Seminole Crop E News

Agricultural News for Farmers and Agribusiness in SW Georgia

Archive for the ‘irrigation’ Category

Month old Corn

Posted by romeethredge on March 28, 2014

We now have some  field corn that has celebrated a month of age today. I took some photos of it yesterday. It is growing with some challenges due to cool temperatures causing yellowing and slower growth and sand blasting.

 Stands look pretty good so far, but we are having to deal with crusting soils in between the rains. We need to wet the crust in most cases to soften it to get all our plants up evenly. We are getting some sub surface unfurling and loss of plants due to the hard crust.

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Here’s some sandblasting that occurred with the high winds this week.

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Soil crusting has been a problem, hurting us in some cases.



A light irrigation does a lot of good for this problem.

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Diesel to Electric Conversion

Posted by romeethredge on November 22, 2013

Twenty years ago, we in south Georgia farming country were all lulled to sleep on dry summer nights by the drone of diesel engines all around, pumping water for our crops. Now it is quiet at night due to the diesels being converted to quiet electric run pumps.

Here’s an opportunity if there are some that haven’t been converted yet.


An opportunity for incentive funding to help with Diesel to Electric conversion:

“The Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA)… announced a second round of the Georgia Agricultural Irrigation Motor (AIM) Program, an incentive program designed to help Georgia farmers become more energy-efficient, save money on fuel costs, and reduce emissions… The Georgia AIM Program will provide farmers with a rebate to replace inefficient diesel irrigation engines with energy-efficient electric irrigation motors. The rebates will cover 25 percent of eligible project costs, with a $10,000 maximum rebate available.”

Go to this website for more details:

“The application period for the program opens online at on Wednesday, December 4, 2013, at 8:00 a.m. Available funding is limited and rebates will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. The application period will close Saturday, February 15, 2014, at 5:00 p.m.”

Thanks to Calvin Perry of the Striping Irrigation Park for letting me know about this.

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Watering Peanuts

Posted by romeethredge on August 16, 2013

Some areas aren’t getting rain now and our crop root systems aren’t the best since we have had such a wet summer. I see many systems running and that is good, we need to supply water where needed. It has also started to warm up and with several recent days in the mid - nineties, plants are using lots of water.

We have fields with large wet areas but some parts of the field are dry.

Here is a chart from the UGA Peanut Production Guide showing how much water peanuts use at different times in their progression.

And the irrigation schedule chart below that shows that most peanuts need about 2 inches per week now, weeks 13 through 17, this would be 90 days old up to around 120 days of age.

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Smart Irrigation Month

Posted by romeethredge on July 29, 2013



Helping Growers Maximize Water-Use Efficiency

Smart Irrigation Month is a public awareness campaign to promote efficient water use. Focused on July, Smart Irrigation Month highlights effective practices and innovative technologies to:

  • Increase crop yield, quality and profits per acre.
  • Apply water and nutrient inputs more precisely for improved results with no waste.
  • Minimize runoff and top soil erosion.
  • Help protect and preserve water supplies for today and the future.

Tip #4 – Optimize your center pivot system’s performance by determining the uniformity and efficiency of the system. Efficiency refers to the ratio of how much water the plant beneficially receives/uses to how much water the irrigation system applies (i.e. how much you pump). You want to maximize efficiency because you are paying for the water pumped, so make sure it does the most good for your plants – get the most crop from every drop!

Efficiency (%) = 100 x [water received/used by the plant / water applied]


Sprinkler types typical in GA, in decreasing efficiencies: low pressure spray-type on drop hoses, low pressure spray-type on top of mainline, high pressure impact-type on top of mainline.


Uniformity, or more specifically – application uniformity – refers to how evenly you apply water over the wetted area. Equipment selection, functionality and the design of the irrigation system can affect the application uniformity of your irrigation system. Obviously we would like every plant across the field to get the proper amount of irrigation water applied. You don’t want improperly spaced or sized sprinklers / nozzles, blown gaskets, leaking boots, or clogged or broken sprinklers to negatively impact your uniformity.

Here’s a link to a publication on measuring uniformity:

I read recently that “system design and management are keys to efficient irrigation systems. This means to get optimum performance from your irrigation system, you must properly design, maintain, and manage it. If you don’t optimize any of these variables, system efficiency will be reduced.” Let’s shoot for highly efficient and uniform delivery of irrigation water with our center pivot systems!

Calvin Perry








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Peanuts , If Pegging: Keep ‘em wet

Posted by romeethredge on July 10, 2013

We have good moisture in all peanut fields at the present time and I am seeing good pegging and podding going on. As soon as it starts to dry out we need to keep this crop going by irrigating. Dr. John Beasley, UGA Peanut Scientist reminds us about the best way to do this.

