Implications Of Bacterial Boll Rot

At our Georgia Association of County Ag Agents (GACAA) meeting, we get to see presentations and posters of work done around the state. I wanted to share this poster done by Holly Anderson in Ben Hill County, EVEN THOUGH our conditions this year were as less conducive for boll rot as they have been in a long time.

We’re normally wet in our area and this is a concern of many growers. Dr. Kemerait always has points about boll rot, but it is unavoidable if cotton is subjected to prolonged periods of wetness and humidity late in the growing season. This project shows the progression of boll rot from infection to harvest and potential losses.


Leave a comment

Filed under Cotton, Disease

December Row Crop Disease Update

A few things to think about with regards to disease and nematode management in preparation for the 2017 field season.

La Nina:  Our UGA Extension climatologist Pam Knox has good information available on our current conditions, but here are my thoughts:

We are currently in a “weak” La Nina situation, “weak” because the equatorial waters of the cost of Ecuador are more than a half degree COOLER than normal.  As best I can tell, the waters have been about 7/10 of a degree cooler which barely qualifies as a La Nina (as opposed to last year where we had a robust and sure-enough El Nino).  So what does this mean? During La Nina years, the Southeast tends to (“tends to” means more often than not, but not always..) experience warmer and drier winters. Because we have a weak La Nina, this forecast could change.

Pigweed seedhead in broccoli before Thanksgiving. We are yet to have frost to knock back pigweed growth.

Pigweed seedhead in broccoli before Thanksgiving. We are yet to have frost to knock back pigweed growth.

How does our current “La Nina” impact our recommendations?

  1.  Drier is not a good thing as it may mean we don’t fill up irrigation ponds for next year.  It my mean we have a lot of trouble establishing cover crops this fall.
  2.  Warmer temperatures may mean that kudzu, volunteer peanuts, corn, cotton-regrowth, etc. pathogens (like those that cause soybean rust and southern corn rust) may survive and increase longer than they would with an earlier “killing” frost.  Also, as long as the crops and volunteers are active in the field, nematode populations can continue to increase and build.  This will lead to larger populations for next season. Once the plants are killed, the nematodes can no longer feed. Once soil temps drop below 65F, the activity of the todes drops off as well.
  3.  We may get some very cold weather soon, so we may not need to worry that much; however the general prediction is that we will have a warmer winter.
  4.  The weather this winter will have some effect on TSWV and insects for next year.  It remains to be seen what and how… but it will impact them.

Leave a comment

Filed under Corn, Cotton, Disease, Peanuts, Soybeans, Weather

Cotton Variety Trial Harvest


The only good thing about having no rain is having good harvest conditions. We picked our dryland variety trial on Monday, the day before the first rain came in. All in all, I’ve heard good cotton yields this year from multiple varieties. Not a lot of difference in dryland and irrigated since rain through the season was good.

Things went really well for us on Monday, and we had plenty of help. We harvested the first two reps only, but with longer rows, it’ll show difference in varieties once the numbers are completed. We also took samples to send to the UGA micro-gin. We’re going to look at grades and turnout also. I’ll compile the information and present it at our cotton meeting on January 24th. Here are some pictures from this week:

Jodie Stringer and Lanie Stains get the scale set up.

Jodie Stringer and Lanie Stains get the scale set up.


Weighing the next variety

Mat Thompson, Andrew Sawyer, & Lanie Stains

Mat Thompson, Andrew Sawyer, & Lanie Stains

Taking samples for grade analysis.

Taking samples for grade

Leave a comment

Filed under Cotton

Good Time To Lime Ponds


We talk about weed issues in ponds, but another aspect of pond management is fertilization and liming. Haphazard fertilization programs are not recommended in ponds. However, liming every few years has cultural benefits to a pond and keeps the water alkalinity above 50 parts per million (ppm) which is better for certain herbicides.

When the soils become more acid, important pond nutrients like phosphorus (P) is not available to algal production. Phytoplankton are important for fish ponds for the production of oxygen. They also convert nutrients like ammonia, which can be toxic to fish, into a non-toxic form.

We spend a lot of time looking at pond weeds during the summer. When we have filamentous algae, we use compounds with copper. Copper that is toxic to plants and parasites in pond water is also toxic to catfish when the water is very soft. Copper sulfate is an example of these herbicides that is more likely to cause fish toxicity. Alkalinity needs to remain above 50ppm.

Testing Water

If there is no water in the pond, you can do a routine pH test on the soil. But it is not recommended to do a pH test of the water, because pH in water changes during the day. It is better to calculate the hardness of the water. UGA Extension Aquatic Specialist Dr. Gary Burtle has worked with the UGA Water lab in developing a pond water test. In my experience, if the pond has not been limed in a few years, it’s going to need lime. I’ve never seen a test come back that said no lime needed.

Sources of Lime

The real issue is solubility and particle size. Dr. Burtle says most of the lime should pass through a screen size of 200 meshes per inch. Lime larger than 60 mesh is too large; it dissolves too slow. Hydrated lime is a good lime for ponds, because it is more soluble in water than calcium carbonate.

Dr. Burtle recommends apply only 50 lbs of hydrated lime per acre in a single application in order to avoid creating ‘hot spots.’


