Seminole Crop E News

Agricultural News for Farmers and Agribusiness in SW Georgia

Archive for the ‘Wildlife’ Category

Question of the Week – Coontie

Posted by romeethredge on April 4, 2014

Last week was a plant ID question. I had a photo of the fruit of a plant. I had no correct answers. It is a native Florida Coontie. The fruit was given to me by Mark Braxton of Marianna Florida, where it grows in his yard..



Here is some information from a UF publication that can be accessed here.

They are the food source for Atala butterflies.

Spanish writings from the sixteenth century report that the original native Timucuan and Calusa people and later Seminoles, removed the toxic chemical, cycasin, from the coontie stem  by maceration and washing. They then used the starchy residue to produce a bread. This was an important food source that sustained them throughout most of the year.

The common name, “coontie,” is derived from the Seminole phrase “conti hateka,” which means white root or white bread. Another name for the coontie is “Seminole bread.” The Seminoles also used the starchy stem to make another dish called “sofkee stew.”

Starch Industry. Around 1825, early settlers in the Fort Lauderdale area learned the Seminole’s technique of removing the toxin cycasin from the coontie to produce starch. By the 1880s, several mills were in business in Miami. During WWI, one mill was processing as much as 18 tons of coontie daily for military purchase. The starch content was said to range from 20% in winter to a low of 8% in summer. By 1911, the starch was known as “Florida Arrowroot.”


The coontie’s underground stem is more properly called a caudex. It contains both starch and a water soluble toxin. (Photo: Stephen Brown, UF/IFAS Lee County)


Here is this week’s question. Where was I last Saturday when I took this photo? And what was the water temperature?



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

Question of the Week – Hognose Snake

Posted by romeethredge on March 28, 2014

Last week I had a snake photo and it was a Hognose snake aka Spreading Adder. They are pretty common here and cause no real harm to people. They like to eat frogs and toads, and do kind of look like a cobra when disturbed and hiss and flatten their necks. They will also play dead and flip over comically. This one had cloudy eyes apparently due to being close to shedding the old skin.

I had many correct answers and you can look in the comments question under the post last week to see some good information.



Here’s this week’s question. What is this?


Posted in Wildlife | Tagged: | 5 Comments »

Question of the Week – Wild Hogs

Posted by romeethredge on March 21, 2014

Last week I asked about why an area around an irrigation pivot was all dug up. It was wild hogs digging up yellow nutsedge tubers. They love them. They are sold as Chufas to plant for turkeys. Here’s a photo of some yellow nutsedge coming up in the area.




This week’s question follows. What kind of snake is this that we came across at the irrigation pivot mentioned above.  Is it a cobra? It was hissing and the neck is flattened? And why do the eyes look like that?



Posted in Wildlife | Tagged: | 8 Comments »

Question of the Week – Azolla or Mosquito Fern

Posted by romeethredge on March 14, 2014

Last week I had a pond weed called Azolla or Mosquito fern that bothered a duck pond recently. It can fill up a pond pretty quickly and it will be green and then turn a rusty red color. Here’s a link to the Univ of Florida article concerning this aquatic weed.




This week’s question is about an area around the pivot of this small grains field that looks strange. The grower asked me to look at the rye in this field and when I approached the pivot it looked like it had been disked. What do you think happened here and why?


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Posted in Water, Weeds, Wildlife | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Question of the Week – Pop up Fertilizer – 2 X 2

Posted by romeethredge on March 8, 2014

Last week I had a photo of a corn planting rig and my question was about the set of round coulters out  in front of the set where the seeds are coming out. That set of coulters go into the soil about 2 inches deeper than the seed will be placed and about 2 inches to one side. There is a tube inside the coulters that pours out liquid fertilizer , we call it pop up. The placement is so that the young seedling will get it very quickly. But we don’t put it right in the seed furrow so as not to burn the seedling with the strong fertilizer. This is the preferred 2 by 2  starter fertilizer placement for field corn. It usually is mostly Phosphorus with some Nitrogen. Phosphorus is important for young seedlings , especially with cool soils.

I remember my ABAC Soil Science professor, Mr. Sibbett, teaching us about this in his, sometimes crude way. “Plants have trouble taking up phosphorus when it is cool, conso…dam…quently, we need some phosphorus close to the seedling. There…dam… fore starter fertilizer is important.” They broke the mold after making him.


Here is this week’s question.

I was called out to identify a floating pond weed yesterday. Here are 2 photos, what is it?


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Posted in Agriculture, Corn, Fertilization, Wildlife | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

Some Field Work going on

Posted by romeethredge on February 18, 2014

Sunny weather has been nice the last few days and some Lime has been spread and some fertilizer going out and some sweet corn is reportedly beginning to be planted.

