2014-15 Wheat Production Guide

The 2014-2015 UGA Wheat Production Guides are now available. If you need a hard copy, we will have some sent to the office. You can download the pdf at the link above.


There is a lot of economic information found in the guide. Below is information from UGA Extension Economist Dr. Nathan Smith on Georgia production:



Georgia planted acres dropped by a  third to 300,000 acres and harvested acres dropped 28% to 250,000 acres. Georgia’s average yield is estimated at 55 bushels per acre, falling 5 bushels from last year’s record wheat yield of 60 bushels per acre. Producers had problems harvesting wheat as less than 25% of the crop was harvested by June. As a result quality was also a concern and producers were faced with discounts.

Wheat prices were down over much of the year, and took a turn for the worse when a large 2013 Canadian wheat crop was realized. Monthly SRW wheat prices ranged between $5.90 and $6.92 during June 2013 and May 2014. The 13-14 marketing year started near $7.00 per bushel but dropped below $6.00 during harvest. Cash prices going into planting season for 2015 crop were below $6.00 per bushel, with basis at 65 cents under July futures before improving to 50 cents under. Wheat fundamentals are considered bearish going to 2015 as record global production is projected again. Wheat planting in Georgia will likely fall some again in 2014 due to lower prices and current dry conditions.


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Cold And Dry

Most of us don’t know of temperatures this low before Thanksgiving. A lot of people are already covering citrus trees planted in their backyards. Satsuma’s are probably my favorite citrus and have the best cold tolerance – withstanding temperatures as low as 19 and 20 degrees. Citrons, lemons, and limes have the lowest tolerance and can be damaged in the upper 20s. Tangerines and mandarins can withstand the mid-20s.

Pecans 007We’ve also been wondering about crops still harvesting. Here is a picture of some Stuart pecans that are still in the tree. I was asked about some Sumners the other day which were still green and shucks not opening. UGA Pecan Specialist Dr. Lenny Wells says its a misconception that cold will keep shucks from opening. If the nut is mature, it will open and fall. If it’s not opening, it’s something else – maybe pollination issue.

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A dry October has caused is hurting us trying to establish forage on dryland pasture. Here is some Big Boss Ryegrass that was drilled in the middle of October. This pasture received  its first rain last week since it’s been planted. The cold may have been a factor too since some tips have died back. Oats has the least cold tolerance of our cool season forages. Irrigated pastures for grazing are up and tillers developing with less stress for water.


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Diesel Prices Lower

Andrew Sawyer:

Here is some information on diesel prices posted on Seminole Ag Agent Rome Ethredge’s blog:

Originally posted on Seminole Crop E News:

It looks like farm diesel is lower in cost than it has been in almost 4 years. That’s a good thing as we use lots of fuel on the farm.  Here is an interesting report by Amanda Smith, UGA Extension Ag Economist, concerning farm diesel prices.

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These are the monthly farm diesel prices for the Southern Atlantic states from 2011-2014.  Compared to the previous four years, diesel prices have been more stable. Prices have ranged from a low of $3.13 to a high of $3.86 per gallon.  There appears to be some seasonality to diesel prices as you can see price fluctuating up and down throughout each year.

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These are farm diesel prices for the Southern Atlantic states from 2011 through 2014 with average prices for each year listed above the chart. The seasonality of diesel price is more apparent in this slide with higher prices during spring and fall…

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2015 Georgia Ag Forecast

2015 AG ForecastAg Forecast is an annual seminar series presented by the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences in partnership with Georgia Farm Bureau and the Georgia Department of Agriculture. We receive a lot of good information on markets and preparing for the next growing season. Below are dates and locations:

  • January 14 (Gainesville) – Brenau Georgia Mountain Center, Registration 9:00 am; Seminar 10-11:30 am
  • January 15 (Cartersville) – Clarence Brown Conference Center, Registration 9:00 am; Seminar 10-11:30 am
  • January 16 (Bainbridge) – Cloud Livestock Facility, Registration 9:00 am; Seminar 10-11:30 am
  • January 21 (Lyons) – Toombs County Agricenter, Registration 9:00 am; Seminar 10-11:30 am
  • January 22 (Tifton) – UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center, Registration 7:00 am, Breakfast 7:30 am, Seminar 8 – 9:00 am
  • January 23 (Macon) – GA Farm Bureau Building, Registration 9:00 am; Seminar 10-11:30 am

You can sign up now for one of the seminars at the Georgia Ag Forecast website.

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2015 Southwest GA Master Cattlemen’s Program


This year the 2015 Southwest Georgia Master Cattlemen’s Program will be held in Fitzgerald, GA-Ben Hill County. The program will be weekly from January 20th – March 10th every Tuesday. Programs will be held  at the Ben Hill County Ag Center. Each week will host a different Extension specialist on the UGA Beef Team. Registration is $60 per person and includes a dinner on the final night. Pre-registration is January 8th. Below is the agenda. If you would like attend, e-mail me at agsawyer@uga.edu and I can send a registration form.




