Seminole Crop E News

Agricultural News for Farmers and Agribusiness in SW Georgia

Archive for July, 2013

Cotton Condition Fair, Soggy

Posted by romeethredge on July 30, 2013

Cotton is in fair condition, I would say. We have had rain for almost every day in July, and that’s not good. Too much cloudy and cool weather. Older cotton looks better than the young cotton but we have shed a lot of fruit from it and have some leafspot in many fields.  We have drowned out areas and many whole fields are waterlogged. Especially on the heavier soils. Also, we have packed soils that aren’t allowing much oxygen to get to the roots, affecting plant growth.  _DSC8640


I’m worried about the younger cotton. We don’t have good growth on it and some of it has just begun squaring. This is due to the rainy , cool conditions we have seen. We may run out of time on some of it.  Here are some comments by Dr. Guy Collins, UGA Cotton Scientist.


“Typically our last effective bloom date (for south Georgia) is September 12-15th but this assumes normal/average heat unit accumulation in the fall and a normal frost date. If this holds true this year, then cotton needs to be blooming by August 15th in order to have 3.5 to 4 weeks of bloom.

Therefore, in order to be blooming by then, then cotton would need to have been squaring (7 leaves or so) and growing well by last Friday, July 26th. Anything later than this is more risky.

More importantly, even with 4 weeks of bloom, all flexibility and ability to compensate for losses is gone at this point. Therefore it is extremely important to set and retain every boll made during that time (ie timely insect management and irrigation etc). “

Growers have lost parts of many fields due to standing water this year.

Growers have lost parts of many fields due to standing water this year.

Here’s some good cotton advice from UGA Scientists, Guy Collins and Jared Whittaker.

“Waterlogged soils can cause cotton seedlings to respond in various ways.  The visible effects will likely be related to how long the soil has been waterlogged and the age of the cotton.  Generally speaking, waterlogged conditions reduce the crop growth rate by replacing the air in the soil with water, depriving the roots of oxygen.  Since oxygen diffuses much more slowly through water than air, the roots soon become deprived of oxygen and are unable to maintain normal respiration.  Respiration is a necessary plant process that the plant uses to provide energy and building blocks for growth.  In general the respiration rates are highest in the terminal of the plant and the root tips.

As soils become more and more saturated and eventually become waterlogged, they are termed anaerobic and the effects on cotton plants may include chlorosis, yellowing, reduced shoot growth, reduced nutrient uptake, altered hormone levels, and other problems (many acres of cotton have symptoms of reddening leaves and stems being too wet, as well as typical nitrogen deficiency symptoms).   So, if we consider the amount of rainfall which has occurred in some fields and the fact that soils have been waterlogged (or close to it) for an extended period of time the crop has most certainly gotten off to a slow and rough start.  This will most certainly bring up management issues that may or may not be worth addressing and will likely create a scenario where growers are trying “fix the problem” or “bring the crop out of it”.

What’s going to fix this cotton?   SUNSHINE AND DRY WEATHER  The plant processes have been slowed and the plant needs time to recover.  It will recover when oxygen levels reach normal in the soil and respiration can proceed as normal.  Most of the symptoms that are present are related to the plant not growing, not a lack of something.  In most cases, everything the plant needs is there it just needs to recover to start utilizing nutrients and producing new leaves and roots.

Young squares.

Young squares.

What are the potential lingering effects?  Excessive moisture causes seedling cotton to develop smaller leaves and shorter internodes, resulting in stunted growth.  Once excessive moisture is gone, normal growth should start, but the effects may be noticeable for much longer.  One potential issue with waterlogged seedling cotton is the dramatic reduction is root growth.   In normal conditions root development may proceed at a rate of 0.5 to 2.0 inches per day; however wet and waterlogged conditions will greatly reduce root growth.  This may cause the crop to be more prone to drought later in the year.  Other than irrigation to alleviate drought stress, this is a problem that could potentially hurt yield.  One other issue is that development could be delayed such that the crop could be managed like it was planted much later than it really was.  For instance, waterlogging could slow growth to the point in which cotton planted much later could actually be further along and management should reflect this.

Can I cultivate the middles and help it out?  In some soils, excessive rainfall events tend to pack soil and “seal” it.  When these conditions occur, drying of the soil may proceed slower and there is a potential for cultivation to loosen soil and allow oxygen to reach the roots faster and help the crop start to develop normally.  Since root development was restricted during wet conditions, cultivation could actually prune roots if the sweeps are set too low.  One could dig around to see where in fact the major portions of the root zone are before considering cultivation.  In most cases where soils are excessively wet for an extended period of time, lateral roots may be very close to the soil surface and pruning them may set us back even further, especially if the tap root has not developed as it should.”

