Cotton Efficiency Survey

Professor Jeff Dorfman has helped develop a cotton survey from a research project funded by the Georgia Cotton Commission designed to help Georgia cotton farmers improve their production efficiency. Producer involvement in this research project only involves filling out a questionnaire on various cotton inputs, farm qualities, and personal experience.

You can find the survey at http://www.georgiacottonfarmers.com/.

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Sprayer Clean Out

Thanks to UGA Extension Weed Scientist Dr. Eric Prostko for this update on sprayer cleanout. There is obvious concern about sprayer cleanout after application of Enlist Duo, Engenia, Fexapan, and Xtendimax. Dr. Prostko encourages all applicators to read and follow the specific sprayer clean-out instructions listed on the herbicide labels. Here are some useful links: 

2017 Enlist Duo Product Use Guide (automatic download of document – sprayer clean-out procedures listed on pages 20-21)

http://www.enlist.com/~/media/enlist/enlist-ahead/resource-pdfs/2017_enlistallcrops_pug_final.ashx

Engenia Clean-Out Recomendations:
http://agproducts.basf.us/campaigns/engenia/assets/pdf/Engenia-Spray-System-Cleanout-TIB.pdf

Fexapan Sprayer Cleanout

http://www.dupont.com/products-and-services/crop-protection/soybean-protection/articles/sprayer-cleanout.html

Xtendimax Cleanout (video presentation)
https://youtu.be/LzywJ-YSta4?list=PLWKeHPsbiIP7URV05Y03YTMfYxGLmQ3sF

I called a few local chemical dealers and the following are some commercial tank-cleaners that are currently being sold in Georgia (listed in no particular order):


1) WipeOut XS

https://s3-us-west-1.amazonaws.com/www.agrian.com/pdfs/WipeOut_XS_Label.pdf

2) Valent Tank Cleaner

https://www.valent.com/Data/Labels/1714-B-ValentTankCleaner.pdf

3) Nutra-Sol Tank-Cleaner

http://www.cdms.net/ldat/ldDC2000.pdf

4) All Clear

https://s3-us-west-1.amazonaws.com/www.agrian.com/pdfs/All_Clear_Label4.pdf

5) ProTank Cleaner

http://www.winfield.com/cs/groups/lolweb/@winfield/documents/web_content/ndjf/mzax/~edisp/36142_301402.pdf

6) Neutralize

http://www.cdms.net/ldat/ldDC1000.pdf

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Pecan Budbreak & Cold Weather

It’s been about two weeks since we observes some budbreak in young pecan trees. We had a day of rain across much of the county this week, and it then dropped to 31 degrees Thursday morning. The picture above is an orchard with frost on the ground. What will happen to our trees now? UGA Extension Horticulturalist Dr. Lenny Wells has this to say:

Those areas with forecasts for 30 degrees or more should be ok. Other areas (North GA) that reach temperatures of 28 degrees or less could see damage to any foliage that may already be out. Fortunately, there is very little of this. I have seen and heard of a little sporadic budbreak here and there—mostly on newly planted or very young trees. Those on which the outer scale has split – and you only see a little green peeking through or the buds are just swollen – should be ok. But, any new growth that has started to lengthen and expand will be most susceptible if temperatures stay at 28 degrees or less for a few hours.

Most mature trees still have buds closed or are barely showing some green (most of this is deep into south Georgia). Those trees on which the buds are still closed should be fine. The level of damage a tree receives in this type of situation is completely dependent upon its level of dormancy.

March 3rd, 2017 – Photo by Mat Thompson

Developing foliage exposed to 28 degrees or less for several hours (usually 3 hours or more) will be burnt off by the freeze. The trees will bud out again, but that will probably wipe out any crop on a mature tree for the year. Since there are not many trees out this far yet, we should be ok. Even those on which we see budbreak only have a small percentage of the shoots breaking bud, so this will help.

The biggest danger will come in the form of cold injury, mostly to younger trees. This damage is usually expressed as longitudinal bark splitting, separation of bark from wood, and sunken areas on trunks, browning of the cambium (the normally bright green tissue normally observed just under the surface of the bark when scraping with a pocket knife), and sparse canopy development. Much of this may not be readily obvious until temperatures heat up in May/June and the water demand increases. The freezing temperatures destroy the cambium cells and the tree then can’t get the water and nutrients it needs. Sometimes the trees may have enough healthy tissue to keep it going for a year or more before it collapses. The more dormant the tree is, the less susceptible it will be. If the sap is rising, there is a risk for cold injury. Trees in low elevation areas will be most susceptible. Any damaged trees will then become more attractive and susceptible to ambrosia beetles, so be vigilant for these as well.

