing a Hemp Farming Agreement before possessing any hemp, including clones and seeds


All farmers must apply through SCDA’s online portal at agriculture.sc.gov/hemp. There are no paper or printable applications. Because it may take several weeks for farmers to obtain FSA farm numbers and background checks, applicants should review requirements and begin the process as soon as possible.

Permits are only good for the current year, so 2020 permit holders who wish to farm in 2021 must apply for a new permit. SCDA will not award a 2020 farmer a 2021 permit unless he or she has reported his or her 2020 hemp acreage to the FSA by the 2021 application deadline.

For information about the South Carolina Hemp Farming Program, visit agriculture.sc.gov/hemp or email hempstaff@scda.sc.gov. For important dates and application information, see the SCDA Hemp Newsletter attached below.

SCDA is tasked with regulating hemp farming. At present, our agency cannot provide training, information or grants for growing or processing hemp. Those with questions about hemp farming practices should contact their Clemson Cooperative Extension agent.

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.”

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Worms feeding on cucumber leaves. Photo from Zack Snipes.

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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.”

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Field being prepped for strawberries. Photo from Justin Ballew.

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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.”

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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.”

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

 

 

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).