Seminole Crop E News

Agricultural News for Farmers and Agribusiness in SW Georgia

Archive for January, 2015

Question of the Week – Head Tracking

Posted by romeethredge on January 30, 2015

Last week I had a chicken photo and I asked about their talent with their heads. Chickens have an uncanny head tracking ability. You can move their bodies around and they keep their heads in exactly the same position all the time, rock solid.

 Here’s a good video that demonstrates this.





This week I have some very small insects I want you to identify. They were brought in to me by some folks that found them in their home.

photo (3)

Heres’ a closeup.


Posted in Agriculture, Entomology, Livestock | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

Tram Lines in Wheat

Posted by romeethredge on January 30, 2015

I was very impressed by the tram lines I saw today that were made by Stephen Houston in his wheat field. _DSC0400

Here’s some info concerning their value in small grain fields from the UGA Wheat production Guide.

“Establishing a row traffic pattern at planting on soon after for all post-emergence field traffic can have merit for reducing injury to wheat and allowing for the crop following wheat to be planted no-till without stunting. No-tilling the crop after wheat can increase yield and soil/water conservation of the secondary crop.

Traffic patterns or tramlines can be established by closing one or more openings in the drill when planting the crop. This can be done by mechanically retrofitting the drill with clutches attached to the metering cup so as to close the opening to leave unplanted rows designed to fit the wheel spacing of your sprayer or tractor. Devices for drills can be purchased to establish tramlines on any tractor width in any multiple of drill widths.

Tramlines may also be formed after the crop has emerged by chemically killing the rows with glyphosate that match the width of the implement used to apply fertilizer or pesticides. Precision agriculture tools such as light bars and GPS guidance systems can help reduce the error of overlapping when attempting to chemically kill rows to produce a tramline. Chemically kill wheat early once the plant has one to two developed leaves.

Using tramlines in intensively managed wheat makes applying uniform sprays of nutrients and pesticides much easier. They improve the precision of applications. They can be used as guides for repeated applications and save on the cost of aerial applications. They reduce the chance of disease development when compared to plants that are crushed by running over standing wheat. Studies have shown that the border plants will compensate for yield losses whereas plants damaged by tires rarely produce good grain.”

_DSC0408 Stephen made a spray system to spray some herbicide to kill this strip in the field. He mounted this on his tractor and used a 15 gallon tank and pump from a yard sprayer to spray the band from 2 nozzles. He made a shield to make sure he didn’t kill more wheat than was necessary. He used the autosteer to make sure to travel in the exact spots where his sprayer will run. _DSC0407 _DSC0404  _DSC0398 _DSC0395 _DSC0394 _DSC0391

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Soil is Important

Posted by romeethredge on January 30, 2015

NRCS representative, Anita Tabb, here in Donalsonville, reminded me that 2015 is the “International Year of Soils”.

The soil that God created is a miraculous thing. It’s what plants grow in.  Someone the other day said, “Most food comes from plants”,  yes, but really all food comes from plants or animals and organisms that eat plants. Those plants mostly grow in soil.

My ABAC College professor, Mr. Sibbett, said “Dirt is what’s under your fingernails, soil is where plants grow.” I still lovingly call it dirt sometimes.

Here’s a good general 2 minute video about soil.

Posted in Crops, Fertilization | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Cotton Economic Update

Posted by romeethredge on January 29, 2015

Fullscreen capture 1272015 101335 AMFullscreen capture 1272015 101343 AM

Posted in Cotton, Economics | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Implanting Cattle Misconceptions

Posted by romeethredge on January 29, 2015

 Here’s a good article dispelling myths concerning implanting cattle.  _DSC0088


What has two thumbs and wants to turn $2 into $50??? THIS GUY!

If nothing else, I got you to stop and read this first sentence, or at least look at the figures. Implanting cattle is not a new technology, its been around for years. It has the potential to add 3-5% more pounds to your calf crop, yet fewer and fewer producers are employing the practice. WHY? Unfortunately, we as producers are faced with battling myths and urban legends about the food we provide. Although there is no science behind it, we are faced with the stigma of hormones in beef, and the resulting “natural beef” that many are producing to satisfy this concern. We figured now would be a good time to review what we know about implanting since we’re entering the time of year when winter/spring born calves are ready for this practice.