For this complete cotton news blog post and other cotton info, follow this link:

Older cotton looks better but is missing some fruit.

Older cotton looks better but is missing some fruit.

Target spot is pretty common. Many folks have applied fungicides to protect cotton from it.

Target spot is pretty common. Many folks have applied fungicides to protect cotton from it.

Soggy Cotton.

Soggy Cotton.

Posted in Cotton | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

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








Posted in irrigation, Water | Leave a Comment »

Corn Harvest Begins Slowly

Posted by romeethredge on July 26, 2013

Corn harvest began last week for a few farms, but its a slow go. Rain and wet fields and slow maturity and drying have slowed things. The grain moisture is still 28% or so in many fields but growers are doing what they can and semis are loaded and heading to markets, mainly chicken feed mills.

Fields are very wet and getting stuck and having to be pulled out is very common. Some growers are only filling the grain tanks half full and then unloading to keep combine weight down.  Wet parts of fields are avoided and left for later.

We’ve had some winds in the last couple of weeks and we are seeing some corn falling. The fact that the soils are so wet is causing some of the problem. The soil is giving way and stalks pulling up dirt and falling.

We need to get the corn out as soon as possible when it gets to 26 to 28% moisture. That’s easy to say but tough to do on these rainy days and long nights spent drying corn, not to mention the increased expense of drying corn that much.


photo (7)-008

Brad Thompson flew over this field recently and it’s the worst I’ve seen this year for lodging. It will be tough to harvest.

photo (7)-007



Here’s harvest going on in a good field of corn.



 Click on this link below to see a short harvest video


Corn Harvest   2013 unloading



Here’s another short clip.



Unfortunately this is often the sight from the combines, approaching rain.




This is what we see below when its so wet and the ground starts to give way and we see falling.




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Question of the Week – Homo sapien freeloaders

Posted by romeethredge on July 26, 2013

 Last week I had a photo of an affected corn stalk, that really looked bad. The problem was Homo sapien freeloaders. In other words, someone took the ear of corn from that stalk several weeks ago to boil it for supper. When this happens the plant keeps doing what it’s supposed to do, photosynthesizing and making natural food for the kernels of corn, but they are no longer there. Since the corn ear or “sink” for the photosynthate is gone, it accumulates in the plant and the anthocyanins accumulate in the plant and we see them in the purpling.

This week I went to check a pasture for caterpillars and I was wondering what is going on with these horses?

photo (7)-001photo (7)-002

Posted in Agriculture, Corn, Livestock | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Peanut Achievement Awards

Posted by romeethredge on July 26, 2013


It was a great evening last Friday when 2 peanut growers from Seminole County were honored for excellence in peanut production.  This was the annual Georgia Peanut Achievement Club (GPAC) gathering, that was during the Southern Peanut Growers Conference in Panama City Beach, Florida.  The GPAC is a closely judged group of some of the best peanut producers in Georgia who submit records concerning all of their peanut acres and pounds harvested for the year. Our UGA peanut Scientist, Dr. John Beasley put it all together to honor these folks. We will miss John as he will be retiring at the end of the year.

Dee Miller won the Low acreage category, 100 to 299 acres, for the state. He grew 179 acres of his own peanuts in 2012 and did a great job with them, making 6,383 pounds per acre.

His father, Eddie, was the winner for District 2 in the medium acreage category, 300 to 699 acres, Eddie grew 638 acres of peanuts and they yielded an astounding 6,752 pounds per acre.

In the photo from left to right are County Agent Rome Ethredge, Suzanne Ethredge, Dee’s girlfriend Paige Godfrey, Dee Miller, Eddie Miller and his wife Karen.

  Thanks to the sponsors of this Peanut Achievement club program. Syngenta,our local representative is Brian Baxley and BASF, our local representative is Tom Chestnut.



Kevin Rentz of Rentz Family Farm in Decatur County was also a winner in District 2 in the 700 plus acre category. They had 975 acres of peanuts in 2012 and had a yield of 5376 pounds per acre. That is a great yield for that number of acres.



Here’s a complete list of winners.

