Field Update – 4/6/20

At this point, only a few cities (Columbia, Charleston, and Myrtle Beach) have issued shelter-in-place orders.  The Commissioner of Agriculture, Hugh Weathers, has drafted a Notice of Essential Food and Agriculture Employee form that farms in these areas may fill out for each employee certifying them as an essential employee.  They should keep this letter with them while commuting to and from work.  Commissioner Weathers also sent this letter to the law enforcement community in regards to his notice.

Coastal

Zack Snipes reports, “A beautiful week of weather for working outside this past week.  Our spring crops look great as well as our early summer planted crops. Tomatoes look great and have really jumped.  I found some cranberry fruit worm in highbush blueberries last week that all blueberry growers will want to keep an eye out for.  Local produce sales are in great demand right now with lots of growers finding new ways to sell to new clientele.  Strawberry season is in full swing with U-pick operations having trouble keeping up with demand.  I’ve seen lots of makeshift handwashing stations at U-Pick farms, which I applaud growers for.  Had a few calls about thrips in strawberry this past week so keep an eye out for damage.  In every strawberry field that I was in this past week, I saw hot spots of spider mites.  Scout your fields, the entire field, daily and treat the hot spots before you have to treat the entire field.  It will save you money on both treatment and potential yield loss.”

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Handwashing stations at U-Picks are protecting both growers and customers. This one was set up for around $70. Photo from Zack Snipes.

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Thrips damage on strawberry will leave the berry with a bronzed look and the outside of the berry will be hard resembling a plastic coating. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “The weather was a little cooler this past week than the week before.  We also had a little rain early in the week and dew several mornings. These were perfect conditions for Botrytis and anthracnose to develop in strawberries and both showed up in a number of places.  We have a lot of blooms and green fruit out there right now, so make sure to stay on a good spray schedule and rotate MOA’s.  Spider mite pressure remains high in some places. Strawberry yields have not picked up yet and growers are easily selling everything they pick. Brassicas are growing fast in this beautiful weather. Caterpillar pressure is still up requiring widespread sprays. Keep scouting.”

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Botrytis developing on a strawberry.  Weather conditions have been perfect for Botrytis and anthracnose recently. Photo from Justin Ballew.

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Strawberry yields have not picked up yet, but we have lots of blooms and green fruit coming on. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Sarah Scott reports, “Peach trees continue to progress,  thinning of fruit is happening for some varieties now. Strawberry crop is beginning to pick up. Cooler night temperatures last week slowed ripening some. Vegetable crops continue to be planted including eggplant and peppers.”

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Broccoli plants growing well in Saluda County. Photo from Sarah Scott.

Pee Dee

Tony Melton reports, “Full speed planting processing vegetables.  Pickles, green beans, Butterbeans, peas, peppers, tomatoes are being planted.  Having trouble getting all the strawberries picked.  2nd Butterbean planting going in. 3rd sweet corn planting going in.”

Upstate

Kerrie Roach reports, “With beautiful skies and warm weather this past week, our upstate market gardeners are beginning to put things in the ground. While a little early for some, others are hedging their bets with multiple plantings over the next few weeks. Apples and peaches are continuing to progress with most apple varieties now in or near full bloom.”

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Tomato transplants for sale at a local garden supplier. Photo from Kerrie Roach.

 

Field Update – 3/30/20

At this time, due to COVID-19, all in-person Clemson Extension meetings have been postponed through June 1st.  Keep an eye on the COVID-19 Resources page for updates.

The SCDA’s list of farms offering deliveries and pick-ups has grown significantly in the last week. View or contact LauraKate McAllister to be added to the list here.

Coastal

Zack Snipes reports, “The weather has significantly warmed which has really helped our crops.  Strawberries are in peak production and growers are seeing record sales.  Other direct market growers are seeing higher sales numbers right now as well. Tomatoes are looking good with no issues.  Highbush blueberries are looking like they will have a decent crop and should be coming off soon.  I have seen some freeze damage on the earliest varieties of highbush that endured very cold temperatures.  Later season rabbiteye blueberries are in full bloom right now.”

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San Joaquin highbush blueberry with a good fruit load that should be ready soon. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “The first half of last week was very wet, the second half was very warm.  Strawberries are growing well, but harvest volumes haven’t picked up yet.  Growers are easily selling everything they pick.  Keep scouting for spider mites.  After a very easy fall and winter, caterpillar populations are starting to climb in brassica crops.  Be sure to get out and scout for those.  Sweet corn is also up and growing.

