Seminole Crop E News

Agricultural News for Farmers and Agribusiness in SW Georgia

Posts Tagged ‘irrigation’

Irrigation Field Day and Workshop in Donalsonville

Posted by romeethredge on September 17, 2015

Fullscreen capture 9172015 75724 AM

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Posted by romeethredge on June 19, 2015

Peanuts that are older are pegging and some are producing pods.  Here are some Ga 06G’s  that I photographed yesterday that are over 70 days old. They need a lot of moisture now. Most of our peanuts are not this far along but they still need some rain or irrigation to keep them growing.

Here are some comments from Dr. Scott Monfort, UGA Peanut Scientist about our current situation,

“We have a large portion of our peanut acres in the 30 to 45 DAY range with soil moisture diminishing quickly due to the heat. Although peanuts do not typically need a lot of  moisture in the beginning of the season, they do not need to go through a drought stress.

Under the current weather pattern (Extremely Hot and Scattered showers), growers need to apply at least ½ to ¾ inch of water to maintain moisture in the soil profile and to keep the peanut crop moving forward.  We do not need to get behind.   Also we encourage all growers to scout their fields and keep ahead of any weed, insect, and/or disease problems that develop. “





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Injecting through the Pivot

Posted by romeethredge on May 7, 2015

Dr. Wes Porter, UGA/AU Extension Irrigation Specialist gives us this irrigation injection information.

Traditionally we typically like to apply fertilizers and chemicals using either ground based (both fertilizers and chemicals) or aerial application methods.  However, we often times are under a time and suitable field working day constraint when it comes to applying many products.  Farmers also typically put more production inputs into irrigation crop land.  It’s known that irrigation has a higher yield potential and helps to protect that yield potential especially in dry years.  Thus, we want to do a more thorough job and provide the crops under irrigation with a more robust production plan to ensure we capture the full yield potential. Due to excessive rainfall during the growing season and in some cases excessive plant growth and height, it becomes difficult and sometimes impossible to enter a field to apply the proper chemicals and/or fertilizers.  In this case the addition of an injection pump for chemigation and fertigation can be very advantageous.  A center pivot can typically walk around the field when the moisture level is much higher than can a ground based sprayer.  Thus, one main advantage is the ability to apply nutrients at critical periods of crop demand.

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One of the most daunting tasks in using a center pivot for chemigation or fertigation is calculating the injection rate of the fertilizer or chemical.  The following process and example can be found at along with more information about specifics on Fertigation of Row-crops.

Steps for calculating fertilizer injection rate:

  1. Determine the irrigated area (acres)

  2. Determine the required application rate of product (in gallons per acre)

  3. Determine the amount required

  4. Determine the injection rate

For a practical example:

Let’s assume that you want to apply 30 lbs N/ac of UAN-32 through a 1,500 ft long center pivot at a rate of 0.3 inches in 12 hours (one complete circle).

  1. Irrigated area = = 3.14 * 1,5002= 7,065,000 ft2

    1. Divide ft2 by 43,560 to get acres = 7,065,000 ÷ 43,560 = 162.2 acres

  2. Determine application rate: = 30 lbs N/ac ÷ 3.5 lb N/gal = 8.6 gal/ac

  3. Determine required amount:  = 8.6 gal/ac * 162.2 acres = 1390.3 gallons

  4. Injection Rate:  = 1390.3 gal ÷ 12 h = 115.9 gal/h

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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




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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

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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:

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;

Subject: Flint River Drought Protection Rule – Stakeholder Meeting

Here are soybeans being irrigated this week in Seminole County.

photo (7)-004

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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.



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.


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:

“The application period for the program opens online at 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 May 23, 2013


How much water do my peanuts need? Gary L. Hawkins, John Beasley & Calvin Perry, UGA College of Ag Scientists

 The following graph is  reproduced from the UGA Bulletin #974 “Irrigation Scheduling Methods” by Kerry  Harrison.   This curve represents the  average daily water use by peanuts over the life of the crop.