What are implants? Implants are small pellets that contain a growth stimulant that is slowly released over a period of time. Implants work by increasing circulating levels of somatotropin and insulin-like growth-factor 1. These compounds are produced naturally by the animal and control mechanisms that regulate growth and feed efficiency. Implants are available for nursing calves, stocker calves and/or finishing cattle. Bulls calves intended for breeding stock and replacement heifers should not be implanted.

Do implants improve performance? The simple answer is “yes”. A summary of several research studies revealed that implanting steer calves only once improved daily gains by 0.10 pounds per day, and implanting twice (the second implant would be administered 70-100 days after the first) increased daily gains by 0.13 pounds per day when compared to calves receiving no implants. This resulted in an average response of 5.3% increase in gain of calves at weaning for one implant, and a 6.2% increase for two implants.

Does pay to implant? Again, the simple answer is “yes”. For example, assume an implanted calf on the cow gains and additional 5%. At weaning, a non-implanted calf would weigh 600 lb, so its implanted counterpart would weigh 630 lb. In today’s market, if we consider $2.00/lb value, that would add an extra $60 in value to that calf. All of this for an approximate input cost of less than $2 per head for the implant and the labor. Another way to look at it is that you would need to receive a $58+ premium for the non-implanted calf through a natural program to eliminate this technology.SECA 2015

Is it safe for the consumer? Once more, the simple answer is “yes”. The public concern is focused on the increased estrogenic activity caused by the consumption of beef from an implanted animal. First, there is no such thing as “hormone-free beef”. Hormones are present in all biogogical food sources, whether it’s animal or plant, implanted or not. Table 1 illustrates the estrogenic activity of common foods. This clearly shows the safety of this practice, as it applies to human health.

So hopefully this helps explain the benefits of utilizing implants in cattle. There are several available commercially, and a specific applicator is needed for this practice.

This article originally posted in the  Southeast Cattle Advisor. There’s lots of good stuff to read there.

Posted in Agriculture, Cattle, Livestock | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Wheat Sidedress?

Posted by romeethredge on January 26, 2015

 We don’t want to over-fertilize wheat with N in the fall when wheat is planted as it may cause excessive growth and result in winter injury.  We need most of it in late January and February as one or two sidedressings – depending on tillering. Total N will be between 100 and 130 lbs per acre. 


 When we plant wheat we don’t plant enough seed for each plant to just make one head. We want several heads from each plant. This time of year the plants are tillering or growing these multiple stems so that we’ll have more grain heads per plant in the field. Tillers — grain heads– kernels–  yield.


Last week I did some tiller counts and we are behind in many fields, so we need to split our sidedressing.  Often the wheat  rows are 7.5 inches wide so we measure 19 inches down the row to get a square foot and count total tillers in that area. Once we know the average number of tillers per square foot we can make some decisions about wheat sidedressing.  We want close to 100 tillers per square foot and if we are below that we generally go ahead with half our fertilizer sidedressing the last week in January and the rest the second week of February.



In this photo you can see there are 3 tillers on this plant.

If we have 100 or so tillers per square foot and good growth and don’t see much yellowing of the older foliage, we can wait until the 2nd week of February to put out all of our sidedress fertilizer.

 Timing of N fertilization should be based on the pattern of uptake by the crop. Demand for N is relatively low in the fall but increases rapidly in the spring just before stem elongation. Therefore, make the fall applications of nitrogen at planting, and the remaining N prior to stem elongation. Use a lower rate of fall applied nitrogen at planting on heavier-textured soils and the higher rate on sandy soils.

Other nutrients should be applied according to a soil test preplant.

Since 65% of the total P uptake and 90% of the total K uptake occurs before the boot stage, these nutrients should be applied according to soil test before planting and thoroughly incorporated into the rooting zone

Posted in Fertilization, Wheat | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Rain in 2014 – Enough but at the Wrong Times

Posted by romeethredge on January 20, 2015

In 2014 we had above average rainfall. But, looking only at the averages is deceiving. I know of several dryland fields that were not worth harvesting this year due to dry weather and the insect and fertility problems that come with dry weather.  Why did we have extremely high expenses for irrigation and sleepless night checking on irrigation systems and maintaining them. How can that happen?