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Diamondback moth caterpillar on the underside of a broccoli leaf. Photo from Justin Ballew.

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Sweet corn up and growing.  Photo from Justin Ballew.

Sarah Scott reports, “Fruit is developing nicely on peach trees with little to no signs of cold damage at this time. Vegetable transplants are going in now including squash, bell peppers, and eggplant. Strawberry harvest has begun. Spider mite populations are slightly high right now.

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Peaches are developing well. Photo from Sarah Scott.

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Newly transplanted squash plant. Photo from Sarah Scott.

Pee Dee

Bruce McLean report, “It has just about turned into summer with temperatures (over the last few days) in the mid and upper 80s… and the crops have really responded. Muscadines have started leafing out across the region, with some early flower development occurring. Later blueberry varieties (like Tifblue, Onslow and Powderblue) are blooming heavily, while earlier varieties of blueberries have completed flowering, or getting near to completion. Strawberries are blooming and fruiting heavily, and there are some light volumes being picked now. Angular leaf spot is showing up on some strawberries. This is due to the wet conditions that we have been experienced, this year. Spider mites are still being found in strawberries. So, regular scouting is necessary.”

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A syrphid fly visiting a strawberry flower. Photo from Bruce McLean.

Tony Melton reports, “Growers are preparing land, bedding, and planting before this rain gets here. Most early sweetcorn is planted.  Sweet potato beds are sprouting – along with weeds- kill the weeds now. Fresh market tomatoes and pepper are being planted. I have seen a lot of ugly strawberries from cinch bugs, stinkbugs, thrips, boron deficiency, etc. Butterbeans are being rapidly planted. Processing tomato and pepper land has been treated with Vapam- always follow all label directions. Cabbage is beginning to cup. There is more demand than strawberry supply right now.”

Upstate

Kerrie Roach reports, “Growers are trying to stay ahead of the game with some social distance mowing. No freeze damage spotted so far on apples or peaches in the Long Creek/Mt. Rest area. Bloom is very erratic and varies from tree to tree. Picture is of Mike Ables, with Ables Orchard bush hogging and a granny smith in full bloom.”

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Mike Ables of Albes Orchard bush hogging weeds.  Photo from Kerrie Roach.

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A syrphid fly visiting a Granny Smith bloom. Photo from Kerrie Roach

Field Update – 3/23/20

COVID-19 continues to be a major concern for produce farmers and consumers. We’ve put together a new tab labeled “COVID-19 Resources” which includes a number of resources from Clemson, SC Dept. of Agriculture, SC Farm Bureau, and Carolina Farm Stewardship Association. Additions are being made regularly, so check back often.

Also, AgriSafe is offering a webinar this afternoon titled “What Ag Producers Need to Know About COVID-19.” If you are interested in participating, click here.

Coastal

Zack Snipes reports, “Amid the COVID-19 outbreak the weather has really helped out our crops here in the Lowcounty.  Strawberries are pushing out with great flavor and size after a break the past few weeks.  Tomatoes are still being planted and look great with the warm sunny weather we have had.  Winter and early spring crops are being harvested and look beautiful right now.  I have seen some brassica fields beginning to bolt with the longer days and warming weather so get them out of the fields soon. If you are having trouble selling produce consider contacting LauraKate McAllister to be put on the SC Dept of Ag “Find Local Farm Fresh Food During COVID-19” list.

Clemson Extension will be posting on social media and the Home Garden Information Center about this webpage so your farm will want to be highlighted there.  Clemson Extension is here to help everyone through this time so feel free to reach out to us.”

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Strawberries are coming along in the Lowcountry. Photo from Zack Snipes.

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Tomatoes are being planted and look good so far. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “The weather was beautiful last week and crops in the field are developing fast.  Some of our strawberry growers have begun picking. Once yields pick up a little, most are still planning to have U-pick, with some precautions. Early reports are that sales have been good despite concerns that coronavirus would hurt demand.  Spider mites have still been showing up, so keep scouting regularly.  The drier weather last week slowed disease down, but moisture is returning to the forecast this week, so don’t let up on spray programs.”

