MelCast Spray Advisory Program Has Begun for 2016

Kate Everts, Vegetable Pathologist, University of Delaware and University of Maryland;

Watermelon growth throughout Maryland and Delaware has been slow in 2016 due to cool May temperatures. However as our temperatures return to more normal levels, the crop has improved. We began our yearly dissemination of MelCast for watermelons this past week.

MelCast is a weather-based spray advisory program for watermelon developed at Purdue University. Melcast began for the 2016 watermelon production season on June 8. The program uses hours of leaf wetness and temperature during leaf wetness periods to determine when a fungicide should be applied. Weather information is used to calculate how favorable weather is to the development of gummy stem blight or anthracnose. The output of the program is an “environmental favorability unit” (EFI) for each day. The EFI values are added together. Once the threshold of 30 EFI is reached, a fungicide application is recommended. After the fungicide application, begin adding the EFI again from zero. If two weeks elapse and you have not accumulated 30 EFI, spray anyway. Also, add 2 EFI for each overhead irrigation event. We currently run MelCast for three locations in Delaware (Coverdale Crossroads, southeast of Laurel, and southwest of Laurel) and five locations in Maryland (Galestown, Hebron, Salisbury, Waldorf and Woodbine).

To use MelCast on your farm, please call Karen Adams (302-856-7303) or Sheila Oscar (410-742-8788) and give us your name and fax number or e-mail address. More details about how the program works are available at our Disease Forecasting Web page, which is at a new location this year:

Use EFI values for the location that is nearest to your farm. In addition, we post the MelCast Advisory online three times a week.