Clemson Extension agents provide updates in the The South Carolina Grower this week about the status of various crops being produced throughout the state.
Weekly Field Update
Dr. Matt Cutulle reports, “Burndown herbicide efficacy can be reduced in colder weather, especially systemic products such as glyphosate (Reduced translocation in the cold means herbicide does not move through the plant as much). A contact herbicide like Gamoxone is not significantly impacted by cold weather, thus it might be a good option to use on medium to small weeds. If you have to use glyphosate make sure that the formulation is loaded with a non-ionic surfactant (NIS) and then add 2.5% Ammonium Sulfate (AMS). If the glyphosate formulation is not loaded with NIS, added an NIS product (should contain at last 90% active ingredient) such as Induce at 0.25% (quarter of 1%) in the tank mix.”
Zack Snipes reports, “Now is the perfect time to gear up for the upcoming season with preventative maintenance on sprayers and tractors. Proper spray coverage is absolutely essential when spraying expensive pesticides and nutrients. Why would you buy a jug of pesticide for $800 and not have it properly applied? I was at a farm last week working on a spray trial and we took a few hours to clean out screens, filters, and orifices in the sprayer. The sprayer I was working on had 5 out of 10 nozzles completely clogged and corroded. We would only get half or less coverage since the nozzles were so clogged. Once we cleaned everything, we needed to recalibrate our sprayer since we were actually putting out product through all of the nozzles. Take the time and get things ready for the year.”
Justin Ballew reports, “Last week stayed pretty cool (high temps in the 50s), wet and cloudy. Crops aren’t growing very fast right now. We still have a few greens being harvested, but we’ve slowed down from the New Years rush. Most of the strawberries I’ve looked at are still around the 2-to-3 crown stage. We’re seeing some aphids here and there, but those are rarely anything to be concerned about. Instead, keep checking for mites. Spider mites are active when daytime temperatures are over 50 degrees, so even though it’s chilly to us, they’re active for most of the winter. Fields planted adjacent to tomatoes back in the fall need to be scouted especially well.”
Bruce McLean reports, “Be sure to get out and scout your strawberries. Starting to see a fair amount of Phomopsis in the fields. Captan will give some control, but Rally is a better option. Also, starting to see some Botrytis showing up on ripening fruit… that fruit that has been able to escape frost events and develop. Removal of infected fruit and dead leaves will help reduce pathogen when it comes time to flower and fruit. Across the northern portion of the Pee Dee the strawberry crop is pretty varied in development and appearance. Some plantings are well behind others. This is primarily due to the frequent and heavy rains since planting. Any plants that may have been set (even the least bit) low, experienced loose soil to be washed down around the crown, burying the crown too deep. With the crown being buried, the plants were either stunted or killed. Stunted plants can recover, but likely will not develop and yield properly come spring. Now is the time to begin winter pruning of blueberries, blackberries and muscadines… as well as many fruit trees. Proper winter pruning will go a long way towards improving yield, plant health, overall plant architecture and size management. Ideally, winter pruning for perennial fruiting plants should be performed between early January through early March.”
Tony Melton reports, “Wet, wet, wet. Badly need to start bedding for stale-bed-culture. Putting off bedding sweet potatoes until March. I have seen a lot of spider mites on strawberries and started to spray to get them under control. However, too wet to get tractor in fields, so many farmers are using backpack mist sprayers to get job done.”