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Strawberry picking has begun in the midlands. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Pee Dee

Tony Melton reports, “Started planting Butterbeans and snap beans to beat the heat.  Also planting Squash and other cucurbits from seed.  There aren’t enough strawberries right now to meet the demand as everyone wants the first strawberries.”

Upstate

Kerrie Roach reports, “Upstate peaches are bursting with blooms and many apple varieties are starting to show silver and even green tip stages. We are excited about the season and are continuing to monitor temperatures. More rain again today.”

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Peach blooms at Bryson’s Orchard in Long Creek, SC.  Photo from Reba Butts.

Field Update – 3/16/20

COVID-19 has become a concern for fruit and vegetable growers, especially those expecting to open U-Pick operations in the coming weeks.  It is unknown at this time how the virus, quarantines, and closures will affect produce sales.  Updates will be shared on the SC Grower each week in regards to this issue.  In the meantime, please take the necessary precautions to protect yourselves, your workers, and customers.

Coastal

Dr. Matt Cutulle reports, “I received a couple samples of the aquatic weed Eurasian Watermilfoil this month from irrigation and other water-filled ditches. This invasive weed has been moving South and can block up waterways. Sonar herbicide is effective against this weed. Draining the ditches and allowing the weed to dry out can reduce the viability of this weed as well.”

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Eurasian watermilfoil foliage. Photo from Dr. Matt Cutulle.

Zack Snipes reports, “Things are warming up and drying out in the Lowcountry.  Everyone is very busy preparing land and planting.  Tomato planting will continue this week.”

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “Last week was mostly warm and sunny and there’s been lots of pine pollen in the air.  Believe it or not, we have some places that are dry and are being irrigated.  We have some ripe strawberries around that are ready to pick and I have been pleasantly surprised with the taste so far.  It won’t be long before U-Pick operations are open.  The dry weather has allowed spider mite populations to pick up and lots of folks have put out miticides.  Be sure to scout regularly and stay on top of sanitation.”

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Sandy soils in the midlands have dried out and these young collards have started to wilt.  Photo from Justin Ballew.

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Strawberry harvest will begin soon in the midlands.  Photo from Justin Ballew.

Sarah Scott reports, “Most peach trees in the middle part of the state are well into bloom if not beyond. A break in the rain has given growers a chance to get into the field and spray for blossom blight as well as begin herbicide sprays in some orchards. There appears to be very little damage from previous cold nighttime temperatures but we will still have to wait to get the full scope until fruit development begins. Vegetable plastic has gone in later than usual due to muddy, wet field conditions. Spring brassicas are being planted and potatoes are still going in as well.

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Peach trees near full bloom.  Photo from Sarah Scott.

Pee Dee

Tony Melton reports, “Hurrying to get greens planted before the rain.  Most sweet potato beds are in.  Picking strawberries, but botrytis is bad because of all the rain and cloudy weather.  Some are looking to start planting butterbeans soon to get ahead of the summer heat.  Soil temperatures are good but, we never know about late frosts.  It looks like we have some thinning of flowers/fruit on peaches with the cold temperatures, however, right now we still have a good crop.”

Upstate

Kerrie Roach reports, “We are starting to see some beautiful peach blooms here in the Upstate. The ‘Belle of Georgia’ blooms are at about 80% in Long Creek as of Thursday. Lots of honeybees were out doing their work.”

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Honeybee foraging peach blooms. Photo from Kerrie Roach.

Field Update – 2/17/20

Statewide

Dr. Matt Cutulle reports, “Love is in the air, and your crabgrass (Digitaria spp.) PRE herbicides should be on the ground if you are in the Low Country.  When soil temperatures reach 55 F for 2 to 3 days, which will usually occur before March 1st in the Low Country, March 15th in the Midlands and March 30th for the upstate crabgrass germination is possible and can continue throughout the spring and summer. No matter how well crabgrass has been controlled in previous years, there is still a tremendous seed bank in the soil and open spots in crop canopy will allow this fast-growing summer annual to invade. Crabgrass’ rapid emergence and extremely fast growth rate make it a problematic weed in early spring to summer.  One study by NC State showed that for every week large crabgrass emergence was delayed an increase in 373 watermelon fruit was observed. This relatively small grassy weed can cause a big problem in early season cucurbit crop plantings.”