We need to remember that we are never very far from an agricultural drought, especially on sandy soils and when the heat and evapotranspiration rates are high.

Let’s look at rainfall data from Donalsonville, Ga.

First let’s look at 2013! It was a very wet year, no argument about that with 79 inches collected, almost 30 inches above average.  In the second chart below we look at the rainfall that occurred during the main crop use time and we see double normal rainfall from May 1 to Sept. 1. We had problems associated with too much moisture that year.

Fullscreen capture 1192015 90507 AMFullscreen capture 1192015 90629 AM

Now we will look at 2014 data. Well, we had more than average rainfall for the year, 68 inches total, when our norm is 54 inches.  So why did we have severe drought in our crops and high irrigation expenses?

The second chart below answers that question. We didn’t get the rain when it was needed. We had half the normal rainfall when summer crops needed it from May 1 to Sept 1, even though the year was a surplus rain year.


Fullscreen capture 1192015 90530 AM Fullscreen capture 1192015 90606 AM


To view weather and rainfall data like this, go to




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

Question of the Week – Pseudoscorpion

Posted by romeethredge on January 20, 2015

Last week I had an insect photo from Berrien county, Georgia that County Agent Eddie Beasley shared with me. It was a Pseudoscorpion.

Here’s some info from Michigan State about it.

“Pseudoscorpions are small, harmless arthropods related to true scorpions and the common daddylonglegs. Unlike true scorpions these arachnids do not possess a stinger, and therefore, should not cause any alarm when found in the home.

They are fairly common outdoors and occasionally found indoors. Outdoors they may be found in leaf litter, in the nests of birds, rodents, and insects, under stones and beneath bark. They spin disk-like webs of silk from silk glands located on their mouthparts. The web forms sort of a cocoon in which the animal molts and hibernates.

Pseudoscorpions prey on other arthropods, such as small insects and mites. Pseudoscorpions rarely occur in homes in large numbers, normally only a few will be found, therefore chemical control is not necessary. A vacuum cleaner or picking them with tissue paper and disposing them will provide safe, effective control in the home. If a more aggressive approach is desired, then a household aerosol insecticide  can be used as well.”Pseudo Scorpion on penny



This week I have this chicken photo I took last week while on my way to look at a wheat field. I was thinking while looking at this rooster, I sure can’t turn my head around that far! What talent or ability do chickens have that has to do with their heads?




Posted in Agriculture | Leave a Comment »

Cold burn on Small Grains

Posted by romeethredge on January 19, 2015

We are seeing some cold damage on small grains due to the very cold temperatures around Jan 8th. The cold duration was a problem as well. Some small grain growing for forage had been fertilized and was very lush and was affected a little worse.

If small grain heads were emerged we would have possibly seen problems but it’s much too early for that. All we really have seen is leaf  damage and burn and a slow down in growth. Moist soil holds heat better so you may see worse damage where soils were dry.

Usually the tallest part of the plant is damaged the worst due to being further from the warm soil. On Jan 8, the low was 18 degrees but the 2 inch soil temperature averaged 45 degrees for the day.


Here’s some oats being grown for cattle forage that got bit by the cold.



Here is some wheat being grown for grain with some leaf damage.

_DSC0069 _DSC0061

Posted in Agriculture, Wheat | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Floridan Aquifer levels in Southwest Georgia – 2014

Posted by romeethredge on January 19, 2015

What about our aquifer that we irrigated so much from this summer? It allowed us to make good yields on land a few feet from where crops were not harvested due to dry weather.

Well, the Floridan aquifer was well recharged going into the summer drought. This chart shows the whole year of 2014 in terms of well water levels. You can see how the level (blue line for 2014) dropped, but not much below average levels(gold triangles). Then our rains starting in early September have recharged the aquifer nicely again.

Today, it’s 23 feet down to water in this Miller county test well, which is about 8 feet better than normal for this time of year.

Fullscreen capture 1192015 90821 AM

Posted in irrigation, Water | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

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