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.

Field Update – 9/16/19

Coastal

Dr. Tony Keinath reports, “Watermelons with symptoms resembling cucurbit leaf crumple virus (CuLCrV) were found at the Coastal REC after Hurricane Dorian. Whiteflies were present before the hurricane, so they did not arrive with the hurricane. Laboratory confirmation is in progress. Preventative applications of insecticides to manage whiteflies is the best management option. CuLCrV also affects squash, pumpkin, and cantaloupe.

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Small watermelon leaves caused by CuLCrV. Photo from Dr. Tony Keinath.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “It was hot and dry early in the week, but we got some rain Thursday and Friday and temperatures are a little cooler now. Irrigation was running a lot in the first part of the week and some crops wilted in between waterings.  Keep an eye out for diseases now that moisture and humidity has returned. Diamonback moth caterpillar numbers seem up be picking up in places as well.”

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Collards wilting in between waterings. Photo from Justin Ballew

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

Sara Scott reports, “It’s been hot and dry along the Ridge with no significant rainfall this past week. Fall fertilizer applications are going out in the peach orchards.”

Pee Dee Region

Bruce McLean reports, “Here we are in mid-September waiting for cooler temps, but having to endure some persisting summer heat. Luckily, the forecast is for some cooler weather about mid week. Muscadine harvest is coming to a close. Carlos and Noble grapes had good yields, this year. Doreen muscadines harvest should be just about to wrap up. Sweetpotato harvest is just getting geared up. Okra is still being harvested in good volumes. Cucumbers, yellow squash, and zucchini are a little light right now, but should be more plentiful in a few days. Peas and butterbeans are still available in limited supply. Fall planting of collards, cabbage, and other cole crops are being done now. Strawberry planting should be starting shortly.

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Okra still blooming and bearing heavily. Photo from Bruce McLean.

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Field of zucchini soon to be ready for harvest. Photo from Bruce McLean.

Tony Melton reports, “Processing sweet potato harvest has begun.  Pickling cucumber harvest continues.  Brassicas have been slowed in growth and lost some stand due to the excessive heat – hope it cools down.  Processing spinach was delayed by heat, but planting has now begun.

 

 

Field Update – 9/9/19

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “Hurricane Dorian caused some damage, but it could have been a lot worse.  There are some trees down and some fields are flooded.  We’re still figuring out the extent of the damage.  Be sure to take lots of pictures for insurance.  Remember, all produce that was flooded cannot legally be sold and should be destroyed.  I’ll send out damage paperwork to growers in the low country soon.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “Areas west of Columbia got just a little bit of wind and almost no rain from Hurricane Dorian.  We’re still picking muscadines and summer planted squash, eggplant, cucumbers, and tomatoes.  The cooler temperatures and recent rain has greatly increased disease pressure.  We’re seeing lots of bacterial spot and speck in tomatoes, black rot and ripe rot in muscadines, and various leaf spots in hemp.  Stick to your disease programs.  Fall brassica planting continues as does strawberry land prep.

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Leaf spots on hemp foliage.  Photo from Justin Ballew.

 

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A field of kale for fall harvest growing well in the midlands.  Photo from Justin Ballew

Pee Dee Region

Tony Melton reports, “Too wet to harvest sweet potatoes or pickling cucumbers.  Water is standing in some fields.  The closer the beach, the worse it is.  It’s time to plant spinach.  Much of the collards, turnips, kale, and mustard were planted and up before rain started.  If not up before the rain, seed could be washed away.  Many waited until after the rain to finish planting.

Upstate

Kerrie Roach reports, “Apples are in full swing. Growers are picking ‘Gala’, ‘Golden Delicious’, ‘Early Fuji’, ‘Mutsu’, and ‘Granny Smith’ varieties. Croploads look better than expected thus far, and seem to be about 2 weeks ahead of typical ripening due to the heat and drought. Muscadines are starting to come in to the markets along with the last bit of summer crops. Many of the smaller farmers markets are slim with produce right now because of the transition to fall crops.”

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Apples are in full swing in the upstate. Photo from Kerrie Roach.