“As we enter the month of July  we have fields in Georgia ranging from a week or two after emergence to  approximately 75 days after planting. With the weather we’ve had in June,  mostly wet and warm, we’ve seen fields put on a tremendous amount of vegetative  growth following some significant thrips injury early.

Any field that has begun the  pegging process is climbing in water requirement. In fact, any field that has  more than 10 pegs per plant and the older pegs are swelling should be receiving  1.5 to 2 inches of water per week in rainfall and/or irrigation. The critical  time frame for water requirement is the 8-week period of weeks 10 – 17 after  planting, or days 70 – 120. There is only a small percentage of field in  Georgia that are at the 70-day mark as we enter July but a very high percentage  will be in that time frame at the end of the month.

We need to  make sure that each field receives 1.5 to 2.0 inches per week.”


These peanuts we were looking at near Iron City yesterday are getting off to a great start.

photo (7)


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Rain,Rain go away… for a little while

Posted by romeethredge on July 5, 2013

Fullscreen capture 752013 80805 AM

Wow, in the first 4 days of July we’ve had 4 and a half inches of rain, and June was extremely wet. The above chart shows that at the Donalsonville weather station we got 16 and a half inches in June and the first 4 days of July when the long term average is less that 6 inches! We need for the rain to go away…. for a little while. We’ll be needing it again shortly.

Good news is that groundwater levels are up 8 feet in the last week, and river levels are up, ponds are full and the power and diesel bills(for irrigation systems) will be lower this month.



Groundwater levels were low but have risen in a hurry recently.


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This graph shows a years worth of groundwater data in blue, with the gold being the long term average.

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Stream and river levels are good across Georgia.


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Notice eastern US River levels are high but out west there are still some lower levels.


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This week’s Drought Monitor report is not surprising. Look at the comparison of a year ago and now, below.

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UGA’s Pam Knox says that these wet conditions have come with high  humidity and more clouds than usual, leading to some disease impacts on peanuts  and other crops around the area.  The  outlook for July shows a continued likelihood of wet conditions to continue  through the first half of July.  In the  first week, the wettest conditions are expected to be near the coast, while the  axis of highest rainfalls will move inland and to the southwest after the 4th  of July weekend.  Saturated soils may  create localized flooding when high intensity rain from thunderstorms  occurs.  You can calculate your risk of  peanut leaf-spot disease based on observed precipitation and forecast rainfall  using the Agroclimate tool located at

With the exception of Tropical Storm Andrea early in June,  the tropics have been pretty quiet so far this year.  An active season is forecast, so this could  change quickly once the upper level wind patterns become more conducive to  tropical storm growth.  The peak of the  tropical season is early September, so we have a long way to go before the risk  from flooding rainfall due to tropical storms eases.

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Watering Peanuts

Posted by romeethredge on May 23, 2013


How much water do my peanuts need? Gary L. Hawkins, John Beasley & Calvin Perry, UGA College of Ag Scientists

 The following graph is  reproduced from the UGA Bulletin #974 “Irrigation Scheduling Methods” by Kerry  Harrison.   This curve represents the  average daily water use by peanuts over the life of the crop.

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In UGA Bulletin #974 there is an explanation and example of  how much and how often water should be supplied to the plants.  There are also two methods of calculating  water application amounts and days between applications (The Water Balance  Method will be used for an example in this article).  Water can be added either from rainfall or  irrigation if available.  Here I would  like to go through an example to provide a different soil type other than that  listed in the bulletin.  In this example  I will use the soils in the Decatur/Mitchell County Area.  Information to use in calculating the needed  water comes from three different locations:   The County Soil Survey books produced by the USDA-NRCS, the Web Soil  Survey (  and the Georgia Weather Net (

For the Water Balance Method, let’s assume a Blanton Soil  Series, 24 inches is the rooting depth (be aware of hardpan depth), the total  available water is 1.92 inches (from the Soil Survey book, Table 16 or the Web  Soil Survey under the following tabs -“Soil Data Explorer”, “Soil Properties  and Qualities”, Soil Physical Properties”) and let’s assume a 60 day old  crop.

Step 1:  Determine from the amount of required water from  water use curve, from the curve we will need 0.19 inches per day.

Step 2:  Determine irrigation by setting lower limit  for water balance.  For this example we  will use a 50% limit (the crop only uses half of available water before  replacing).  So if the available water in  the 24 inch root zone is 1.92 then we will work using 0.96 inches will need to  be replaced.

Step 3:  Determine amount of irrigation by accounting  for irrigation system efficiency.  For  this example we will use 75%.  The amount  of water to be applied is 0.96/0.75 = 1.28 inches or 1.3 inches.

