Field Update – 7/6/20

Coastal

Zack Snipes reports, “It was a warm week with some sprinkled in showers along the coast. All crops are coming in right now with heavy watermelon volume. What’s left of the tomato crop is ripening fast. As far as pests go, I have seen a good amount of bacterial leaf spot in pepper, squash bugs and cucumber beetles in squash, and spider mites on beans, tomato, and melon.”

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Squash bugs and their bronze eggs on a zucchini. Photo from Zack Snipes.

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Spider mite activity has increased with the warm weather and a missed spray or two.  Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “We got a little more rain last week and the temperatures were a little warmer than previous weeks. We’re still harvesting tomatoes, sweet corn, peppers, eggplant, peaches, squash, zucchini, beans, etc. Since the environment has been warm and wet, we’re starting to see diseases pick up. Seeing lots of powdery mildew and anthracnose on cucurbits and bacterial spot on tomatoes. Stay on your fungicide programs and rotate modes of action as much as possible. I’ve also been getting some reports of heavy spider mite activity on tomatoes.”

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We are seeing lots of bacterial spot show up in tomatoes following the recent rain. Photo from Justin Ballew

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Spider mites generally feed on the lower side of tomato leaves and cause a stippling appearance. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Sarah Scott reports, “We’ve had hot and, for the most part, somewhat dry conditions in the past week. Some areas received an inch of rain but it was very spotty. Tomatoes, peppers, squash, corn, cucumbers, and melons are all being harvested now.  Plums, peaches, and nectarines are also still being picked. The peach crop is about 10 days ahead of schedule.”

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Peaches are looking good and coming in a little early. Photo from Sarah Scott.

Pee Dee

Bruce McLean reports, “Vegetable crops are maturing nicely, even though some are exhibiting heat stress from the recent hot weather. Cucurbit Downy Mildew (on cucumbers) has been reported throughout the Pee Dee Region. Powdery Mildew is widespread on zucchini and yellow squash. Sweet corn is looking good, with good volumes being produced. Tomatoes, other than being stressed from the heat and the humidity, look pretty good and are bearing well. Sweetpotatoes are still being planted. Muscadines are beginning to size and look to be a very good crop. Blueberries are winding down, with only the latest varieties being harvested now.”

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Tomato plant showing some stress from the heat and humidity of summer. Photo from Bruce McLean.

Tony Melton reports, “Processing peppers and tomatoes are beginning to be harvested and they look good.  With all the early winds and excessive rain, it was difficult but as my daddy would say “we made a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.” Second and third crop pickles are yielding much better than the weather-beaten first crop. Processing peas will begin harvest this next week, so we badly need some dry weather but the forecast is not favorable.  Also, the amount of cowpea curculio is increasing rapidly and an intense/timely spray program is needed to prevent what most call “stings (maggots) in the peas.”  One grower got slack on his spray program and this week had to discard $6,000 worth of peas. Spray with a pyrethroid at or before the first flower, then every week until flowering is finished.  The first spray is the most important because if you wait too late, the curculios are already in the field.  Curculios are very hard to kill. When disturbed they ball-up inside their protective coat, and your spray is repelled. My program repels them and attempts to keep them out of the field. Also, rotation is very important to keep down the population of curculios surrounding your fields.”

Upstate

Kerrie Roach reports, “Upstate peaches are beginning to ripen! While exciting, we have seen some physiological issues with sizing and softening that we attribute back to a late-season cold spell. While the peaches originally appeared to pull through without damage, we are now seeing peaches that are not sizing and those that do size up, only ripen on the very outer portion. It is a waiting game to see how each variety ends the season. In the meantime, market vegetable production is in full swing and the apple crop is looking fabulous.”

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Some peaches in the upstate are not sizing up properly, probably due to the late cold spells in the spring. Photo from Kerrie Roach.

