By Clint Thompson
Specialty crop producers prefer dry conditions so they can be the ones applying water and not worry about disease pressure. They are not getting their wish with their fall crops, however.
Increased rainfall across southern Georgia in recent weeks has led to intense disease pressure on fall vegetable crops.
Ty Torrance, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension vegetable agent for Colquitt, Tift and Worth counties, discusses the impact that recent rains are having on fall crops like tomatoes, peppers and squash.
“It puts more disease pressure on young plants when it rains every day, especially when we talk about different bacterial (diseases), leaf spots,” Torrance said. “It was a relatively rough greenhouse growing season because it was overcast, cloudy weather. Those are not good greenhouse growing conditions.
“Just beyond disease spread, it impacts the young plants that are set out. You see a lot of up and down going down the row of raised beds with varied moisture levels.”
Producers are encouraged to stay up to date with their fungicide sprays. But that could be a challenge, as growers could struggle to get in fields that have been saturated with persistent rainfall. That is another effect of constant afternoon/early evening rainfall.
“It’s delaying spray applications. Growers may be making a mess trying to get tractors and sprayers into the field. It’s going to be something that they deal with season long at this point,” Torrance said.