The Final Keeping Quality Forecast for 2016 is VERY POOR. We calculated only 2 of the 16 total points possible - one point each for the low precipitation (average of East Wareham and Middleboro) in March and April.
This forecast suggests that fruit rot incidence at harvest and in storage could be very high unless timely and effective disease management strategies are employed. This year, it is important that you make every fungicide application count! When planning your fungicide program for 2016, consider the overall efficacy for each product and the timing for each application.
To enhance product efficacy and reduce risk of infection it is also critical to incorporate cultural management practices during and at the end of the season. This includes proper irrigation and fertilization practices, late water, trash floods after harvest, and overall canopy management (remember that fungi survive in the duff layer and they also like lush and overgrown canopies). In beds with a history of fruit rot, you should not reduce fungicide rates or the number of fungicide applications.
Please don't hesitate to contact me via email (email@example.com) or phone (ext. 18) if you have questions or if you'd like to discuss your disease management plan.
Erika Saalau Rojas, Extension Plant Pathologist