Field Update – 6/1/20

Statewide

Dr. Matt Cutulle reports, “Yellow nutsedge is one of the more problematic weeds we deal with and we are approaching peak nutsedge season with the heat and all the rain we have been getting. Post herbicide options are limited in most vegetable crops. However, if growing sweet corn you may have the option to combine a good (Basagran) Post nutsedge herbicide with an average Post nutsedge herbicide (Callisto) to provide excellent control of yellow nutsedge. Please consult your seed company regarding whether a specific variety is expected to be tolerant to post-emergent applications. The majority of sweet corn is tolerant to PRE application of Callisto.”

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Coastal

Zack Snipes reports, “We had some heavy rains in places last week, but everything seems to be drying out. It seems that every crop is coming in right now from basil to zucchini so everyone is busy out in the fields. Now is the time, when things are busy, that insects and diseases thrive. Perhaps a weekly fungicide application is skipped and a small issue turns into a disease or insect outbreak. Stay on your scouting, IPM, and spray programs as much as possible.”

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Spring collards left in the field and forgotten but are not forgotten by the insects. Destroying this crop residue now will decrease the fall insect pressure. Photo from Zack Snipes,

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “Lots more rain last week, but the weekend was nice and allowed for a lot of the excess water to dry up. It doesn’t take long in our sandy soil. Lots of water damaged strawberries along with Botrytis and either Rhizopus or Mucor rot (possibly both). Some growers have wrapped up picking and others will be wrapping up soon. We’ve had a decent picking season here in the midlands and reported sales were very good. Other crops like tomatoes, peppers, sweet corn, and beans are growing fast and looking good. Stay on top of disease programs right now.”

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Squash is growing fast and it won’t take long for this little one to be ready to harvest. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Sarah Scott reports, “Peach harvest is going strong throughout the Ridge. Warmer, wet weather has been on the increase which could give way to some emerging pest and disease issues. Brown rot is showing up in some orchards. Bacterial spot is also heavy in areas. Continue spray programs following the Southeastern Peach,  Nectarine and Plum Pest Management Guide. Summer crops and looking good with some powdery mildew showing up in squash. Increased diamondback moth caterpillars in broccoli.”

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Phytotoxicity from insecticide sprayer left running while turning the corner of the row. Photo from Sarah Scott.

Pee Dee

Bruce McLean reports, “Strawberry season has (for-the-most-part) come to an end. Heavy rains for the last two weeks was the primary reason. Excess moisture has damaged blueberries and caused a somewhat early harvest of potatoes. Many fields are too wet to make pesticide applications. Disease, insect, and weed pressure is getting rather heavy in spots. Fertility is a major concern, as well. Much of the pre-plant fertilizer applied early in the season is likely leached out/moved in the soil profile, and fields are too wet to apply fertilizer. Drier conditions are desperately needed to improve field and crop conditions.”

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Heavy blooming and fruit set on Carlos muscadines. Photo from Bruce McLean.

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Heavy persistent rains causing blueberry fruit to split. Photo from Bruce McLean.

Tony Melton reports, “I am thinking about becoming an aquaculture agent to help farmers stock all these ponds from the rain in their fields. I am recommending folks to spray phosphide products to perk-up the crops and help with all the root rot – even if it has to be done with an airplane. Thrips, stink bugs, and false cinch bugs are awful this spring. We have Pythium growing in sweet potato transplant beds and on cucumbers from the heat and rain. Everything from cucumbers to peppers are baring early because of the stress of the wind earlier in the spring. We are adding extra nitrogen to everything because of the leaching rains. Weeds are taking over the world.”

Field Update – 5/18/20

Statewide

Dr. Tony Keinath reports, “With the cooler-than-normal spring weather, two cool-season pathogens also may be active longer than normal. Downy mildew on brassicas, especially kale and collard, mainly affects the lower leaves. Sometimes it will move up onto the larger leaves in the middle of the plant. With a hand lens, you can see white mildew growth in lesions on the bottom of the leaves. In my spring 2020 trial, Presidio, potassium phosphite, and Zampro rotated with potassium phosphite worked well. Organic growers can use Badge X2 copper, which also performed well.

Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. niveum, the soilborne fungus that attacks watermelon, infects roots when soil temperatures are below 82F. At Coastal REC, I am still seeing new plants showing wilt symptoms. Remember that all control measures, and I want to stress all of them, must be applied before or at transplanting. There is nothing that can be done at this stage of crop growth. It is too late to apply fungicides, which will be a waste of money.”

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Tiny dark flecks of downy mildew on the bottom of ‘Blue Dwarf’ kale. Photo from Dr. Tony Keinath.

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Sporulation of downy mildew on the underside of ‘Tiger’ collard. Photo from Dr. Tony Keinath.

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Wilting and yellowing of lower leaves due to Fusarium wilt on watermelon 6 weeks after transplanting. Photo from Dr. Tony Keinath.

Coastal

Zack Snipes reports, “Things are coming along in the Lowcountry.  It has been very windy and I’ve had several farmers tell me that crops are using more water now because of the wind than if it were hot and humid.  Squash, zucchini, cukes, potatoes, and greens are coming off in good volume right now. Tomatoes are just a few weeks away and are in the sizing up stages right now. I have not seen any major pests or diseases as of late.  The conditions are ripe for the development of Powdery Mildew so be on the lookout when scouting watermelon, squash, brassica, and tomato.”

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Tomatoes are looking good and are just a few short weeks away. Photo from Zack Snipes.

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Powdery mildew on the shaded side of a collard leaf. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “It’s dry in the midlands. It’s been great because we haven’t seen much disease lately (especially on strawberries), but we need some rain. The forecast looks like we may get some this week. Strawberries are still yielding fairly well, though we’re starting to see fewer blooms. Fruit size is getting smaller, but taste has still been great. The first few plantings of sweet corn are tasseling now. Brassicas are still growing well, though there is some black rot out there.  Tomatoes, peppers, and cucurbits have been growing fast the last few days also.”

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The earliest plantings of sweet corn are tasseling. Photo from Justin Ballew.

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Black rot symptoms on the margins of cabbage leaves. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Sarah Scott reports, “Peach season is here! Picking several early varieties now and running packing lines. The crop looks good for this season. Bacteriosis started to show up on leaves and fruit in fields. Still picking strawberries. Summer crops like bell pepper and squash are progressing nicely.”

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Phomopsis or twig blight in a peach orchard. Lesions on twigs cause dieback, gumosis and curling at tips. Remove damaged wood and burn. Photo from Sarah Scott.

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Twig dieback from Phomopsis twig blight. Photo from Sarah Scott.

Lalo Toledo reports, “Cool temperatures have slowed down the growth of many vegetables, but most vegetable plants are looking great. Please be aware of possible diseases coming in this week. Wet and hot conditions will be conducive for pests and diseases. Please spray accordingly and scout every two days, if possible.”

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Grasshopper damage on eggplant. Photo from Lalo Toledo.

Pee Dee

Tony Melton reports, “Hail has destroyed at least 10 A squash, 200 A peaches, 30 A strawberries, 8 A blackberries, many acres of field corn, tobacco, rye, and wheat.  Damaged another 35 A strawberries, 300 A peaches.  Thank goodness that the wind has let up for a while and temperatures have risen on tomatoes, peppers, peas, beans, and sweet potatoes.  Thrips have been awful and imidacloprid is only partially controlling them. If labeled use dimethoate, acephate, etc.   More herbicide damage than usual this year because of cool temperatures and wind, even on labeled crops and drift to non-labeled crops has been awful.”

Upstate

Kerrie Roach reports, “With a week of good growing conditions, things are looking great in the Upstate for fruit & vegetable producers. In higher elevations, there were some losses of young tender plants during isolated frost events early last week. With rains expected most of this coming week, things should start to really push for our market vegetable growers. Peaches and apples are on track for a good season.