Step 4:  Determine frequency of irrigation by dividing  amount needed by water use per day.  For  this example the frequency will be: 0.096/0.19 = 5 days.

Step 5:  Therefore it is necessary to apply 1.3 inches  every 5 days to maintain 50% available water on Peanuts that are 60 days old.

So from the included curve and knowing the day after  planting the amount of water needed to replace the water used by the crop can  be calculated and if irrigation is used what frequency will need to be used  when applying water.  The application  rates and frequency of running the irrigation system should also be based on  the amount of water added to the soil profile from natural precipitation by  accounting for the inches of water applied via rainfall.

One last note on knowing available water in the soil  profile, the farmer should consider using some form of soil moisture  measuring.  Three available methods  include the use of tensiometers, electrical resistance meters or capacitance meters.  Two of these three are explained in the UGA  Bulletin #974.  The soil moisture meters  will allow the farmer to have a better idea of what moisture is available and  should provide some guidance on available water and irrigation needs.

Other methods of helping schedule irrigation is the UGA Easy  Pan method (UGA Bulletin #1201), the Irrigator Pro program developed by  USDA-ARS and many of the irrigation companies now have some form of irrigation  scheduling methods available.

Overall, knowing what the plant needs along with what can be  supplied from rainfall or irrigation can help the farmer supply ample water to  the peanuts while not wasting water.

Growth Stage-Water Curve


          A good method for irrigating peanut is a modification of  the original UGA recommended irrigation strategy of applying 2 inches of water  per week (minus rainfall) starting once peanut plants initiate blooming. In the  modified version we follow the water curve for peanut and apply less water  during weeks 5-6 (early bloom) and 7-9 (early pegging) and wait to apply  maximum water rates (1.5 – 2.0 inches per week) for peanut in weeks 10-17 (peak  pegging, pod fill). In weeks 18-20 we back down on the amount of water. During  this time of the growing season we do not want to over water for fear of initiating  limb rot. In the last three weeks we want to eliminate drought stress that can  increase risk of aflatoxin. Here is a schedule for the Growth Stage-Water Curve  (Modified UGA Extension) Irrigation Strategy:

Irrigation amount  (inches) per week for peanut.

Weeks    of Growing Season

1.5    inch maximum

2.0    inch maximum
















We researched it at a 2-inch maximum and a 1.5-inch maximum.  The reason for that was we know there are some growers that have fields that  can’t receive one-inch of water without excessive runoff. Therefore, we tested  it with two applications of 0.75 inches twice a week and two applications at  1.0 inches twice a week. In the table below are the 1.5 and 2.0-inch maximum  strategies in case any of your growers want to use this strategy for irrigating  peanut.

The key in early season irrigation on peanut is to not apply  too much water. Be judicious with early season irrigation events and save them  for later (weeks 10-17, or days 70-126) in the season when the water demand is  higher. This is especially true for producers irrigating from surface water  resources.  We just don’t  need to water the crop too much early. The water demand curve indicates the  requirement is low prior to peak pegging and pod fill.

However, if you want more vine growth then the water the peanuts get the first 30 days will do a lot to promote larger vines.

Posted in Agriculture, irrigation, Peanuts, Water | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Calvin’s Winter Irrigation Jobs

Posted by romeethredge on December 13, 2012

Winter Irrigation Maintenance:

With our summer crops harvested and out of the way, now is a good time to look at maintenance

of our center pivot irrigation systems. Here is a checklist of items to consider from Calvin Perry, UGA Ag Engineer:

Perform a “catch-can” uniformity test to verify the system is applying water uniformly.

Check for leaks, malfunctioning or missing sprinklers, etc. Repair problems.

Drain pipes, valves, tanks, pumps, sprinklers, booster pumps, etc.

Close or cover openings, even with motors and pumps, that would allow mice to


Service gear boxes, drive lines, motors on pivot towers, as well as the engine that

may be driving your pump.

Lock the control box in the OFF position.

Repair deeply rutted pivot wheel tracks.

Consider a new sprinkler package that could replace what’s on your system now, if it’s

not performing well. There are many new, innovative sprinkler designs on the market.

Make sure the flow meter on your withdrawal point (usually at your pump) is

functioning properly and look at your flow meter readings and see if your pump is

putting out the flow that it’s designed for.

And it’s also a good time to think about next year. You’re not quite as busy this time of

year, so give some thought to

Do I want to look at a different irrigation sprinkler


Do I want to look at some new technologies to help with irrigation scheduling?

Or look at some sensors and maybe software that could help with that technology?


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Irrigating Cotton

Posted by romeethredge on December 13, 2012

Cotton Incorporated has a new cotton irrigation publication on its website. Our UGA Stripling Irrigation Park in Camilla and Ag Engineer and Director there Calvin Perry, had a part in this publication. Here’s some info concerning it and here’s the link to go to it.

