Seminole Crop E News

Agricultural News for Farmers and Agribusiness in SW Georgia

Archive for the ‘irrigation’ Category

Weekend Cold

Posted by romeethredge on April 3, 2015

The lows here in Donalsonville last weekend were right at 40 degrees. Some corn turned very yellow for several days and some turned purplish. Growth of snap beans was slowed as well.

Soil temperatures dropped to almost 60 degrees which is still good for corn emergence but too cool for good peanut emergence, for sure. Peanut planting shouldn’t start until mid to late April when we have 4 inch soil temperatures above 68 for 3 days running and no cold weather in the forecast.

 I heard this week that in middle and north Georgia they had frost and some young watermelon and other plants were killed.

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We are watering some corn. It seems early, but corn does need a half an inch per week when tiny and it increases to an inch per week when it hits 3 weeks of age and the need keeps increasing. If we ever get behind on irrigation it can be hard to catch up with hot, dry days and  big plants pulling lots of moisture from the soil and this can hurt yields.

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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.

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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.

 

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To view weather and rainfall data like this, go to http://www.georgiaweather.net/.

 

 

 

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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 »

Peanut Water Use – Critical Now

Posted by romeethredge on August 7, 2014

This first week of August (if the peanuts were planted by May 1), is the peak of the water use curve, requiring about 2 inches per week.  The good news is that we’re about to move past the peak water use period and start requiring slightly less water in the oldest fields.

If your peanuts were planted 2-4 weeks later they will move into the highest water use period soon.  Please see the figure below for the ranges of peanuts planted from late April (yellow) and peanuts planted in middle May (blue).

 

water use

 

Thanks to UGA Scientists, Wes Porter, Gary Hawkins and Calvin Perry for most of this info.

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Flint River Drought Protection Act Meeting

Posted by romeethredge on July 17, 2014

EPD Stakeholder Meeting

Watershed Protection Branch 

Discussion of Possible Rule Changes

The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) Watershed Protection Branch will hold a stakeholder meeting to discuss possible changes in the Flint River Drought Protection Act Rule. The meeting will be held on July 24, 2014 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the following location:

Albany State University
ACAD Building Auditorium
Corner of Radium Springs and Joseph Holley Circle, Albany, GA 31705

The purpose of this meeting is to inform and solicit input from the public and impacted organizations regarding possible revisions to Department of Natural Resources Rule 391-3-28, the Flint River Drought Protection Act Rule, as directed by Senate Bill 213.
EPD’s goals are to ensure that stakeholders have an opportunity to understand the process of rule revisions and provide input on the rule changes that are under consideration. The meeting will include time for stakeholder comments and EPD response to questions. Growers and Landowners are invited to attend.

More information and related handouts are available at this site:

http://epd.georgia.gov/public-meeting-discuss-development-revised-flint-river-drought-protection-rules

EPD is accepting feedback from stakeholders on these issues through July 31, 2014.

Mail: James A. Capp, Chief, Watershed Protection Branch, EPD

2 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Suite 1152 East

Atlanta, GA 30334

RE: Flint River Drought Protection Rule – Stakeholder Meeting

E-mail:cliff.lewis@dnr.state.ga.us;

Subject: Flint River Drought Protection Rule – Stakeholder Meeting

Here are soybeans being irrigated this week in Seminole County.

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SmartIrrigation Cotton App

Posted by romeethredge on May 2, 2014

The SmartIrrigation Cotton App is now available.  This is a smartphone app for scheduling irrigation on cotton which is available for both iOS and Android phones.  You can find links to the app at http://smartirrigationapps.org/.

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You can find lots of supporting information about the App if you click on Read More at the above link.  Included there is a 15-minute webinar-style tutorial.

 

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Planting Delayed —Rain–But There’s Still time

Posted by romeethredge on May 2, 2014

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I saw a farmer’s wife’s Facebook post this morning about asking for folks to pray for our farmer’s situation and to pray for the farmers to have patience…and she’s right. We are behind but it’s still early and we have time to get this crop in. Last year May was very dry and we got a lot done.

With the equipment we have, we can do a lot in a short time when it dries out, sure we’ll have to leave the wet areas, (turn around don’t drown) , but we’ll get most of the land planted.

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Cotton varieties are a subject I’m hearing talk about. I spoke with Dr. Guy Collins, UGA Cotton Scientist and he said we really need to choose cotton varieties based on their performance in our area and not on maturity. Even a full season variety will do well planted late in many circumstances.  If we get cotton in later than we want to, then make sure our management is good and we will be ok, if the weather allows. It’s just May 1 and we have until early to mid  June. If we plant on the late side we need to manage our fertilization and sidedressing well , and put out our PGR’s correctly for the variety and situation, and irrigate when we need to. There’s really not a lot of difference in our varieties , maybe a week to 10 days in maturity.

 

The UGA Variety performance Calculator is a good place to do research  http://www.ugacotton.com/vault/cottoncalc/ also you can look directly at OVT data at this site http://www.ugacotton.com/cotton-variety-selection/

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Month old Corn

Posted by romeethredge on March 28, 2014

We now have some  field corn that has celebrated a month of age today. I took some photos of it yesterday. It is growing with some challenges due to cool temperatures causing yellowing and slower growth and sand blasting.

 Stands look pretty good so far, but we are having to deal with crusting soils in between the rains. We need to wet the crust in most cases to soften it to get all our plants up evenly. We are getting some sub surface unfurling and loss of plants due to the hard crust.

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Here’s some sandblasting that occurred with the high winds this week.

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Soil crusting has been a problem, hurting us in some cases.

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A light irrigation does a lot of good for this problem.

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Diesel to Electric Conversion

Posted by romeethredge on November 22, 2013

Twenty years ago, we in south Georgia farming country were all lulled to sleep on dry summer nights by the drone of diesel engines all around, pumping water for our crops. Now it is quiet at night due to the diesels being converted to quiet electric run pumps.

Here’s an opportunity if there are some that haven’t been converted yet.

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An opportunity for incentive funding to help with Diesel to Electric conversion:

“The Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA)… announced a second round of the Georgia Agricultural Irrigation Motor (AIM) Program, an incentive program designed to help Georgia farmers become more energy-efficient, save money on fuel costs, and reduce emissions… The Georgia AIM Program will provide farmers with a rebate to replace inefficient diesel irrigation engines with energy-efficient electric irrigation motors. The rebates will cover 25 percent of eligible project costs, with a $10,000 maximum rebate available.”

Go to this website for more details:

http://www.gefa.org/Index.aspx?page=50&recordid=591&returnURL=%2findex.aspx

“The application period for the program opens online at www.gefa.org on Wednesday, December 4, 2013, at 8:00 a.m. Available funding is limited and rebates will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. The application period will close Saturday, February 15, 2014, at 5:00 p.m.”

Thanks to Calvin Perry of the Striping Irrigation Park for letting me know about this.

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Watering Peanuts

Posted by romeethredge on August 16, 2013

Some areas aren’t getting rain now and our crop root systems aren’t the best since we have had such a wet summer. I see many systems running and that is good, we need to supply water where needed. It has also started to warm up and with several recent days in the mid – nineties, plants are using lots of water.

We have fields with large wet areas but some parts of the field are dry.

Here is a chart from the UGA Peanut Production Guide showing how much water peanuts use at different times in their progression.

And the irrigation schedule chart below that shows that most peanuts need about 2 inches per week now, weeks 13 through 17, this would be 90 days old up to around 120 days of age.

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

 
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