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.