Young Elliot – Photo by Mat Thompson

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UGA Cotton Market Update

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Forage Update

Bermuda pasture in late February

Except for this week, pastures are beginning to show some green. With February’s soil temperature high and air conditioning running in the trucks and tractors, everyone wants to get busy doing something. But, doing some things now may not be economical. UGA Extension Forage Agronomist Dr. Dennis Hancock has some answers to the most common questions as of right now:

I’m out of hay. Should I start grazing my permanent pastures now? Care needs to be taken to avoid turning out too early. Grazing fescue before it has at least a good amount of growth (8”) will cost you 25-50% or more of your spring yield potential. Hammering bermudagrass just as it is waking up will also cost you 20-40%+ of its yield potential. Given the duration of last year’s drought and the mild winter, my guess is that we will be on the higher end of that range. At a certain level, feeding hay now (if you can find it… I KNOW) may save grazing days/stocking rate later or even feeding a lot more hay later (especially if the dry spring that is forecast comes true). Just preaching caution.

[More info on this and some of the subjects below are included in “Late Winter Considerations.” This file was a handout from a meeting last week in the “Grazing for Profit” conference in TN. It was prepared by Dr. Jim Green, retired Extension Forage Specialist from NC State Univ. ]

Should I plant ryegrass to try to get some grass? It is very unlikely to be economical. If one counts what they have in it and considers they are probably won’t even get 1 ton/acre out of it (likely to get less than 0.5 tons/acre). More details in the attached article from Jim Green.

Should I fertilize bermudagrass now? It is still VERY early. Bermudagrass’s response to N right now is likely to be less than 10-15 lbs of DM/acre per lb of N applied, which is below or barely breakeven from an economics perspective.  Plus, too much N now could induce more rapid dormancy break and make the plant less hardy if we get a late freeze. Does anybody remember the 2007 Easter freeze? We lost significant acreage of bermudagrass stands due to putting out N too early, and getting 2-3 nights in mid-April below 20 F. This weather then was very similar to this year.

Should I plant pearl millet now? No. Soil temps at a 2” depth have to be above 65 F and stay above 65 F. Yes, soil temps hit 65 F at 2” in some areas this week. BUT, about 6 weeks ago in January they hit that same threshold in Tifton, too! It was crazy risky to plant pearl millet then and it is risky to plant it now. Keep in mind, pearl millet seeds monitor the weather AND the calendar (or, as they know it, daylength). Don’t plant before there are 12 hrs and 20 minutes of day length (Mar. 25). April 1st is a good rule of thumb for earliest plantings. By the way, this applies to sorghum x sudan and sudangrass, too.

What Can I Do? Scout and spray for weeds or stick a soil probe in the ground. After the drought and this wacky winter weather, weeds are gonna eat our lunch this spring if we aren’t careful. A LOT of hay was imported this winter. I’m not saying that hay was completely full of weed seeds, but one can only imagine the problems that were brought in via those bales. Plus, good soil fertility this spring will be crucial to getting the pastures and hayfields off to a good competitive start.

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Fertilizing Late Winter Forage

forage-3

We were months late getting our winter forage planted this year. We didn’t have many options because of this, so most winter forage is ryegrass. Most of it is looking good now and very green. We haven’t had too much rain to leach nutrients, and weather has been similar to a normal October/November. We typically put 50 lbs of N at planting, in winter, and again in spring. We will still be able to get in another few fertilizers if need, but probably one less than normal. At this time, we need to check small grains for deficiency and put on another 50 lbs when we see the lower leaves yellowing.

N deficiency in triticale

N deficiency in small grain

Last season, winter rains leached our nitrogen from the soil, and timeliness with winter fertilization was critical. UGA Forage Agronomist Dr. Dennis Hancock sent out information on ryegrass last year to address issues with heavy rains:

Ryegrass

Standard soil test recommendations are that one should put out 50 lbs of N/acre on ryegrass and small grains in late winter (late January – February) and another 50 lbs of N/acre on ryegrass in early spring (mid-March – mid-April). Applications of N at these rates are likely to result in more than 15-20 lbs of DM per lb of added N for the late winter application and more than 20-25 lbs of DM per lb of added N.  As a general rule of thumb, N response rates greater than 15-20 lbs of DM per lb of added N will result in an economical response.

The response to N (lbs of DM gained per lb of added N) has to be considered in context. To illustrate this, let us consider three scenarios:

Scenario 1) Ryegrass or small grains that have been slow to grow, either because of bad weather or N deficiency (and, sometimes, a late planting). These winter annual forage crops will often respond very aggressively to a winter application (20-30 lbs of DM per lb of added N assuming N rates are 40 – 60+ lbs of N/acre).  It is analogous to compensatory gains in growing livestock. It is the same basic principle: an organism that has had growth limitations will often grow at extraordinary rates whenever those factors are no longer limiting.

