Seminole Crop E News

Agricultural News for Farmers and Agribusiness in SW Georgia

Archive for October, 2015

Caterpillars in Grazing

Posted by romeethredge on October 29, 2015

We are finding some caterpillars in grazing this week. I looked at several fields yesterday and about half of them had enough caterpillar feeding to be concerned about. We need all the forage to get to the cattle.

The first thing you notice is feeding on the leaves. On the very young forage you have to look close. Often the caterpillar will have done a little feeding maybe just windowpaneing on the leaves. Then look in the leaf whorl, where it’s twisted up and often a tiny fall armyworm will be hiding there.


Here below is some young forage with a tiny caterpillar.


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

Is Grazing Ready for Cattle?

Posted by romeethredge on October 29, 2015

A hard question to answer is when is grazing ready for cattle. Yesterday these cattle seemed to be telling me, ” We’re tired of eating this hay and old grass, when can we get some of that good grazing across the fence?”


Here’s Decatur County agent Kyle Brown, as he and I were checking out this field of oats mixed with rye. We were measuring the height of the growth here to try to give the farmer some advice concerning when to let the cattle in to eat.


Here are some good thoughts from UGA Extension forage scientist, Dr. Dennis Handcock. Deciding when to let the cattle in is really where the “art” of grazing comes in. In general, the earlier one starts grazing, the more damage will be done to the pasture’s growth potential. It is a function of the growth curve. In that early stage (lag phase), when growth is slow or just beginning to get going good, grazing can essentially stop growth or slow it to a crawl. It is like a bank account with some principal in it. The more principal one has, the more growth in the account one will get. The growth rate is like compounding interest. Grass grows grass. Take away principal (grass), and the amount of growth will decrease.

So, that’s enough professor talk… Practically speaking, one really shouldn’t start grazing until there is at least 1800-2500 lbs of DM/acre, though I would wait a little later on oats as they’ll slow growing in December (particularly if it becomes very cold). For rye, that would be about 5-6 inches. For ryegrass, I’d wait until it is at least 6 inches. For oats, I’d wait until it is about 6-8 inches. The ideal would be to only graze it a little… removing just what it’s average growth rate is and maintaining at least 1500-1800 lbs DM/acre. This is why I am a BIG fan of timed (limit) grazing.

Remember… don’t be too quick to graze. Grazing too early can cost one more in the long run.


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

Question of the Week – Frangipani

Posted by romeethredge on October 29, 2015

Last week I had a photo of my mother’s Frangipani plant. Its a beautiful tropical small tree that is used in Hawaii for Leis. It’s native to South and central America and common in the Carribbean. It can’t stand freezing temperatures very well at all.





Here’s this week’s question. What is this an old aerial photo of?


flint chattahoochee

Posted in Agriculture | 6 Comments »

Adam’s Soybeans

Posted by romeethredge on October 27, 2015

Dryland or you could say rainfed soybeans are a risky proposition especially in sandy soil. Soybeans need water when they need it for a good crop. Dryland yields in Georgia range from 5 to sometimes 50 bushels per acre and the main reason for this variation is water. Drought during the critical fruiting period really hurts yield.

Local grower, Adam Hopkins, grew some pretty good soybeans this year without irrigation as you can see here. He will harvest them next week when it dries off.

He said he got rain at the right times, on some fields.


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Cotton Boll/Consumer Judging

Posted by romeethredge on October 27, 2015

I was fortunate today to be asked to give a talk concerning Cotton growth and development and what happens to cotton when it leaves the field to a group of our Seminole County 4-H’ers. We talked about how the cotton grows in the field and produces bolls with lint that goes to the gin and then later is made into comfortable clothes.

They are the Cotton Boll/Consumer judging team that will travel to a district contest in a few weeks to show what they know and give presentations concerning cotton. I listened to several of their talks today about cotton.  BethAnn Smith did her 30 second talk and she thanked the farmers for growing cotton. There’s even a photo of her and her favorite cotton farmer, Mallory Miller aka Mr. Mud on her poster below.  I think she’ll do well at the contest and more importantly she and the other kids will learn more about cotton and the importance of agriculture and other consumer topics.


4-H Agent, Cindy and program assistant, Heather are doing a good job teaching them again this year. IMG_9204

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

Cotton Harvest

Posted by romeethredge on October 23, 2015

Cotton Harvest is going well this week. The dry and sunny weather is conducive to good boll opening and fluffing, leaf drop and picking.  I was in this field yesterday that will be defoliated this week. Beautiful white fluffy cotton and most bolls are mature.

We had some damage due to the wet, dreary weather a few of weeks ago.


Posted in Agriculture, Cotton | Leave a Comment »

South Carolina Flooding

Posted by romeethredge on October 23, 2015

The USGS has released a preliminary report on South Carolina flooding and here’s a link to it.

Here is an excerpt and some screenshots from the report.

“This event resulted in at least 17 fatalities. In rural counties, conservative estimates of agricultural loses are expected to be at least $300 million, and total damages across the State will likely exceed $1 billion.

U.S. Geological Survey streamgages recorded peaks of record at 17 locations, and 15 other locations had peaks that ranked in the top 5 for the period of record.”

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

Cold Weather and Peanuts

Posted by romeethredge on October 23, 2015

When we have 3 or more days with low temperatures in the lower 40’s  the peanut maturation process will shut down. When this happens and you have fields left to be harvested you can be making plans to begin harvest as soon as the colder mornings pass.


Here’s Alex Johnson with some real good peanuts recently harvested near Reynoldsville.


DO NOT DIG the day before a morning in which the low temperature is low enough that there is a risk of frost or freezing. Keep in mind, the recorded low temperature is measured at 5 feet above ground by the NWS. Cold air sinks, which means it could be a few degrees colder in low lying areas of fields.

Frost or freezing temperatures on freshly dug peanuts can cause freeze damage to the kernels, which in turn, can be graded as Seg 2 peanuts. Seg 2 peanuts are greatly devalued when graded. If a field is dug on an afternoon and we approach the middle 30’s in temperature the next morning, freeze damage can occur. When dug, peanuts have 40% or greater moisture. Two or three days in the dug windrow allows the moisture content to drop enough so that the seed separates from against the inside of the hull. This separation will alleviate the risk of freeze damage. High moisture content with a seed still in contact with the inside of the hull increases the risk of freeze damage.




Posted in Agriculture, Peanuts | 1 Comment »

Question of the Week – Assassin bug

Posted by romeethredge on October 23, 2015

Last week I had a photo of one of the prettiest assassin bugs I’ve ever seen. Of course I love seeing interesting insects and this is one of the good guys as he’s a beneficial insect. It’s a real predator. I’ve seen them taking out caterpillars that were eating up cotton leaves. They unfold their mouthparts and jab into the caterpillars. They have a paralyzing toxin they use to immobilize their prey.

Don’t mess with them or they can bite you, too.

This one looks like he has a face on his back with a large nose.


This week I have a plant identification question for you. What is this small tree, and what is the famous use for the flowers?


Posted in Entomology | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Donalsonville/Seminole County Harvest Festival

Posted by romeethredge on October 23, 2015

Our 4-H group placed 1st in the Donalsonville/Seminole County Harvest Festival parade on Saturday. These 5 girls did a great job of representing their club and promoting the importance of agriculture in our community.  I like the way this one has our three largest crops: corn , peanuts and cotton and she has the 4 H’s spelled out! Thanks to Cindy Meadows and Heather Meadows for their great work with our students.

DSC01011 SAM_1480

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

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