Mack said growers are seeing a lot of the disease.
“The vines wilt, and it causes scarring and white lesions inside the melon,” he said. “It’s present in some of the fields down south. It has even made some of the melons not even marketable in some of the fields.”
The South Carolina crop hasn’t seen much disease pressure, said Bradley O’Neal, owner of Coosaw Farms, Fairfax, S.C.
“The fruit is starting to set a little earlier this season,” he said. “We have larger fruit than we normally do this time of the year.”
South Carolina production, which normally starts the first week of June, is expected to begin a week early, O’Neal, who also ships out of Florida, said.
“The biggest problem is we don’t have a big supply of melons now,” he said.
Demand is starting to increase, he said. O’Neal said he thinks South Carolina will have adequate supplies for Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.
Last year, heavy rains sacked his production area. O’Neal characterized this year’s growing season as fairly tranquil.