2012 Georgia Peanut Achievement Club

Overall State Winner – 100-299.9 Acres



GPAC   District


Yield (lbs/A)

Eddie   Miller, III






Overall State Winner – 300 Acres+



GPAC   District


Yield (lbs/A)

Art   Dorminy*





*Overall Highest Yield in State


District Winners

300-699.9 Acres



GPAC   District


Yield (lbs/A)

Al   Sudderth





Eddie   Miller, Jr.





Michael   Selph





Philip   Grimes






700+ Acres



GPAC   District


Yield (lbs/A)

Jimmy   Webb





Rentz   Family Farm





Ken   Hall Farms





Wayne   Sayer






Posted in Peanuts | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Georgia Peanut Tour – Valdosta Area

Posted by romeethredge on July 25, 2013



peanut tourA Lot to See Within an Hour’s Drive of Valdosta, Georgia!

Your participation is welcomed and encouraged at the 27th Annual Georgia Peanut

Tour to be held September 17-19, 2013! “Hot Topics” will be held on September 17

beginning at 3:00 p.m. (EST). Registration will open at 7:00 a.m. on Wednesday,

September 18, at the Fairfield Inn & Suites in Valdosta, GA, located at 2010 W.

Hill Avenue, Valdosta, GA 31601. The tour begins with an orientation at 8:00 a.m.

EST at the Fairfield Inn & Suites and concludes for the day at approximately 9:00

p.m. at the base hotel. Thursday, September 19, the tour begins at 8:00 a.m. and

concludes when bus returns Thursday at 9:30 p.m.


The 2013 tour includes:

A cross section of field conditions in South Georgia including peanut harvest clinics; on-farm demonstrations; and peanut handling,

grading, and shelling facilities. Tour highlights include research at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus, a tour of the Georgia

Department of Agriculture Laboratory in Tifton.

Special highlights of the tour will be a Birdsong Buying Point and DuPont Crop Protection (chemical manufacturing in Valdosta).

We continue the challenge to bring new, interesting, and quality aspects of our peanut production and processing infrastructure to

the tour. Our hospitality adds a truly southern experience.

Here’s the link to registration info.

Posted in Peanuts | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Shooting Clays

Posted by romeethredge on July 24, 2013

Recently, Seminole County 4-H shooters were involved in a state shooting sports competition in Savannah, Georgia at the Forest City Gun Club. The Skeet and Trap team had practiced mostly on Tuesday evenings at their shooting range near FDR School in an area provided by Mr. Ellis Odum. This is near where our Modified Trap team practices. Certified Coaches were Tommy Hunter, Steve Whittaker, Janet Whittaker and Rome Ethredge. Sandy Hunter and Pops Trawick were very helpful volunteers as well.  

Junior 4-H Skeet and Trap team that placed 8th in the state at the Savannah Competition. Front, Coach Tommy Hunter, Harrison Hall, Coach Steve Whittaker. Back row Carson O’Brian, Lane Williams, Ethan Scarborough ,Carter Ross.

Junior 4-H Skeet and Trap team that placed 8th in the state at the Savannah Competition. Front, Coach Tommy Hunter, Harrison Hall, Coach Steve Whittaker. Back row Carson O’Brian, Lane Williams, Ethan Scarborough ,Carter Ross.

This is a two part competition, with Skeet being shot from 8 stations. The shooter shoots from 7 positions around a semicircle with a radius of 21 yards and an eight position in the middle. There are 2 houses that hold the traps that launch the targets, one at each corner of the semicircle. The traps throw the clays to a point 15 feet above the ground, just away from the semicircle. The high house throws the clay from 10 feet above the ground and the low house throws the target from 3 feet above the ground.

From 5 of the stations, the shooters shoot at clays from each house individually and from the remaining 3 stations the shooter also shoots two shells at doubles launched simultaneously. It’s a challenge! Course of  fire for Senior(9-12th grades) competition consists of 4-25 target rounds (100 targets) Course of  fire for Junior(7-8th grades) competition will consist of 3-25 target rounds (75 targets)


Senior 4-H Skeet and trap team that competed at the state contest in Savannah. Coach Tommy Hunter, Sawyer Meadows, Alex Whitaker, Josh Croom, Logan Shattles, Jesse Ethredge.

Senior 4-H Skeet and trap team that competed at the state contest in Savannah. Coach Tommy Hunter, Sawyer Meadows, Alex Whitaker, Josh Croom, Logan Shattles, Jesse Ethredge.

Our 4-H’ers shot Trap at the competition as well.

The Trap Course of fire for Senior competition (9th through 12th graders) will consist of 4-25 sub-events for a total of  100 targets  consisting of ten rounds from each of the five shooting stations at 16 yards.

