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Researching the downturn in vegetable yields due to higher temperatures

Making It Grow Radio Minute
SC Public Radio

Recently, At Clemson’s Pee Dee Research and Education Center, President Jim Clements served as host for an event to mark a generous gift for research there. McCall Farms in Effingham, which has been operated by several generations of the Swink Family, is one of the largest cannery operations in the world. Many acres of sweet potatoes, tomatoes, collards and beans are grown by South Carolina farmers just for that major canning facility. But in recent years, changes in climate have resulted in high night-time temperatures and dramatically reduced the fruit set of many of our important vegetable crops. When it is seventy-five degrees or higher at night, many crops will not pollinate – there maybe vigorous, well-tended plants in the field that are covered with flowers, but the pollination process is impeded by those high thermometer readings.

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Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.