Here’s some disking happening in southern Seminole County.


Red Maples are doing their thing and supplying some nectar and pollen for this honeybee.


Daffodils are blooming in some yards now as well.


Posted in Agriculture, Horticulture, Wildlife | Leave a Comment »

Question of the Week – Wild pigs

Posted by romeethredge on January 29, 2014

A good many folks knew what was causing the damage to the wheat field, wild hogs.  David Pearce of Jakin Peanut and
Jimmy Laska of  Dupont were some quick correct answerers.

Jimmy says  ” Appears to be signs of the infamous “Sus scrofa domesticus”.  AKA, hog, pig, piney wood rooter, razor back, South GA plague!”

Some of this damage was very fresh, plants just dug up, and I got an eerie feeling out in this remote field by myself at sunset, I think they were watching for me to leave.

The biological family that pigs belong to is the Suidae family. Is that why we sometimes call them by saying “Suu  eee  pig”?

This had been a peanut field last summer and there were a few peanuts still around that it looked like the pigs were digging and eating. I remember old timers talking about getting their swine out of their pens and hogging off peanut fields after harvest.


This week I want to ask you what these plants are and what is going on here with them?


Posted in Agriculture, Weeds, Wheat, Wildlife | 2 Comments »

Question of the Week – Sand Hill Cranes

Posted by romeethredge on January 17, 2014

Last week I had more birds for you to identify from up near Colquit, Ga. They were Sand Hill Cranes, and I have not seen them here before. They are large birds. Here’s another photo of them I took last week.

They are long lived birds that have an interesting call. See their range below.



This week I have another question for you. What is this growing on a fruit tree and how many forms does it appear in? Does it hurt the tree?


Posted in Wildlife | 4 Comments »

Question of the Week – White Pelican

Posted by romeethredge on January 10, 2014

Last week I had a photo of some large birds I saw on the Chattahoochee river. I have heard reports of them on Lake Seminole and on Ray’s Lake here in Seminole County as well.  They are a little larger than the brown pelicans we often see at the beach. They don’t dive like the brown pelicans from the air but they scoop up fish and other food.

They are here and in a few other areas in the winter. Mostly they stay in Canada in the summer.



This week I have the following question. What are these large birds that  Bryan Wells of  Meherrin Ag in Colquitt called me about this week. They are in a wet area below Colquitt.



Posted in Wildlife | 7 Comments »

Question of the Week – Pocket Gopher

Posted by romeethredge on January 3, 2014

Last week I showed you a photo of a mound of soil ( I was going to say dirt but my soil science class professor at ABAC said that dirt is what is under your fingernails, what plants grow in is soil). I found numerous mounds near Live Oak Florida and it took me a while to figure out what they are. They had no ants in them , no surface digging around them, no holes in the center like an earthworm leaves, they weren’t shallow uplifted trails like a mole digs.

There were these mounds of sandy soil every few feet. So it’s Pocket Gophers  causing the mounds as they dig their deep tunnels they push soil to the surface every few feet. They are also called Salamanders by some folks. Of course a true salamander looks kind of like a lizard. The name is probably a language deal where they were called “sandy – mounders” and that changed over time to Salamanders. I’d like to know if folks have seen them in Southwest Georgia very commonly.

Here’s some information about it from the UGA Museum of Natural History.

The body is covered in short hair, which is medium to dark brown on the upper parts and brownish gray on the belly. Total length is from 10 – 12 in. The Southeastern Pocket Gopher has a thickset body, stout front legs with large claws, external fur-lined cheek pouches, and a hairless tail.pocket

The Southeastern Pocket Gopher searches for food by digging  burrows. Roots, tubers, stems, and other plant materials that are encountered are stored temporarily in cheek pouches. Once the pouches are full, the gopher empties their contents into chambers excavated especially for food storage. The deepest part of the burrow is a grass-lined nest chamber. The Pocket Gopher is easily detected by the presence of numerous mounds of soil which have been excavated from the burrow system. The Southeastern Pocket Gopher is found in upland areas of dry, sandy soil or well drained, fine-grained gravely soils, where burrows can be easily dug. Pocket12


The Southeastern Pocket Gopher has a very limited distribution. It is found only on the Coastal Plains of Georgia, Alabama, and the northern half of Florida

Now for this week’s question.

During the holidays I went boat riding on the Chattahoochee River just below the Lake Walter F. George aka Lake Eufaula Dam.

I saw these large birds I have never seen before, What are they?



Posted in Agriculture, Wildlife | Tagged: , | 5 Comments »


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