Andy Rollins reports finding some severe cases of anthracnose in late peppers. “The bright orange colored powdery substance are 1000’s of spores of the fungus Colletotrichum.  Leaf symptoms are not evident, just the obvious fruit lesions.   Hot rainy weather has persisted in the mountains and lack of good airflow caused this to be a major problem for some growers.  Even under the best spray program these problems can still exist if conditions for the disease are favorable enough.  Although some variety differences have been noted none are highly resistant to this problem.  A good spray program and good sanitation in keeping fruit picked is essential for the best control possible.

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Anthracnose lesions on pepper.  Photo from Andy Rollins.

 

Field Update – 9/2/19

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “Fall peppers and eggplant are looking nice this week due to cooler temperatures.  We received lots of brassica transplants this week including broccoli, kale, collards and rutabagas from plant nurseries.  Planting on these crops has begun and will continue for the next couple months.  Overall, these transplants look weak and have some disease in them.  Some of our fall watermelons, cantaloupe, and hard squash are starting to come in strong.”

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Black rot already showing up on transplants. Photo from Zack Snipes.

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Butternut squash almost ready to pick. Photo from Zack Snipes.

 

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “This past week felt a little like fall.  We had some scattered showers and the temperatures cooled down a bit, especially in the mornings.  Hemp is blooming well and we are seeing some caterpillars feeding on the buds in some areas.  Fall brassicas are still being planted and the young plants are looking good so far. Beans, squash, zucchini, muscadines, eggplant, and tomatoes are being harvested.”

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Corn earworm feeding on hemp buds. Photo from Justin Ballew.

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Great crop of muscadines in the midlands this year. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Sarah Scott reports, “Peaches are wrapping up throughout the Ridge. Late summer plantings of squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and cole crops have been planted and are starting to take off. Plastic is going down in many fields for fall plantings of strawberries. We’ve had slightly cooler temperatures and varying amounts of rain throughout the week.”

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Broccoli transplants taking off.  Photo from Sara Scott.

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Late season tomatoes with a good bloom load. Photo from Sarah Scott.

Pee Dee Region

Bruce McLean reports, “On most years, the beginning of muscadine harvest occurs right around the Labor Day weekend. This year was no different. A few weeks ago, there were some concerns that a few vineyards may have been experiencing early ripening due to this summer’s heat. Luckily, the heat broke a bit, and the grapes were able to hold on for a timely harvest. So, harvest of juice/wine grapes began earlier this week. Carlos and Noble varieties’ volume looks very good. Doreen is still a little ways out, and needs a few more days of ripening. Harvest will likely be pretty steady for the next couple of weeks. Fresh market muscadines are still coming off in good volumes. Strawberry growers are busy putting down plastic and getting beds ready for planting. Strawberry planting is just a few weeks away. Other produce available in good volumes are: late peas and butterbeans, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, and canary melons. The start of sweetpotato harvest is not too far away.

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Harvesting muscadines mechanically in the Pee Dee. Photo from Bruce McLean.

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Muscadine harvester emptying a load.  Photo from Bruce McLean

Tony Melton reports, “Fall butterbeans, snapbeans, and peas are flowering and starting to set pods.  Land prep (laying plastic) for strawberries has started.  Fall pickling cucumbers are setting fruit and some will be harvested this week.  Sweet potato harvest has begun.”

Field Update – 8/19/19

Coastal Region

Dr. Tony Keinath reports, “Phomopsis blight is showing up on eggplant at the Coastal REC. On susceptible cultivars, like ‘Black Beauty,’ the disease starts as leaf spots; later in the season stem cankers and fruit rot appear. Although several fungicides are registered on eggplant, none are specifically labeled for Phomopsis blight. Aprovia Top and Priaxor might give some control; more testing is needed before a definite recommendation can be made.”

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Phomopsis blight on eggplant foliage. Photo from Dr. Tony Keinath.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “Last week we had some scattered rains, but some areas remain bone dry.  Irrigation is running a lot in those areas.  Muscadine harvest has started and so far, this is the largest yield we’ve seen in recent years.  Squash, zucchini, eggplant, cucumbers, and tomatoes are also being harvested. Quality looks good, but volume is down a bit in some areas.  More fall brassicas are being planted and strawberry growers are just starting the process of prepping their fields.”

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Great crop of muscadines in the midlands this year. Photo from Justin Ballew.