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Crabgrass seedlings. Photo from Virginia Tech

 

Coastal

Zack Snipes reports, “A wet week is coming to the Lowcountry.  Most farms are discing up land and pressing beds in preparation for the season.  I saw some potatoes going in last week on a farm or two.  If you have strawberries and have started spraying, then keep spraying.  Protectant fungicides applied before a weather event are the best measure at preventing disease.  The weather coming is perfect for gray mold and Anthracnose to develop.  If you have a smartphone download the MYIPM app (make sure to use WiFi) to key you in on diseases and preventative measures for small fruits.

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Land being prepped for spring vegetables. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “More rain on the horizon.  Lots of collards are bolting and fall brassicas, in general, are wrapping up.  Some spring brassicas have already been planted.  Black rot is showing up in some fields following the storms and warm weather, so if, you’re done with a field, get rid of it!  It never got cold enough Friday to kill strawberry blooms, but lots of growers had their row covers on just in case.  Growers are protecting blooms from now on. This will have us picking around mid-March.  Make sure to sanitize the fields as soon as it stops raining and it’s safe to pull off the row covers and start your fungicide programs and fertigation now.

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Black rot showing up in collards after the recent storms.  Photo from Justin Ballew.

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Workers busy putting row covers on strawberries.  Photo from Justin Ballew.

Pee Dee

Bruce McClean reports, “We have been on a bit of a roller coaster for the last couple of weeks… warm temps separated by brief periods of cool, windy conditions. The cool weather has not been that severe or persistent, and the warmer weather has been much more dominant. This has caused crops like blueberries and strawberries to really start to push. Heavy flowering in both crops is very evident now. With strawberries, we’re not too worried about losing early blooms… the plant will make more. But with blueberries, persistent early warm temps can ruin the upcoming season’s crop quickly. Some growers have asked about frost protecting this early. The challenge is “do you have enough water to protect until all risk of frost is gone”… likely not. The only thing worse than losing a crop because you didn’t frost protect is frost protecting all winter only to run out of water on the last night of freezing temps. Try to assess how much water supply you have and try to make decisions based on that. If you need help, please reach out to Clemson Extension for assistance.

Some chores to be doing now – finish up pruning your vineyards and orchards over the next week, or so. Look closely for dead wood in your vineyard, especially on the cordons. Now is the best time to identify it and remove it. Also, if you are planning to do some hardwood propagation on blueberries, now is the time to select one-year-old canes for cuttings. Be sure to keep them bagged (with moist peat moss or pine bark) and refrigerated until you are ready to sprig in the spring.

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Unhealthy muscadine condon that needs to be pruned out. Photo from Bruce McLean

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Hardwood blueberry cutting. Photo from Bruce McLean.

Tony Melton reports, “Farmers wish the rain would stop so they can get greens planted.  One way to keep plants from growing too tall in the greenhouse is blowing with a leaf blower every day it will harden them off and cause them to be shorter.  Time to bed sweet potatoes for slips if not to wet.  If you’ve started to save/protect strawberries, blueberries, peaches, etc. (some already in full bloom) get ready for Friday night.

Field Update – 2/3/20

Coastal

Zack Snipes reports, “Thanks to everyone that made it out to the Preplant Meeting in Charleston last week.  We had standing room only for the program.  We received a good number of questions on the single-use plastic ban in Charleston County.  I have attached a picture that should explain most things.  To recap: strawberry buckets, plastic clamshell containers, and plastic green produce bags are allowed.  The “thank you” bags or carry out bags you receive at most, if not all, retail stores are no longer allowed in Charleston County.  Some folks have ordered cloth reusable bags with their farm logo on them and are selling them.  Dillion Way with AgSouth in Summerville has boxes of cloth reusable bags that he can make available to farmers during this transition period.”

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Info on Charleston’s new single-use plastic ban. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “We had more rain late last week and the weather has warmed up a bit since.  Growers are picking what’s left of the mustard and turnip greens after the cold.  Any that weren’t covered are gone.  Strawberries look good considering they are still a little behind where we are used to seeing them at this time of year.  The spider mites have slowed down for now, probably thanks to all the rain.  Not as many blooms were killed by the cold in some fields as we expected, but there is plenty of damage out there.  Just be sure to remove any dead buds and fruit when plant growth takes off in the spring.  Winter weeds are likely to take off this week while it’s a little warmer, so if you have labor available, it would be a good idea to pull as many weeds as you can from the plant holes.”

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Young strawberry fruit cut in half so show the cold damaged tissue (browning). Photo from Justin Ballew.