Lime that passes through a 200 mesh, such as hydrated lime, is recommended for ponds.

Method of Application

If no water is in the pond, agriculture lime can be applied on dry pond bottom. Soil test of pH can determine the need.

With water, the worst thing we can do is dump lime in the pond from the edge. It is also not recommended to lime the perimeter of the pond. You need a boat to do it properly. Specialized equipment is also needed to calibrate correctly. Here In the top photo is Alan Dennard and Ken McKinis liming a pond a few weeks ago. They would make several passes over to not create hot spots.

Leave a comment

Filed under Aquatic Environments, Fertility

Late Planting Of Winter Forage

There’s very little winter forage in the ground if any to consider, but for the most part, we have no forage or grain crops in the ground now. I looked at a field of wheat yesterday – for cover crop – which was very dry. Last night we had 1/2 inch or more of rain, enough to not make a difference. It’s either late or dry. UGA Extension Forage Agronomist Dr. Dennis Hacock has thoughts late planting forage:

For parts of Georgia and the Southeast, the forecast is as favorable as we’ve seen in a long time. Plus, the forecasted amount of rain is significant. This has resulted in a number of livestock producers asking about making late plantings of winter annuals for forage. 

I recently updated an older factsheet that I wrote in 2007 with Dr. Don Ball, now Professor Emeritus at Auburn University. This factsheet, titled Late Plantings of Winter Annual Forages, provides more details on what one should consider when thinking about a late planting of winter annuals. Here’s a summary of the most pertinent parts to today’s considerations:


Planting winter annuals late should be considered VERY RISKY and every consideration to alternatively feeding low-price commodities and by-products (corn gluten, soy hulls, wheat mids, etc.) should be evaluated from an economic standpoint. When making a late planting of winter annuals, it is important to remember that one should consider not only the cost of seed, but also fertilizer, fuel, labor, and other costs, as well as the risk involved. If planting in late fall and early winter, focus on planting annual ryegrass. Annual ryegrass is fairly cold tolerant in the Deep South, and ryegrass seed is relatively inexpensive. Still, if a producer is going to try ryegrass in a planting in late fall or early winter, it makes sense to plant a variety known to have the potential to make early growth. Regardless, one should remember that the late planted crop is at significant risk of winter injury and the grass plants will not have a chance to reach their tillering potential. Certainly, productivity of these forages will be greatly reduced from normal expected yields. It is impossible to predict how much yield reduction will occur, but a good manager that receives favorable weather MAY produce 2000-4000 lbs of dry matter per acre if planting in late fall or early winter with a good ryegrass variety. 

A good rain would do us all good. But, a good rain will not end this drought. We are by no means “out of the woods.” This may be one’s best shot at getting decent winter annual forage growth started, but one should count the costs. If you can afford to take the risk and it is your best option, go for it. But, if you are literally betting the farm on a late winter planting, don’t. The risk is too great! A more expensive alternative that has less risk would be a far better choice.

For more information on how to manage during this drought, visit the drought management page on, which includes management advice, links to hay directories, and much more.

Leave a comment

Filed under Forages

Dusting Wheat?

Jeff Cook is County Agriculture Agent in Taylor & Peach Counties and the Area Peach Agent. He has this information on dusting wheat on his new blog: Three Rivers Ag News

Let me start by saying that I would not do try it. I Actually already did and it died!

Middle Georgia is under the worst drought conditions that many have ever seen. This would say that this is coming at a bad time, but it has been here for quite some time. This drought significantly impacted our warm season agronomic crops, fruits, vegetables and nuts as well as forages, landscapes, timber and wildlife. The conditions are also putting an almost complete halt on planting wheat or other small grains.

The optimum planting window for our area is either one week before or one week after November 17th (our average first frost date). Well, that came and went last week. As we move away from that planting window we begin to gradually lose yield potential. If you wait just two weeks you can easily lose 10 bushels, and easily 20 if you can’t plant until the end of December.

The first thing to consider is what the long-term forecast says. If we get seed planted and we do get rain it will have to be sustained moisture because there is no subsoil moisture for the emerging roots to find. The following is some helpful hints that I gathered from some midwestern states that must face this situation often:

If the dry weather is going to continue, and it appears it will, we should treat the fields like we are planting beyond the optimum plant date. It may be beneficial to up seeding rates and if add a seed treatment fungicide. Starter fertilizers would also be a good idea if prices were better, but I can’t tell anyone to fertilize a crop that may not emerge. The higher seeding rate is to account for reduced tiller production and the seed treatment should help that seed wait on a rain for a longer period of time.

Like I said earlier if we get some small showers it could cause seed to germinate but be unable to reach subsoil water resulting in plant death. Rain just after dusting in a crop can also cause crusting which will keep wheat from breaking the soil surface.

In a normally “dusting in” situation you would plant the seed a little shallower (1/2”) however with the lack of subsoil moisture you will want to go deeper (at least 1- 2”) . Getting the seed to the proper depth will be a challenge in extremely dry soils, so spend a little extra time setting your planter up.

Leave a comment

Filed under Grain

UGA Cotton Market Update


Leave a comment

November 23, 2016 · 2:04 PM