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.

 

SC Farmers Can Help Report Drought Conditions

No one keeps a closer eye on the weather and understands the impacts of drought more than farmers.  Therefore, the US Drought Monitor is seeking help from farmers in reporting drought conditions.  See the handout below and access the mobile friendly survey sight here. View the PDF with working links here: USDM DroughtImpactReporter SC flyer

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Field Update – 7/29/19

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “We are harvesting the last remaining things in the fields, preparing fields for fall planting, and planting fall pepper and tomato.  I found an interesting disease in watermelon this week that is known as bacterial rind necrosis.  While it is not entirely known what factors and pathogens cause the disease, it is thought that environmental conditions could increase the presence of this disease.  If you have seen this disease, take precaution by rotating fields, staying away from varieties known to have had symptoms in the past, and stay on top of irrigation and nutrient management.  I have also seen some spongy squash this week.  The combination of heat, high humidity, and poor pollination can all lead to poor quality squash.”

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Watermelon with discolored rind from rind necrosis. Photo from Zack Snipes.

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Soft squash as a result of poor environmental conditions. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “The weather cooled down a few degrees towards the end of last week and felt nice.  Fall tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant are in the ground now.  Downy mildew was found in the midlands in slicing cucumbers this past week, so folks growing fall cucurbits definitely need to maintain a good spray schedule.  Also, late last week, bacterial wilt was confirmed for the first time in hemp.  In the future, growers will need to practice good rotation between hemp, tobacco, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant.”

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Peppers planted for a fall crop. Photo from Justin Ballew.

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Industrial hemp plant wilting from bacterial wilt infection.  Photo from Justin Ballew.

Lalo Toledo reports, “Bell peppers are being planted in Orangeburg and Clarendon counties. Hemp is growing well and is expected to make a good harvest. Worm damage was found on some hemp plants in Orangeburg county. Collards are also being planted.  Mole crickets have been found tunneling in many collard fields.

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Hemp is growing well in Orangeburg. Photo from Lalo Toledo.

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Mole cricket tunneling around collard seedlings can expose young roots to the sun, causing them to dry out. Photo from Lalo Toledo.

 

Pee Dee Region

Bruce McLean reports, “Last week was a welcomed reprieve from the heat and humidity. Many crops seemed to respond positively from the temperature break, as well. Watermelon, cantaloupe volumes looked very good. Yellow squash, zucchini and cucumbers were well improved from the week before. Okra volume is on the rise, and should be coming off very well in a week or so. Peas and butterbeans, on the other hand, sustained significant damage from the heat and many plantings have dried up. The first of the week looks pretty dry with building temps. By the end of the week, some welcomed rain should be in the forecast.”

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Zucchini are doing well in the slightly lower temperatures. Photo from Bruce McLean.

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The volume of harvest of okra is rising in the Pee Dee. Photo from Bruce McLean