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Winter weeds in the plant holes will see good growing conditions this week.  Photo from Justin Ballew.

Sarah Scott reports, “Peach trees are being planted and cover crops are being seeded in the row middles. Pruning continues on established peach trees. Copper sprays before the next rain event could lessen the spread of inoculum from disease present in the orchard.”

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Peach trees being planted on berms in Edgefield County. Photo from Sarah Scott.

Pee Dee

Tony Melton reports, “Second cut processing collard and third cut turnip harvest is finishing up.  Land prep is in full swing for spring greens where land is dry enough.  Cold temperatures have set strawberries back to ground-zero in flowering and fruiting which may keep down misshapen fruit at first harvest.”

Upstate

Mark Arena reports, “Recent unseasonably warm and wet days catch Christmas tree growers off guard as needle blight diseases infect trees. The two most common are Needle Blight and Needle Cast. Watching the weather conditions, scouting the trees weekly, and applying appropriate fungicides is the best practice for control.”

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Damage caused by needle blight. Photo from Mark Arena.

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Needle blight damage. Photo from Mark Arena.

 

Field Update – 12/9/19

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “The weather was a little cooler this week. Winter brassicas are still growing well, though probably a little slower now. Insect and disease pressure remains low. Strawberries are looking good overall. There are some spidermites in places and deer damage has been significant on some farms.

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Cabbage heads developing.  Photo from Justin Ballew

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Deer tracks on plastic in a strawberry field. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Pee Dee Region

Tony Melton reports, “Strawberries are loving this weather.  Found a few spidermites.  Good many onions being planted in plastic mulch.”

Field Update – 10/21/19

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “A few rain showers and some cooler temperatures have really helped out our fall crops.  Collards, kale, and broccoli have really perked up this week and some early stuff could possibly be cut this week. Our worm pressure has not been terrible this year but that does not mean you can take a week off of scouting.  Strawberries have gone in throughout the Lowcountry and are looking great after some cooler temperatures and rain. If you have not put up your deer fencing for strawberries, get it out ASAP.  Each plant can be worth around $3, so one night of feeding can really cut into your bottom line.”

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Brassicas have really perked up in the lowcountry. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “We got some much needed rain this past week thanks in part to Tropical Storm Nestor. This has our fall brassicas growing fast and looking great. We’re still seeing some whiteflies in brassicas, but the caterpillar numbers are a little lower for the time being.  Lots of strawberries were planted last week and they are developing well so far. The rain and cooler weather has really been helpful in getting them established. Strawberry planting will finish up this week for the folks planting larger acreages.”

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Collards are looking great after the rain and cooler weather.  Photo from Justin Ballew.

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Strawberry transplants that were set last week are already pushing out new leaves. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Sarah Scott reports, “Cooler temperatures and much needed rain are giving a boost to fall crops including collards, cabbage and broccoli. Bell peppers, tomatoes, squash, broccoli, sweet potatoes are still being harvested as well as hemp. Strawberry plants have been going in over the past couple of weeks.

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Strawberry transplants set a few days ago. Photo from Sarah Scott.

Pee Dee Region

Bruce McLean reports, “The recent rain from the remnants of Tropical Storm Nestor helped to improve dry soil conditions in the Pee Dee. This beneficial moisture should help the remaining cucurbit crops (yellow squash, zucchini, and cucumbers) and the okra crop through the final few weeks of the season. Planting of brassicas (collards, cabbage, kale, broccoli, etc.) and spinach are finished. Strawberry planting should be finished in the next week. Worm damage on brassicas has been light, but aphids have been plentiful in isolated locations. Be sure to scout your fall crops regularly.”

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Okra crop is really starting to slow down, but quality is still good. Photo from Bruce McLean.

Tony Melton reports, “Still in the middle of harvesting processing sweet potatoes – not enough rain to size them up earlier, now having to wait for soil to dry and more rain is coming.  Bacterial disease on turnips bad this year (maybe because of the heat), losing about 1/3 of yield because we’re having to harvest early.  Also, reduced stand on greens from the beginning because of the excessive heat at planting.  Also, bacterial soft rot is bad in the heat where irrigation and harvest equipment has spread through the fields.  A lot of moths (Hawaiian webworm) flying in fields. We’re spraying once, which is more than usual (with Coragen and similar products) to keep larvae out of greens.  Last of the pickling cucumbers are being harvested this week.”

