By Clint Thompson
Grape producers need some rain. They just don’t need a repeat of last season, said University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Fruit Disease Specialist Phil Brannen.
“As far as grape production, (last year) was very difficult,” Brannen said. “It’d be a lot nicer for us again this year, we don’t necessarily need a completely dry year because I know everybody needs rain, but if we could balance it out so that we don’t have as much rain as we did last year, it would really help our production costs.
“What I recommend for grape producers and really fruit producers in general is when it’s dry, I tell them they could spray every 10 to 14 days. But when it’s wet, they’ve got to spray every seven to 10 days. That’s a general recommendation. For me, it’s proven true across the board on fruits.”
Persistent rains highlighted specialty crop production throughout the 2021 season. If it didn’t rain, there was mostly cloudy weather with very minimal sunshine. It compelled growers to protect their crops from potential diseases.
The grape crop will soon be into budbreak, to which growers need to develop good spray programs.
“We had two spray program workshops within the last three or four weeks. We try to help them at this stage to actually develop their spray program based on the resistance we’re seeing in the fungicides and things like that. That’s something that’s relatively new for us to be doing with the growers. They seem to be very appreciative of that because it gives them some idea of what they should be spraying for the rest of the year,” Brannen said. “I’m hopeful that if they follow those programs that utilize the fungicides that are available that we could have a good year.”