By Clint Thompson
The weather forecast for the foreseeable future is a sight for sore eyes for South Georgia vegetable and specialty crop producers. The summer was filled with persistent rains that caused saturated field conditions. Sunshine with minimal rain is in the forecast.
That is welcomed news for producers who have already started planting their fall crops, says Ty Torrance, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Vegetable Agent for Colquitt, Tift and Worth counties.
“The drier weather is extremely helpful for those needing to get into the field to transplant and to spray fungicides, insecticides on those that may have already set plants,” Torrance said.
According to the UGA Weather Network, Moultrie, Georgia received 32.81 inches of rain from June 1 to Aug. 31, compared to 16.76 inches in 2020 and just 11.72 inches in 2019. Tifton, Georgia was equally as wet, doubling its summer output of 11.49 inches in 2020 to 22.06 inches in 2021.
“It was a challenge trying to get back in the field, and also disease pressure was ramped up,” Torrance said. “The main problem was how frequently we were getting rain showers. Everything just seemed to stay wet.”
Gummy stem blight and downy mildew are two of the diseases growers need to be wary of as they continue their spray programs this fall.
“(Disease) already got established early. So it’s tough, even with the best products and best spray programs, it’s tough to stay on top of it and keep it down when it got such an early start. It’s still problematic,” Torrance said.
Georgia producers are also dealing with whiteflies, as numbers are starting to build. Broad mites are also becoming a concern in pepper.