Upstate

 Mark Arena reports early harvest of pecans may begin soon. “Here are some tips for pecan management for the month of October. Prepare for harvest by mowing the orchard floor and keep it free of limbs and other debris. Maintain adequate soil moisture. Treat all “mouse ear” nickel deficiency noticed. Lime, zinc, phosphorus and magnesium can be applied if deficient. Scout and treat aphids, mites and pecan weevils as necessary. Apply preventative fungicides as scheduled and be aware of pre-harvest intervals for all chemicals applied.”

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Field Update – 10/14/19

Statewide

Dr. Tony Keinath reports, “A new technical bulletin published online by Clemson University’s Land-Grant Press will help watermelon growers choose tactics to manage Fusarium  wilt. Options include partially resistant varieties, delaying transplanting until soil has warmed, grafting, applying fungicides at transplanting, and winter cover cropping with vetch.  See: Keinath AP. Integrated Management for Fusarium Wilt of Watermelon. Land-Grant Press by Clemson Extension. 2019; LGP 1022.

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “Strawberries are going in or will be going in very shortly here in the Lowcountry.  I want to remind everyone how important it is that deer fencing is put up.  Ideally the fencing should be put up BEFORE the strawberries go in the ground.  I see hundreds of plants each year destroyed by deer.  Assuming the value of that plant is around $3 (1.5 lbs berries per plant and $2 lb), it doesn’t take losing a lot of plants to really feel the financial loss. Please read an article I wrote about setting up and maintaining an inexpensive deer fence here.

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Deer feeding damage can cause significant yield loses to strawberries.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “The weather felt more like fall this past week, but still no significant rain.  The very first strawberries have been planted in the midlands with a lot more planting expected this week.  The first plants were set just before the weather cooled down and the heat really took a toll on them.  95 degrees just isn’t good for strawberry transplants.  The current weather should be much more favorable for planting.  Be sure to set plants at the proper depth and overhead water transplants adequately.  Take a look at this Strawberry Growers Checklist for some good tips for fall strawberry management.”

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The 95 degree heat really took a toll on these strawberry plugs.  Photo from Justin Ballew

Field Update – 10/7/19

Statewide

Dr. Tony Keinath reports, “Growers who have “slacked off” on fungicide applications during the dry spell should resume biweekly or weekly fungicide sprays in areas that are or have received rain. For most fungal diseases, the amount of rain determines how severe the disease becomes. The more rain, the more fungicide sprays are needed. Note that many fungicide labels now state that the product may only be applied once every 7 days; 5-day spray schedules are going away.

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “Another hot and dry week in the Lowcountry. Non irrigated crops are really starting to suffer.  Many farms are waiting on rain to plant fall crops.  We are beginning to prepare for strawberry season but dry conditions are making it hard to lay plastic. Festivals, corn mazes, pumpkins, and haunted trails are in full gear in the Lowcountry.”

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Sunflowers can add extra income to the farm during the summer and fall seasons. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “Last week was hot, but temperatures finally dropped over the weekend. It finally feels like fall.  Dry weather remains, though.  A few areas got some light showers, but it didn’t amount to much.  Growers have laid their plastic for strawberries and planting is approaching quickly.  Caterpillars are still very active in brassica crops and we are seeing some whiteflies as well.  Keep scouting and stay on top of the insects.”

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Plastic laid for strawberries. Planting will start soon. Photo from Justin Ballew.

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Whiteflies are showing up on brassica crops in the midlands. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Sarah Scott reports, “We have had spotty rain throughout the Ridge but conditions are still very dry. Cooler night temperatures are bringing some relief. Field preparation for new peach tree plantings are underway including soil fumigation.  With the recent discovery of the root knot nematode, Meloidogyne floridensis, in fields in Edgefield County, growers can request a PCR test if nematode samples test positive for root knot nematodes.

Lalo Toledo reports, “Phytophthora blight on bell peppers has been found in Clarendon and Orangeburg County. Phytophthora blight on peppers is extremely damaging and can result in total loss of the crop prior to the first harvest. Proper fungicide applications and resistant cultivars can be used to suppress this disease. Sweet potatoes are being harvested, as well as eggplants. White-fly populations have been found in broccoli and mustard.

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Phytophthora blight on pepper. Photo from Lalo Toledo.