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Agricultural News for Farmers and Agribusiness in SW Georgia

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Archive for September, 2015

Commercial Pesticide Recertification

Posted by romeethredge on September 24, 2015

Commercial Pesticide Applicator, Do you wonder …

Do I need recertification credits?

When does my license expire?

Not certain? Find out here –


And don’t miss this opportunity to earn 5 hours of commercial pesticide applicator credits that are good in 15 categories!


Pesticide Safety and Handling Training

Friday, October 23 – St Simons Island


Earn five hours of Georgia Commercial Pesticide Credit in your category!


  • Category 24, Ornamentals & Turf
  • Category 41, Mosquito Control
  • Category 21, Plant Agriculture                        
  • Category 27, Right of Way  
  • Category 23, Forestry                                   
  • Category 26, Aquatic
  • also Categories 22, 25, 31, 32, 35, 36, 37, 38 or 39!      


Also earn five hours of International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Credit!


Cost is $55 until Thursday, October 15 and $65 afterwards. Lunch & breaks are sponsored by FIS Outdoor, Inc.


For more information:


Register early, this class may fill up!

Posted in Agriculture | Leave a Comment »

Forage Soybeans

Posted by romeethredge on September 18, 2015

I was surprised this week when asked to look at some soybeans , I got to the field and the grower, Brad Trawick, said he was growing them for forage.

 I said, “You mean for cow feed?”

They look real good. We have some photos here.


Forage soybeans are typically harvested for hay or silage; however, they can be used for late summer temporary grazing. Since they do not regrow once defoliated, strip-grazing (or frontal grazing) is the most efficient use. Soybean forage is fairly digestible (up to 60 percent) and moderately high in CP (17 to 19 percent). Stem size can be reduced, thus increasing digestibility, if seeding rates of 90 to 120 lbs. of seed per acre are used.

Planting late-maturing varieties (maturity groups 6, 7 or 8) from early May to early June will result in forage soybean production best suited for high yields. Shorter periods of growth, such as part of a double- or triple-crop system, can be accommodated with early-maturing varieties. However, productivity is expected to be substantially less.

Dr. John Bernard,UGA Scientist, has the following advice.  Forage soybean can work as silage and the leaf loss is significantly reduced, but the sugar content is limited making it harder to get a good fermentation.  Certainly would benefit from using an inoculate when ensiled.

Soybeans has been one of those crops that gets some attention and then seems to fade away.  Some have had good yields but others have not been satisfied with the yield compared with millet or sorghum.

It’s good to get a forage analysis (CP, NDF, NDF digestibility, fat, and minerals minimum)

If used for hay it make a good hay that’s high in protein.  It’s  a challenge to let it dry enough so that it doesn’t go through a heat and even catch fire, but you need some moisture in it or you will loose the leaves and not get them into the bale. If it’s baled too quickly after cutting then it can heat up and the proteins can be bound and it won’t be as good a feed.  A hay preservative such as Potassium Sorbate may be used to help with this problem. Using a mower that crimps the stalk will help, too. The stalk is often the hardest thing to get dry.

Perhaps mixing an annual grass with the soybeans when planting to help get the leaves into the baler without loosing them on the ground may help.

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

Cotton Marketing Update

Posted by romeethredge on September 18, 2015

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

Question of the Week – Boron Toxicity

Posted by romeethredge on September 17, 2015

Peanuts need boron. If we don’t have enough we can see hollow heart and other problems. But we don’t need much. We need a half a pound of actual Boron per acre. A product like Solubor is 20% Boron so 2 foliar applications of 1.25 pounds of it will be all a peanut plant needs. If you use a liquid boron then do the math to make sure you get a total of a half pound of actual boron per season.

 Boron (B) is an essential micronutrient that is important to flowering, pollination, and fruiting of the peanut plant. We can get too much of it (maybe over double the recommended rate) however and cause some leaf symptoms like this. I’ve seen similar symptoms when a high rate of Basagran herbicide was applied.



Here are some comments from UGA Scientist Glen Harris. “The standard UGA recommendation is 0.5 lb B/A, applied in two 0.25 lb/A foliar applications with early fungicide sprays. Single applications of 0.5 lb B/A can be used but include a greater risk of foliar burn. Since B leaches readily through sandy soils, foliar applications have always been considered the most effective and efficient application method.

Numerous B fertilizer materials are currently available. Most are either derived from boric acid or sodium borate and can be either in the liquid or wettable powder form. There are many “additives” used with these base B materials such as nitrogen and complexing agents designed to improve efficiency of uptake. However, extensive field testing over recent years has proven that all of the B fertilizers currently on the market are equally effective in terms of plant nutrition. Therefore, choice of B fertilizers should be made on price per pound of B. “


This week’s question is about this photo I took last week. A farmer showed me this on a very old farm. What are these 2 structures?