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In UGA Bulletin #974 there is an explanation and example of  how much and how often water should be supplied to the plants.  There are also two methods of calculating  water application amounts and days between applications (The Water Balance  Method will be used for an example in this article).  Water can be added either from rainfall or  irrigation if available.  Here I would  like to go through an example to provide a different soil type other than that  listed in the bulletin.  In this example  I will use the soils in the Decatur/Mitchell County Area.  Information to use in calculating the needed  water comes from three different locations:   The County Soil Survey books produced by the USDA-NRCS, the Web Soil  Survey (  and the Georgia Weather Net (

For the Water Balance Method, let’s assume a Blanton Soil  Series, 24 inches is the rooting depth (be aware of hardpan depth), the total  available water is 1.92 inches (from the Soil Survey book, Table 16 or the Web  Soil Survey under the following tabs -“Soil Data Explorer”, “Soil Properties  and Qualities”, Soil Physical Properties”) and let’s assume a 60 day old  crop.

Step 1:  Determine from the amount of required water from  water use curve, from the curve we will need 0.19 inches per day.

Step 2:  Determine irrigation by setting lower limit  for water balance.  For this example we  will use a 50% limit (the crop only uses half of available water before  replacing).  So if the available water in  the 24 inch root zone is 1.92 then we will work using 0.96 inches will need to  be replaced.

Step 3:  Determine amount of irrigation by accounting  for irrigation system efficiency.  For  this example we will use 75%.  The amount  of water to be applied is 0.96/0.75 = 1.28 inches or 1.3 inches.

Step 4:  Determine frequency of irrigation by dividing  amount needed by water use per day.  For  this example the frequency will be: 0.096/0.19 = 5 days.

Step 5:  Therefore it is necessary to apply 1.3 inches  every 5 days to maintain 50% available water on Peanuts that are 60 days old.

So from the included curve and knowing the day after  planting the amount of water needed to replace the water used by the crop can  be calculated and if irrigation is used what frequency will need to be used  when applying water.  The application  rates and frequency of running the irrigation system should also be based on  the amount of water added to the soil profile from natural precipitation by  accounting for the inches of water applied via rainfall.

One last note on knowing available water in the soil  profile, the farmer should consider using some form of soil moisture  measuring.  Three available methods  include the use of tensiometers, electrical resistance meters or capacitance meters.  Two of these three are explained in the UGA  Bulletin #974.  The soil moisture meters  will allow the farmer to have a better idea of what moisture is available and  should provide some guidance on available water and irrigation needs.

Other methods of helping schedule irrigation is the UGA Easy  Pan method (UGA Bulletin #1201), the Irrigator Pro program developed by  USDA-ARS and many of the irrigation companies now have some form of irrigation  scheduling methods available.

Overall, knowing what the plant needs along with what can be  supplied from rainfall or irrigation can help the farmer supply ample water to  the peanuts while not wasting water.

Growth Stage-Water Curve


          A good method for irrigating peanut is a modification of  the original UGA recommended irrigation strategy of applying 2 inches of water  per week (minus rainfall) starting once peanut plants initiate blooming. In the  modified version we follow the water curve for peanut and apply less water  during weeks 5-6 (early bloom) and 7-9 (early pegging) and wait to apply  maximum water rates (1.5 – 2.0 inches per week) for peanut in weeks 10-17 (peak  pegging, pod fill). In weeks 18-20 we back down on the amount of water. During  this time of the growing season we do not want to over water for fear of initiating  limb rot. In the last three weeks we want to eliminate drought stress that can  increase risk of aflatoxin. Here is a schedule for the Growth Stage-Water Curve  (Modified UGA Extension) Irrigation Strategy:

Irrigation amount  (inches) per week for peanut.

Weeks    of Growing Season

1.5    inch maximum

2.0    inch maximum
















We researched it at a 2-inch maximum and a 1.5-inch maximum.  The reason for that was we know there are some growers that have fields that  can’t receive one-inch of water without excessive runoff. Therefore, we tested  it with two applications of 0.75 inches twice a week and two applications at  1.0 inches twice a week. In the table below are the 1.5 and 2.0-inch maximum  strategies in case any of your growers want to use this strategy for irrigating  peanut.

The key in early season irrigation on peanut is to not apply  too much water. Be judicious with early season irrigation events and save them  for later (weeks 10-17, or days 70-126) in the season when the water demand is  higher. This is especially true for producers irrigating from surface water  resources.  We just don’t  need to water the crop too much early. The water demand curve indicates the  requirement is low prior to peak pegging and pod fill.

However, if you want more vine growth then the water the peanuts get the first 30 days will do a lot to promote larger vines.

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