Irrigation Management for Humid Regions

 Use of irrigation has been increasing across the humid areas of the Cotton Belt for the last 20 years. While there is a large collection of information for irrigation management related to cotton in arid regions, information specific to management under humid conditions is not as well developed. Therefore, the objective of this publication is to provide producers with an overview of the technologies available to schedule irrigation and key concepts related to water management for cotton grown in areas where rainfall provides a significant amount of the water requirements in most years.

This document is divided into nine sections that address a variety of topics including: the benefits of irrigation and why water management is important; cotton water requirements in humid areas; growth stages that are sensitive to water stress; and a review of tools for irrigation scheduling. An overview of different methods to deliver water to the field is also provided.

Irrigation water, if managed wisely, is an important tool to optimize productivity of the land and to ensure that no other inputs go to waste. Thus, it is an important tool that can be used in developing a sustainable crop management strategy. Granted, there is great competition from urban and industrial water users, even in the water-rich Mid-South and Southeast, but it is the authors’ hope that by using the knowledge presented here every drop of water applied to cotton will be used beneficially.


 Here’s a list of the different sections in the publication:

▸ Why Irrigate Cotton?

Irrigation Stabilizes and Boosts Yield

Removing Risks Associated with Yield Instability

Why Plants Need Water

Seasonal Water Requirements Vary by Climate

Plant Response to Water Stress

The Relationship Between Water and Yield

Water Use Efficiency

Increasing Water Use Efficiency

Boosting Yield and Reducing Costs

Optimizing the Use of All Crop Inputs

Getting the “Most Crop Per Drop”

▸ Why Schedule Irrigation?

The Risk of Too Much Water

Proper Irrigation Methods

Plant Available Water

Results of Water Loss

Estimating the Soil’s Ability to Provide Water

Signs of Water Stress

Targeted Irrigation Scheduling

The Art and Science of Irrigation Scheduling/p>

▸ Initiating and Terminating Irrigation for the Season

When to Initiate the First Irrigation

Irrigation Near the Time of Emergence

When to Apply the Last Irrigation

▸ Cotton Water Requirements


Measuring Evapotranspiration

Water Use

Water Use and Crop Coefficients

▸ Water-Sensitivity of Cotton Growth Stages

Planting to Emergence

Emergence to First Square

First Square to First Flower

First Flower to Peak Bloom

Peak Bloom to Open Bolls

▸ Sensor-Based Scheduling

Types of Measurements

Types of Sensors

Costs and Methods of Obtaining Soil Water Data

Decision Factors

Cost Factors

Locating Sensors

Irrigation Scheduling

Types of Irrigation Systems

Access to Sensors

Sensor Installation

Compatibility with Field Operations

Connecting Wireless Systems

Interpreting Sensor Results

Accuracy of Sensor Readings

Retrospective Use of Sensors

Using Post-Season Soil-Water Data

▸ Irrigation Scheduling Tools

Water Balance Method

Soil Water Content

Maintaining Soil Water

Estimating Crop Water Use

The Mississippi Irrigation Scheduling Tool – MIST

The MOIST Program (University of Tennessee)

Combining Soil Moisture Monitoring with Water Balancing

▸ Management Considerations for Irrigated Cotton

Cotton Crop Irrigation Increasing

Germination and Seedling Emergence

Pre-Squaring Cotton

Squaring Cotton

Early Bloom Cotton

Cutout, Late Bloom and Boll Opening Cotton

General Irrigation Management Considerations

Irrigation Adds Flexibility to Farming Operations

Irrigation and Variety Selection

▸ Irrigation Systems Overview

Subsurface Drip Irrigation

Surface Drip Irrigation

Center Pivots

Surface Irrigation (Flood/Furrow)

Irrigation Water Quality

Posted in Agriculture, Cotton, irrigation, Water | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Irrigation Well Suspension Meetings

Posted by romeethredge on October 30, 2012

Issuance of Agricultural Water Permits has been suspended in parts of Georgia until November 2013.  To help answer some questions concerning the reasons why this occurred, how farmers can help conserve water, and what are the next steps, a couple meetings have been organized as shown below to inform farmers and others interested in water permits in Georgia. 


Dates, Location and Times

December 4, 2012 – Mitchell Co. Ag Building, Camilla, Ga

December 12, 2012 — Terrell Co. Govt. Building, Dawson, Ga


Registration — 8:30 – 9:00 AM and Adjourn by Noon


There is no registration fee, but to ensure we have room for all participants, PLEASE call 


And let them know you plan to attend.

Posted in Agriculture, irrigation, Water | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »


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