Posted in Fertilization | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Irrigation Field Day and Workshop in Donalsonville

Posted by romeethredge on September 17, 2015

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

Peanut Tour 2015

Posted by romeethredge on September 17, 2015

We had a good group (about 200) of folks come through southwest Georgia on the Georgia Peanut Tour this week.  Folks were here from all over the world , with some from Malawi and Ghana in Africa as well as many more spots, wanting to learn and experience agriculture here. We went to Glenn Heard’s peanut field where they were picking and I told Glenn if we had a dollar for every photo than was taken there it would have been a pretty good offering.  Glenn, Parker and Craig were great hosts and explained things well. Earlier in the day, Andy Bell showed about peanut digging.

Here myself, and other agents, Brian Hayes and Kyle Brown talk about peanut maturity determination.


Due to recent rains and poor drying weather these peanuts had been dug more than a week before picking. Conditions were not real good so pickers were running very slowly. The wind was blowing out of the east and Grampa always said, “Wind out of the east, they’ll pick the least.” and that’s often true.


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We were very fortunate to be able to tour LMC here in Donalsonville as part of the tour. Lewis Carter, bottom photo, spoke to the group about the company and what they do and we toured the amazing plant where many things concerning seed separation and cleaning and many more ag related devices are engineered and built. They do a lot concerning peanuts. Here’s a link to their website including a very interesting video about the company.



Here’s a link to the excellent Peanut Tour site.

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

Plant Disease Info – September 2015

Posted by romeethredge on September 14, 2015

Plant disease has been a big problem this year and here’s some good  insight and recommendations from Dr. Bob Kemerait, UGA Plant Pathologist.

Soybean rust, so very quiet for much of the season, is now much more active in the southeastern United States.  For current finds of soybean rust, please see


Soybean rust has been found throughout Mississippi and Alabama. 


While we have found fewer “hits” in Georgia, as of last Friday we have found it in Decatur County and then rapidly in Colquitt County and now Burke County.  Given the general distribution in Alabama and the west-to-east distribution in Georgia, coupled with recent rains and cooler weather, I think the disease could quickly be found in any field in the state.


IMPORTANT to NOTE:  though the disease is finally spreading (and rapidly), we are seeing the SPREAD but the BUILD-UP is lagging behind.  That is, the disease is widely but thinly scattered at the moment.


With time, the disease will build until frost.  


Growers with soybeans that are full-seed/R6 or close to it are “safe”.  Soybean fields with pods where seeds still have weeks to develop until they fill the pod are at risk.


For growers who spray now, late in the season, even use of tebuconazole is likely to be of benefit. 


PEANUTS/White mold:  Cooler temperatures should begin to help subdue a disease that has been troublesome for many, but not all, this season.

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Peanut Disease Questions

Diseases are always a constraint to peanut production in the southeastern United States, but some diseases have been especially troublesome in 2015.  For reasons that are not clear, tomato spotted wilt has, for the third year in row, caused significant losses in some fields.  Unfortunately, there have even been a few fields considered to be at “reduced risk” where damage from the tomato spotted wilt virus has been severe.  Other diseases, especially stem rot (white mold) caused by Sclerotium rolfsii and Aspergillus crown rot caused by Aspergillus niger, have led to a continuous battle with the grower throughout the season in terms of fungicide programs and considerations for re-planting the crop earlier in the year.  I believe there have been at least two very important factors.  First, the season has been extremely warm; such favors the development of both white mold and Aspergillus crown rot.  Add in some periods of rainfall/moisture and it is the “perfect storm” for white mold.  Second, our huge acreage planted to peanut in 2015 is a certain indication that some of our peanut fields were planted on a short rotation, increasing the risk to diseases like stem rot/white mold and even Rhizoctonia limb rot and leaf spot.  The 2015 season will likely be remembered as one where more effective (and, of course, more costly) fungicide programs for management of white mold were needed.

Now in September,  we have four common questions with regards to disease management in peanut fields.

  •  With harvest in sight, how should I finish out my disease management program?