Scenario 2) Ryegrass or small grain plantings that have been growing strong. Winter annual forage crops in this scenario are unlikely to respond as aggressively to N at this time. For example, they may barely provide 15 lbs of DM per lb of added N during the few weeks following N application. However, this N is still crucial, as it keeps the plant growing at least at a healthy rate. Therefore, it is important to fertilize them at the same or nearly the same rates because they will need the fertility during the remainder of the season.

Scenario 3) Winter annual forages that have been moderate to severely damaged by disease (Helminthsporium leaf spot, grey leaf spot/blast, leaf rust, or barley yellow dwarf virus, etc.). These forage crops are unlikely to respond to N application. For example, tillers that are exhibiting physical symptoms of barley yellow dwarf (BYD) infection will die quickly, especially following a hard freeze. Therefore, if more than 30% of the tillers in a stand of oats have been damaged by barley yellow dwarf, those plants are unlikely to respond well to N. Each producer will have to determine if they are willing to take the risk, but if it were my oats, I doubt I would put any more N into those areas/fields.

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Warm Winter And Pecans

UGA Extension Pecan Specialist Dr. Lenny Wells has an update on pecans:

We haven’t had much of a winter this year. We’ve only had 4 days where temperatures dipped below freezing in Tifton and the average temperature since November has been 57 degrees as opposed to 55 degrees last winter. We’ve also accumulated only 368 chill hours as opposed to the 559 chill hours we had by this time last year.

Nursery tree leafing out on 2/21/17 - Photo by Dr. Lenny Wells

Nursery tree leafing out on 2/21/17 – Photo by Dr. Lenny Wells

For many fruit trees, once buds have entered dormancy, they will be tolerant to temperatures below freezing and will not grow in response to mid-winter warm spells. These buds remain dormant until they have accumulated sufficient chilling units (CU) of cold weather. When enough chilling accumulates, the buds are ready to grow in response to warm temperatures. As long as there have been enough CUs the flower and leaf buds develop normally. If the buds do not receive sufficient chilling temperatures during winter to completely release dormancy, trees will develop various physiological symptoms associated with insufficient chilling.

Its really not clear how many chill hours pecans need, probably because there is so much variation from one variety to the next. It is reported that 300 -500 chill hours are required for Desirable, Mahan, Success, and Schley, while Stuart reportedly requires from 600-1000 (I think that’s a little high, myself). Interestingly, Terminal buds have lower chill requirements than lateral buds. So, after a cold winter you may have heavier crop loads because more lateral buds flower and get pollinated at the right time.

In general, pecans don’t need a lot of chill hours. At the southern end of its range in Mexico, you can have trees that receive less than 100 chill hours, and still produce nuts. The actual chilling requirement for pecans also varies with fall temperatures. If trees are exposed to cooler fall temps (less than 34 degrees F) the intensity of the bud’s rest is greater and the number of chill hours required for budbreak increases.   But, the colder the winter, the fewer the heat units in spring required to start budbreak. Heat units in spring strongly influence budbreak and drive the progression of the crop’s maturity. So, with a cold winter and warm spring you can actually get a pretty early budbreak.

We had a warm fall, therefore the intensity of the bud’s rest is weak and the number of winter chill hours required for budbreak will be lower. Indeed if you look around at the edges of fields and in the woods you will see red maples, red buds, and oaks budding out. Azaleas are blooming in the yards. And yes, some pecans are even budding out already as you can see from the pictures above. Unless we have a cool spell to slow things down I expect to see a lot of buds breaking within 2 weeks. What will this mean for the crop?

Well, the main thing is we have to hope and pray for a warm spring with no late freeze. Any late freeze down into the 20’s for any significant length of time after the shoots begin expanding, putting on catkins and female flowers will cause serious problems. The tissue would be burnt off by the freeze. The trees would shoot back out, and grow. We would lose that flower crop and some varieties would try to put on more flowers but most of those secondary flowers either wouldn’t develop into nuts or the nuts would be of very poor quality (because pollination would be off).

Beyond a late freeze, the most likely problem will be poor pollination. Because budbreak tends to be so sporadic, staggered, and non-uniform when you have low chill hours, the synchronization of female flowers with male flowers from the pollinators is usually off, leading to poor nut set and poor quality. The more cold snaps we have from here on out, the more non-uniform budbreak and flower development will be. So, from this point on we need it to stay warm.

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