Weather reports are bad news for fungi
Dr Powell Smith: In 2010, we started a joint project with North Carolina State and the University of Florida looking at the influence of weather on strawberry disease. Through this grant, we put a weather station on the farm of Mike Keisler here in Lexington County. We are able to get up-to-date weather off the farm twenty-four hours a day. We have a computer program the we use with this weather data to determine when the fungi that cause decay in strawberries are actively growing and sporulating so we can help the grower to more appropriately time their sprays and be able to show them when they do not need to spray. This past year was the first that we had a complete year with strawberries and our test plots were only sprayed three times, whereas the grower sprayed fourteen times. When we looked at the yield and the incidence of decay in the plots, they were the same whether they were sprayed three times or fourteen times.
Mike Keisler: This past year we had a weather station that was added to the farm that helped in determining disease outbreak and when we would need to spray as far as reducing sprays. Clemson has been instrumental in helping us be more environmentally-friendly and reduce costs at the same time.