Answer:  The 2015 season has been very favorable for white mold and many growers have wisely continued to protect their crop from this disease beyond the traditional window between 60 and 105 days after planting.  However, cooler temperatures anticipated as we head into September should help to slow white mold.  Any grower who has four weeks or more to go until harvest, except those at low risk based upon Peanut Rx, should maintain a fungicide program at least for leaf spot diseases and perhaps for white mold.  Growers with three weeks to go until harvest and without a disease problem (white mold, leaf spot or other) can likely suspend their program unless a tropical storm or other system threatens that might delay harvest.  Growers with a significant disease problem may consider protecting the crop to within two weeks of projected harvest.   Fields with excessive levels of leaf spot or white mold demand special measures as harvest nears.  (Note:  in extreme cases, it may be impossible to do anything to slow the spread of disease once it is established.)  Where leaf spot is problematic in a field, growers may consider including the fungicides Alto (5 fl oz/A) or Topsin M (5 fl oz/A) + a pint of chlorothalonil to manage the disease.  Growers with white mold should consider continued use of a white mold fungicide, to include tebuconazole, until late in the season.

  • With diseases in the field, should I consider digging the crop early to avoid additional digging losses?

Answer:  In the majority of cases, it is better to harvest the peanut crop as the appropriate maturity to insure good grades.  In many cases, achieving good grade is preferable to reducing some digging losses that result from weakened pegs.  Rarely do we encourage growers with tomato spotted wilt in the field to dig early.  Our most popular variety, ‘Georgia-06G’, seems to be more forgiving to end-of-season defoliation than earlier varieties were.  Though we want to maintain good leaf spot control throughout the season, the tolerance to yield loss Georgia-06G demonstrates when premature defoliation occurs further allows growers to keep the crop in the ground until suitable harvest.  Where white mold and especially CBR are problematic, digging a crop early may be necessary as both diseases can greatly increase digging losses.  If the diseases is contained, meaning that it is not continuing to spread in the field despite a number of individual plants which are affected, then I would suggest keeping the crop in the ground.  However, if either of these diseases is rampant and active in the field, then it may be necessary to dig the crop to avoid significant yield loss.

  • Why do I have so much white mold in the field and did I get ANYTHING from my fungicide program?

Answer:  I have been asked this question again and again, over and over this season.  First, here are a few things to remember.  The 2015 season has been very favorable for white mold, pushing all of our fungicide programs to the limits of performance.  No program, no matter how much you spend, can control all disease in a field.  I think 75% control may be all we can get sometimes.  Couple warm temperatures with dry conditions and our dryland fields are, well, you know what I mean.  Without rain or irrigation to wash the fungicides to the crown of the plant, performance and control are reduced.  Our huge peanut acreage must mean that some of our fields are on a short rotation.  Short rotation, hot temperatures and perhaps over-reliance on tebuconazole because of low peanut prices all add up to a white mold “field day”.

How do you know if your white mold program worked for you?  If you look out in a field and see a number of white mold “hits” you are likely to be disappointed.  However, if such “hits” are contained to a one, maybe two plants and do not extend in streaks down the field, then you can be confident that your program was engaged and fighting for you.  Also, if finding active white mold is difficult, then you can also be confident that your program was working for you.  Note, however, that managing underground white mold is especially difficult because of getting the fungicide to the target below the soil surface.  Underground white mold is difficult to control, even under the best of circumstances.  Control may be improved with timely irrigation or rainfall, or by spraying the crop at night.

  •  Is there anything I can do now to prepare for disease management in peanut next season?

Answer:  Yes, there are several things.  First, do your best to increase the number of years between peanut crops in a field.  Second, identify the diseases that have been most problematic in your field and work with your county agent to develop a comprehensive management plan to include choice of variety and fungicides.  Educate yourself on fungicides that are available now and those, such as Elatus, that will be available in 2015.  Lastly, consider taking nematode samples and preparing for nematode management in 2016 with resistant varieties (Tifguard and Georgia-14N).  Also, note that our current predictions are for a strong El Niño this winter, bringing increased rainfall and cooler temperatures.  Growers should anticipate how such will affect disease management in all of their crops to include delays in planting or in application of Telone II.

Posted in Peanuts, Plant Pathology | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Cotton Defoliation

Posted by romeethredge on September 11, 2015

A little cotton has been defoliated and more will be next week. Mainly dryland early cutout cotton. But much will be terminated soon. Cotton is opening well with some bollrot occurring. IMG_8548 IMG_8549

Dr. Jared Whittaker, UGA Cotton Scientist, has the following good Defoliation thoughts to help us.

  1. Timing – 60 – 75% open bolls OR 3 to 4 nodes above cracked boll

Some want to wait until later, with this year could lose significant yield and quality if weathering occurs and lower positions rot or fall off.

I’m always happier if we go earlier than later.

  1. Defoliation mixes.

There are a thousand RIGHT ways to do it.  To keep from getting bogged down with the details and because it’s the most consistent effective treatment we have I always start with what I call the “3-WAY” idea.

This 3-way includes ethephon (PREP and others), Thidiazuron (Dropp, TDZ, Freefall) and Tribufos (Def or Folex).