Field Update – 4/20/20

Coastal

Zack Snipes reports, “We had severe storms roll through the Lowcountry at the beginning of last week.  Fortunately, we had very little damage to most of our crops.  We had some damage to older squash and zucchini and some damage to untied tomatoes.  For the most part, we escaped with little to moderate damage and should still make some good crops. Strawberries are coming in strong but it seems like this could be our last push of the season.  I do not see many blooms coming on and our overall plant size and number of crowns per plant seem low for this time of year.

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Ants and mole crickets have become more of a problem for produce growers in the past few years. Photo from Zack Snipes.

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Burn on leaf margins caused by overapplication of boron. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “We didn’t see any damage from the storms last Monday morning other than some water damaged strawberries. We’re sure to have more damaged berries once the rain clears out today. Be sure to carry damaged and rotting berries out of the fields so they won’t become a source of inoculum for Botrytis and anthracnose. Growers selling locally are still seeing good demand for their produce. To try to keep everyone safe, some strawberry growers are opting to sell only pre-pick berries. Brassicas are growing rapidly and looking great, though diamondback moth caterpillar pressure has become pretty high. Be sure to rotate modes of action when selecting DBM insecticides. Everything else (tomatoes, peppers, sweet corn, squash) is growing well also.

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Water damaged strawberries. Photo from Justin Ballew.

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The first plantings of tomatoes are growing really well.  Photo from Justin Ballew.

Sarah Scott reports, “Peach trees continue to be thinned. This week we will likely begin to see scale crawlers present and should take action with a spray of Esteem. Bacterial canker has been noted across the state this year as seasonal conditions warranted a good year for inoculation.  Peach fruit is progressing nicely with some of the earliest varieties potentially beginning to ripe in just a few weeks.”

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Peaches that have been thinned with fruit distanced about 6 inches apart. Photo from Sarah Scott.

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Early variety peach progressing nicely in Edgefield County. Photo from Sarah Scott.

Pee Dee

Bruce McLean reports, “Planting of vegetables is wide open, right now. Cucurbits (cucumbers, squash, melons), beans and peas, sweet corn, tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers are all going in. Greens are looking good. Potatoes are coming along nicely, despite having to be planted late. Starting to see Colorado potato beetles in potatoes. Frequent scouting and timely insecticide applications are key to their control. Strawberries yields are really starting to pick up. A lot of nice-sized, sweet strawberries are available now. Blueberry fields are starting to get that tinge of blue on the earliest berries. We should start seeing some fruit being harvested in the next few days.

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Colorado potato beetle on a potato leaf. Photo from Bruce McLean.

Tony Melton reports, “It was getting dry, thank goodness for the rain.  Most of our butterbeans and peas are grown with irrigation.  Most of our first crop cucumbers are starting to hit the rapid growth stage – get out and sharpen the plows.  Greens are loving this weather.  Watch out for yellow margined beetle- you will most likely see the brown ugly small grubs – they like sandier soils.

Upstate

Kerrie Roach reports, “With beautiful skies over the last week since the outbreak of tornadoes across the state, growers have been able to get back into the fields. Last night and this morning’s heavy rains caused some minor runoff and ponding, but nothing we haven’t seen before. A few scattered nights/mornings with cold temperatures do not seem to have caused any significant damage to the peach or apple crops. The biggest news in the Upstate has been cleanup… cleanup of the Seneca area and further up near Pumpkintown. So far, there has been a very limited reported effect from the tornados on the fruit & vegetable growers. We’ve had many livestock producers with downed fences and shelter roof damages, but nothing too severe. Residential areas were the hardest hit, and the community has really shown out in its response.

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EF3 tornado damage from Seneca, SC. Photo from Kerrie Roach.

Andy Rollins reports, “This is damage seen on multiple farms is believed to have been caused by self-inflicted miticide application with a surfactant, or possibly damaged from the sun. What allowed us to learn this is that almost all of the damage is located on the top side of the fruit but when flipped over the portion of the shaded berries remained undamaged.  Please be careful with all fungicide/pesticide applications and make sure you are following all of them.  If the label doesn’t call for a surfactant to be used…..please do NOT use one.

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Damage possibly from using a surfactant with a miticide or from the sun. Photo from Andy Rollins.

