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.”

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.”