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Pecan Harvest – Second Shake

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Here is a harvester running through the second gathering of these Desirables. So far, crop is looking about what was expected. Cold will affect Stuart pecans still on trees and keep shucks from opening. We will likely see some sprouting up in those trees. We really do need some rain also; its very dusty and hard to see when driving the harvester. This orchard has two windrows between tree rows.  On acres with no irrigation, we’re observing small nut size. Below are comments from UGA Extension Pecan Horticulturalist Dr. Lenny Wells regarding this issue:

“The effect of various factors on pecan nut size has been well studied; however, the exact reason for this year’s consistently small nut size is difficult to pin down. Most likely, there are several factors at work.

Soil moisture has a greater influence upon nut size than any other factor. When 2014 began we were coming off  two relatively wet years and 2014 started off wet as well. Many growers may have expected sub-soil moisture to remain adequate for pecans when the weather turned dry in June. June-July make up the nut sizing period for pecans. Rainfall in the Albany area totaled 7.65″ from June 1-Aug. 30. This is 48% less rainfall than we saw in 2013 and even 22% less than what we saw in the drought year of 2011. Dry-land orchards have no hope of developing large nut size in a dry June/July. But even irrigated orchards are suffering small nut size in 2014. Part of the problem could be that we failed to begin irrigating soon enough to achieve optimum nut size in such dry conditions. But, there is likely more…

GaryMilton-St.Augustin-JimThompson-Pecans 025The second important factor affecting nut size is crop load. Crop load is hit and miss this year. Some orchards have a pretty heavy crop, while some have virtually nothing. All things being equal, where the crop is heavier nut size should be expected to be smaller.

An over-looked factor with an influence on nut size is temperature during the nut sizing period. The more heat, the larger the nut size. Average daily maximum temperatures for Albany during June and July were 3.4% cooler in 2014 than the average of the previous 3 years. Average daily minimum temperatures for the same period were 1.3% lower in 2014 than the previous 3-year average, also placing the potential for nut size at a disadvantage.

Sunlight, of course, drives the process of photosynthesis, which affects all aspects of plant growth and development. We are in the 3rd year of a sunlight study in Crisp County, GA and have been collecting sunlight data on crowded trees as well as those in the open from June through September. When averaged for these two treatments, sunlight levels were 24% lower in 2014 than in 2012 and were even slightly lower than those for 2013. This factor probably also had an effect on nut size.

While I feel that these 3 environmental factors; dry conditions following a very wet period,  cool temperatures, and low sunlight levels are the primary culprits, you can add to these issues the early scab pressure and the insect pressure we saw throughout the summer. It is likely that all of these factors played a role in the small pecan nut size we are currently experiencing.”

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Wheat Planting & Cultural Practices

Here are some cultural, and planting decisions to consider when planting wheat. I compiled some of the notes taken at our Area Wheat Update with UGA Extension Agronomist Dr. Dewey Lee:

  1. Deep tillage – Wheat reponds well to deep tillage because it has a low tolerance for low oxygen. Prepare soils with a V-ripper, chisel plow, paraplow or subsoiler. Simple disking is not as effective as deep tillage but is preferred over no-tilling.
  2. Plant high yielding, pest resistant varieties – Refer to my post on 2014 Grain Varieties. Spread risks by planting at least 3 varieties in a field.
  3. Seeding rate – In a drill, plant 22 to 25 seeds/row foot (7.5. inch drill width). This is equivalent to 30-35 seeds per square foot. Wheat emerges best when planted 1 to 1.5 inches depth. Yields from drilling wheat tend to be 7-8% higher than broadcast. If broadcasting wheat, calibrate equipment to plant 40 seeds / square foot.
  4. Planting dates – Recommended planting dates for GA are 7 days prior to and after average first frost day for your farm. Varieties with long vernalization requirements should be planted in the first 7 days before the first frost. Real early varieties with short nervalization – such as Fleming – need to be planted in the vary last days of the recommended window. These varieties will suffer winter injury if planted too early since they would enter jointing phase before the time that sub-freezing temp do not occur.
  5. Scout fields for early insect infestations -Hessian fly and aphids are the 2 insects generally causing problems in the Fall. Start scouting for these 25-30 days after planting – just before topdressing. Insects can also be controlled by using resistant varities or seed treatments.
  6. Weed control – Ryegrass and broadleaf weeds need to be controlled early.  Ryegrass needs to be controlled when the plant is between the 2-lear and 2-tiller stage. Once we past Christmas, it is too late to effectively control most weeds. Scout wheat 25-30 days after emergence .  Ryegrass has genetic potential to form resistance. We must rotate herbicides. Below is a list of herbicide classes I put in a newsletter last season.Wheat-HerbicideClassesIt is important that each field is treated only once every two years with the respected chemistry. For instance, if we use Axial this year, we do not spray Axial or Hoelon on that piece of ground next year at all. The same applies to Powerflex and Osprey. If we do not rotate, we will lose the chemistry.
  7. Soil test – Wheat prefers soils with a pH of 6.0 to 6.5. Make sure potassium and phosphorus are medium to medium-high range. Nitrogen is the first nutrient to be unavailable to wheat. In a heavy soil, we need 20-30 lb/N. In a light soil, we need 30-40 lbs of N. If fertilizing for wheat only, apply all P and K in the fall during seed bed prep. Fall tillers make the largest and most productive heads.

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