Field Update – 12/16/19

Statewide

Dr. Matt Cutulle shared the photos below of a direct seeded collard weed control study. “Below is the untreated check (Left) and a plot treated with Treflan (Pre-plant incorporated) and Dual Magnum (Post-applied when collards are at least 3 inches in height). This is approximately 9 weeks after seeding. Main weed is corn spurry.”

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Treflan PPI and Dual Magnum POST (right) provided good weed control in direct seeded collards as compared to the untreated check (left). Photo from Dr. Matt Cutulle.

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “The mild temperatures and rain have helped our crops out.  The collard crop is looking great for the Christmas and New Year’s harvest with very little insect or disease damage.  Strawberries are looking good as well with excellent fall growth and color.  Strawberry plants should be about the size of a baseball cap this time of year.  Blueberry plants have turned a beautiful deep red color and are beginning to get some chill hours going into winter dormancy.  I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season spent with family and eating lots of SC GROWN products.”

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Strawberries should be about the size of a baseball cap this time of year. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “We had decent growing weather again last week. Steady rain fell all day Friday and we saw 6.5 inches at my house. Luckily, the sandy soil soaked most of it up. Growers are continuing to harvest brassicas and they look great right now (very little insect damage). We are still battling spidermites in some strawberries.”

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Collard harvest is looking great in the midlands. Photo from Justin Ballew

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Yellowing and mottling on strawberry leaves from spider mite feeding damage. Photo from Justin Ballew

Sarah Scott reports, “4-8 inches of rain fell across Aiken and Edgefield Counties last week causing standing water and some flooding.  Collards, broccoli and root crops are still being harvested.  Fields are still being cleared and prepped for peach tree plantings.”

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Flooded peach orchard following the rain Friday (12/13) Photo from Sarah Scott.

Pee Dee Region

Tony Melton reports, “Fresh Market collards are selling rapidly.  Many growers are re-growing the first cut collards of September/October to have them ready for second cut for New Years because they are running out of first cut collards.  Turnip roots are getting large and need to be sold if tops are to remain.  Turnip roots alone are a cheap commodity. The last of the processing turnips tops and mustard are being harvested this week and all that will be left is second cut collards to be harvested. Hopefully the rain helped to control spidermites on strawberries.”

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.

 

 

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.”

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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.”

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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.”

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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.”

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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.”

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Fresh muscadines ready to sell. Photo from Andy Rollins.

Field Update – 8/12/19

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “We are in the middle of muscadine and scuppernong harvest right now. Okra and mixed peppers are still pushing out despite the heat. We had a great Strawberry Production Meeting in Charleston last week. If you have any questions on strawberry production now is the time to ask before planting.”

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Muscadines and scuppernongs from Ravenel, SC. Photo from Zack Snipes.

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Great strawberry production meeting in Charleston (8/6/19). Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “We had a storm come through Saturday night that brought a little rain to some parts of the midlands, but overall we are still quite dry. More fall brassicas are going in the ground and there is already some caterpillar pressure on those that are up. Downy mildew is showing up on cucumbers and pumpkins on a more widespread scale now.  Stick to fungicide programs if you’re growing fall cucurbits.”

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Fall collards in Lexington County are already seeing diamond back moth caterpillar pressure. Photo from Justin Ballew.

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Downy mildew in fall cucumbers. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Sarah Scott reports, “We have had hot and dry conditions along the Ridge with hit and miss showers. Running irrigation heavily.  Late cherry tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and broccoli are being planted.  Leaf footed bugs on late season tomatoes causing minimal damage.  Peaches still producing through late August, possibly into early September. Field work is still being done to prepare for fall planting of new orchards.”

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September Sun peaches are nearing harvest. Photo from Sarah Scott.

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Leaf footed bugs causing minor damage to late tomatoes. Photo from Sarah Scott.