The Trap Course of  fire for Junior competition(7th and 8th graders) will consist of 3-25 target rounds of 25 targets for a total of  (75 targets event) consisting of five rounds from each of the five shooting stations at 16 yards.


We had 5 seniors and 5 juniors that worked hard at this competition this year. Our Junior team placed 8th in the state competition. That was quite a feat. They were Lane Williams, Carson O’Brian , Carter Ross, Ethan Scarborough and Harrison Hall.

Our Senior team was Sawyer Meadows, Jesse Ethredge, Josh Croom, Logan Shattles and Alex Whitaker.

All these boys worked hard and represented Seminole County well at this state competition, and we had a good group of parents and supporters present.


So you can see that the competition is a full day since each senior will shoot a total of 200 shells, that’s 8 boxes of shells. The juniors shoot 150 shells or 6 boxes.


Action shot of Senior Skeet and Trap team shooting skeet at station 4 with Logan Shattles shooting as the rest of the squad looks on.
Action shot of Senior Skeet and Trap team shooting skeet at station 4 with Logan Shattles shooting as the rest of the squad looks on.

4-H Project S.A.F.E. (Shooting Awareness, Fun and Education) has the following objectives.


  • Enhance youth development of self-concept, character and personal growth through safe, educational and socially acceptable involvement in shooting  activities.
  • To involve youth in a life skills program that teaches safe and responsible use of firearms including sound decision-making, self-discipline and concentration.
  • To promote the highest standards of safety, sportsmanship and ethical behavior.
  • To expose participants to the broad array of vocational and life-long avocation activities related to shooting sports.
  • To strengthen families through participation in life-long recreational activities.
  • To complement and enhance the impact of existing safety, shooting and hunter education programs using experiential (hands on) educational methods and progressive development of skills and abilities.


Posted in 4H, Wildlife | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Pest Alert – Fall Armyworms in Grazing and Hay

Posted by romeethredge on July 24, 2013

Fall Armyworms (FAW) are terrible right now. I just came from a bermudagrass hayfield that was infested and lots of the leaves were heavily eaten. Yesterday, we looked at some pearl millet for grazing that had lots of the caterpillars eating their fill. I had been in the field a week ago and didn’t notice them at that time. The problem with these voracious caterpillars is that they lay low when young and don’t eat that much. When they get close to an inch long, it’s incredible how much they can eat, especially if their populations are high. In both fields I was in there were over 5 per square foot! If they were all an inch and a half long, then they would be close to cycling out, pupating, but there is a mixture of sizes in the fields I’ve seen.

So, now is the time to check all pastures and hayfields for this pest. I have noticed the White Egrets, cow birds, in many fields and they are a good indication that you may have a problem. They provide some biological control of the critters but not enough in most cases.

The photo with my hand in it below is in a bermudagrass hayfield that was severely infested. The other photo is in the pearl millet where the grower just put his cattle in to graze. He said the caterpillars are eating far more than the cattle. Both fields will be sprayed today.

Thanks to Andrew Sawyer for the millet photo.

Max-Lion'sClub 007 photo (7)

Posted in Entomology, Forages | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Question of the Week – Seminole County School

Posted by romeethredge on July 19, 2013

The seal or crest we showed last week is the seal of Seminole County Middle/High School. I’m proud of it as it salutes the importance of agriculture in our community. It has the breaking plow and a peanut, proudly displayed on it.   In some areas it’s tough for people to understand the importance of agriculture, even though it is a driving force in most all communities. _DSC5057

This week I want to ask you about this corn in the photo. What is happening here?

purple corn

Posted in Corn, Economics | Tagged: | 12 Comments »

Soybean Pests

Posted by romeethredge on July 19, 2013

Soybean pests are getting our attention on some of our beans that are blooming now and otherwise looking real good. Soybean looper numbers are increasing a bit and we are seeing 15% foliage damage(action level) in some fields.

Kudzu bugs are a very interesting new pest. Two weeks ago the adults were abundant in fields but we have waited to see the next generation before spraying as recommended. And sure enough we are beginning to see a good many juveniles in some fields. It’s not good that we are having to treat them this early according to Dr. Phillip Roberts, UGA Extension Entomologist, but we need to protect the crop and in some cases we can let the plane fly once to get 2 pests. 

Here below see the adult on the leaf and a juvenile on my finger._DSC8514 Here is an adult and an egg mass, below._DSC8332

This closeup of the egg mass shows some hatching out._DSC8333

Posted in Entomology, Soybeans | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

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