  1. Adjuvants –  My thoughts on adjuvants are this…. (1) You don’t need one if you have Tribufos in the mix (2) if the label requires it, then its ok, the PPO herbicides (Aim, ET, Display, etc.) require them.  (3)  if  an adjuvant is included it can make the mix too hot and leaves can become desiccated, (4) Adjuvants most always heat the mix up which can be ok later in the year in cooler conditions.

  2. Water Volume – MORE WATER THE BETTER, I would love it if everyone use 20 GPA with defoliant applications.  15 GPA is ok, but it’s important for me to point out that I can use less product and be more effective if I use higher rates of water.  Airplanes – they only go 2.5 to 5 GPA, but if done properly product is pushed into the canopy and often aerial applications can be just as good as ground applications.

  3. MORNINGGLORIES – our herbicide programs have become weak on MG’s and often we think about using something in the defoliation mix to help with harvest.  A couple of thoughts on this.  (1) the vines are the issue for cotton harvest and remember where most of them are when the canopy is full before defoliation (2) several products work with MG’s and all are PPO herbicides (which I consider to be very inconsistent with regards to defoliation this time of year compared to folex (3) if I was going to include it in defoliation then I would use it in place of folex in the three way or (I like better) cut the folex rate back significantly.  (4) MY THOUGHTS ON HOW TO HANDLE MORNINGLORY IN COTTON FIELDS THIS TIME OF YEAR — use a normal defoliation mixture and wait till at least the upper canopy is defoliated (5-8 days), then mix up your MG product and spray where needed.  This will be much more effective on MG and also be a way to clean up what the first shot of defoliant missed.

  4. PRICES – cotton producers are facing situations with $ related to cotton prices.  Often there are growers who want to defoliate the crop as inexpensively as possible.  I truly understand their situation and realize that growing cotton isn’t cheap, but having said that I think we can defoliate almost our entire GA crop for less than $15 per acre, and more importantly less than $10 per acre this time of year.  I know that’s a lot of money, but we’ve gotten this far and its important to do a good job with defoliation.  You can go cheaper with some other options, but most all of the time they are less effective and less consistent and really aren’t that much cheaper.

Posted in Cotton | Tagged: | 1 Comment »


Posted by romeethredge on September 11, 2015

“We are having problems with a detached funiculus.” Sounds like something your Doctor might say to you but this is what we are having to say in many dryland peanut situations now.

Funiculus is Latin for “slender rope” and its the umbilical cord that connects the peanut kernel to the  pod and thus the peanut plant. We need it to be attached for the nut to progress in putting on weight. If it is detached, which happens through normal maturity or when the plant is very stressed then it’s over for that kernel.

The problem we see on stressed dryland fields is that this happens prematurely and if it happens to a lot of the kernels on a plant and time goes by and we have heavy rains, we can get sprouting and rotting of the kernels. So we want to harvest before much of that happens. Growers in some cases are having to make hard decisions about when to dig.

Peanut kernels  normally have a pink or white seed skin or “testa”. (You didn’t know you’d get a plant physiology lesson today, did you?) Under stress, usually heat and dry conditions, the testa turns bronze or copper colored.  Often shortly after this happens the funiculus detaches, but not always. So if bronzing is seen we need to carefully pull the shell away to see if the funiculus is still attached.  I like to shell a lot of the pods to get an idea of the percentage we have affected.


Here , I’m in a stressed dryland field and I shelled out 5 pods and 3 of them have skins that have turned copper colored, so that’s trouble, but my job is not over. I need to check the fundiculus.


So I carefully peel back the pod and in this case the fundiculus is still holding on so we have a little more time if conditions improve. I must say that this is not usually the case. Much more often when the seed coat is copper colored, the fundiculus is detached.


Here is where we have detachment. It’s all over for this one.


Here’s a healthy pink kernel that will keep gaining weight.


Posted in Peanuts | Tagged: | 2 Comments »


Posted by romeethredge on September 11, 2015

Here is Greg Mims with some full season soybeans that are looking good. They are irrigated and have been well cared for. Caterpillars had to be controlled and a protective fungicide and foliar Boron have been applied.  Now we will watch for any problems but mainly for stink bugs and other pod feeders. They are in a critical stage for water as well. Fullscreen capture 922015 114915 AM





These soybeans are in the R5 (begining seed) stage , they will soon be at the Full pod or R6 growth stage. Flowering and therefore podding occurs first at the bottom of the plant and moves upwards. For purposes of naming the current growth stage, we only look at the 4 top nodes of the plant through stage 6 so we all stay on the same page.

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Posted in Soybeans | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

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