Upstate

Mark Arena reports fall webworms and tent caterpillars are showing up on pecans. “This is truly a nuisance pest and generally does not influence nut production. Proper control may be challenging since the webbing should be broken apart prior to spraying. Once the webbing is broken apart, the insecticide can make contact with the caterpillars and offer effective control. Any insecticides labeled for caterpillars will work.”

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Fall webworm in the canopy of a pecan tree. Photo from Mark Arena.

Pee Dee Region

Bruce McLean reports, “Temps have been soaring and rain has been scarce across the Pee Dee Region. Most crops are looking good though. Watermelon, cantaloupe, canary melons, cucumber, zucchini and yellow squash volumes are still up and quality is good. Okra volumes are really starting to pick up and the quality is very good. Okra is flowering heavy, so volumes should be good for the foreseeable future. Muscadines are continuing to ripen. Muscadine brix levels (sugars) are rather high for this time of the season. Harvest should be very good this year. Fresh market muscadines should be available starting this week.

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“Noble” muscadines are getting close to harvest. Photo from Bruce McClean.

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Okra is rolling along in the summer heat. Photo from Bruce McLean.

Tony Melton reports, “Fall pickling cucumbers are being planted.  Pythium is still prevalent on pickling cucumbers and may need to be controlled.  Fall peas and snap-beans are up and growing and need thrips control, but I have found thrips are in low numbers this fall and they may grow out of damage. I have found some beet armyworms on peas in some locations – scout.  Also, lesser cornstalk borers are bad on both peas and snap-beans mainly due to the dry conditions; therefore, irrigate if possible or apply Coragen or similar systemic product.  Loopers are present on sweet potatoes but doing mostly very little economic damage.  I have found some striped armyworms in certain locations which need to be controlled.  Starting to plant fall processing greens.

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 – 6/17/19

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “We received a good amount of rain last week. Some farms got just the right amount while others received 15 inches or more. I am seeing disease now that the rain has passed in all crops, especially the tomato and cucurbit crops. Keep on top of your spray programs to finish the season out. I am also seeing some cracking in heirloom, cherry, and grape tomatoes because of the rain. Stink bugs are increasing in number and tomato growers should scout their crops for them and make adjustments to insecticide programs. On Friday I visited a farm that had buckwheat strips beside the cash crop. They had, by far, the least amount of insect pressure on their cash crops as a result of providing a beneficial insect refuge.

Stink bugs nymphs on a tomato. Photo from Zack Snipes
This buckwheat strip planted in the row middle provides refuge for beneficial insects. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “The first half of the week was rainy, but by the end of the week, irrigation systems were running again in places. The temperatures have been pretty mild for mid June. Vegetables are growing fast since the rain and we’re picking sweet corn, green onions, tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers, and zucchini now. We’re continuing to scout for downy mildew as it’s been found in several places on the coast now. It’s only a matter of time before it shows up here, so stay on top of spray programs. Hemp is also going in the ground.

Squash is growing fast. Photo from Justin Ballew
Hemp transplants ready to go to the field. Photo from Justin Ballew

Sarah Scott reports, “After a long period of dry weather, the recent rains have stirred up some cases of anthracnose in peaches and plums. Orchard floor and perimeter management of leguminous hosts and wild Prunus species can help prevent spread of this disease. Refer to the Southeastern Peach, Nectarine, and Plum Pest Management and Culture Guide for chemical recommendations to use pre-harvest. Peaches harvested in the Ridge are starting to get some size on them and are looking good.

Anthracnose on a peach. Photo from Sarah Scott
Peaches harvested on the Ridge are looking good. Photo from Sarah Scott.

Pee Dee Region

Tony Melton reports, “Only 1 farmer had butter beans to harvest. They were planted on March 23 and sneaked-by those last frosts.  After these the next harvests will be in July because of the heat causing flower drop and reset during the cool week of June 10.  It is drying out quickly and we will need another rain this week to keep crops going.  Collards are really doing well since the cool spell gave them relief from the heat.  Southern peas are flowering and need to be sprayed for cowpea cucurlio.  Snapbeans took a real hit from the heat and there will be poor yields except for later planted ones the flowered during the cool spell.