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Good looking eggplant harvested in the midlands. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Pee Dee Region

Bruce McLean reports, “Much of the upper Pee Dee Region received beneficial rains late last week. This helped to drop temps back to about normal, following the excessive heat from a few days earlier. On most crops, the rain really helped to push production again. Late season cucumbers, squash, zucchini, and okra are looking good. Canary melons are looking excellent. Volumes on these crops are good. Last week’s heat did take a toll on watermelons, though. Volumes are significantly down from the prior week and are likely winding down for the season. Muscadines are a bit varied across the region. In some locations, ‘Carlos’ and ‘Noble’ (wine and juice varieties) are getting very close to harvest, while other vineyards are ripening a bit slower. Harvest on the most mature wine and juice muscadines could begin as soon as next week.

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Fall cucumbers were showing some downy mildew earlier on. Fungicide applications seem to have held down further development. Photo from Bruce McLean.

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Canary melons are looking excellent. Photo from Bruce McLean.

Tony Melton reports, “Heavy rain in certain area but none in others.  Some fresh market sweet potatoes are ready for harvest.  Processing sweet potato harvest will begin end of August.  Pickling cucumbers for machine harvest are still being planted most growers are favoring the parthenocarpic varieties.  Brassica planting has begun – seeds and transplants.  Fall bearing blackberries are yielding well.”

Upstate

Mark Arena reports seeing pecan scab. “Pecan Scab fungus is a weather dependant disease. There are varieties/cultivars that exhibit tolerance to this disease as shown below in the photos. Observed in Picture #1, we see both the nuts and foliage are showing signs of infection (the brown lessions). Picture #2 shows no sign of disease on either the nuts and/or foliage at the present time. Pecan scab can go undetected for days before the lessions appear, therefore, it is imperaitive to use a preventitive fungicide program to insure nut production.

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Nuts and leaves infected by pecan scab. Photo from Mark Arena.

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Nuts and leaves appear free of pecan scab. Photo from Mark Arena.

 

Field Update – 7/8/19

Don’t forget to check out the “Upcoming Events” tab for events around the state. 

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.”

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.

Field Update – 6/10/19

Statewide

Dr. Tony Keinath reported downy mildew being found on cucumbers in Bamberg County this past week. He cautioned all cucumber, cantaloupe, and watermelon growers to begin preventative sprays, if they are not already doing so. Refer back to this post for more info.

Downy mildew on cucumber leaves.

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “We finally got some much needed rain in the Lowcountry. I expect to see some disease to show up this week. Growers should be scouting all crops and spraying when needed. Downy mildew was found on cucurbits this week so be aware that you may see it in your fields as well. We had a great field day this week at the Coastal Research and Education Center.”

Clemson Plant Pathologist Tony Keinath discussing watermelon diseases at the Coastal REC Field Day. 6/5/19. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “We had thunderstorms come through late in the week and it’s rained every day since. We needed it badly. Sweet corn and tomato picking has begun and they are looking good. We’re seeing a few stink bugs in sweet corn, but nothing severe. Powdery mildew is showing up on some cucurbits now that moisture has returned. Downy mildew could show up at any time here, so keep an eye out for that and stay on a good preventative spray schedule.

Sweetcorn ready for harvest. Photo from Justin Ballew
These tomatoes will be harvested soon. Photo from Justin Ballew

Sarah Scott reports, “Rain fall amounts range from 1 inch to over 5 throughout Aiken,Saluda and Edgefield Counties which will give irrigation systems a much needed break. Flea beetles are showing up on peppers.”

– Adult flea beetle and damage to pepper plant. Photos from Sarah Scott

Pee Dee Region

Tony Melton reports, “Pythium has been awful with all the heat.  Bad on snapbeans, cucumbers, etc.  Southern stem blight has been awful on tomatoes and peppers with the heat.  Black rot has taken over some kale, cabbage, collard fields.  Sensation strawberry has had very poor yields this spring but is still bearing in the heat.  Pickleworm is hear and is worse in yellow squash, then cucumbers, and then zucchini.  The heat caused the flowers to fall on the early planted butterbeans causing all the early plantings to come together with the later planting then with the rain and cooler temperatures all plantings are setting now.  It appears we may have butterbeans but all plantings will come in at the same time causing problems with marketing.”