Hurricane Dorian

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Photo Credit: New York Post

I thought I would share some information from Pam Knox about the hurricane and it’s potential impacts, she says; If you are feeling whiplash from all the media attention on Hurricane Dorian, you are not alone. Any potential for a big storm is going to bring out a lot of media attention, good and bad, and this certainly has the potential to be very bad. Here are a few of my thoughts while looking at all the content online.

  1. I love to look at spaghetti maps showing all the possible solutions for what “could be” the path of the storm. Of course you have to realize that most of them will never happen, but if you are someone who needs to know how bad it could be, the spaghetti models do tell you the envelope of possibilities. The important thing is not to focus on any one track but to look at both how they are scattered over time and space and how much they change from one set of runs to the next. Confidence grows when most of the models agree. Low confidence at the end of 5 days shows up as the wide “bulb” on the end of the cone from the National Hurricane Center, since at that point the center of Dorian could be almost anywhere in that circle.
  2. The timing of the storm hitting Florida (if it does) is going to be key to some of the impacts that will be seen. The slower the storm moves, the less certain we are about where it is going, because it is more subject to a variety of pushes from the atmospheric circulation and we don’t know which ones will be strongest. Another issue with slow storms is that they bring the wind and rain over the same area for a long time. I am sure the wind is bad enough, but for me the rain is worse because of the damage it can do on the ground. And of course the combination of wind and wet soil will push a lot of trees over, causing problems with power and roads, potentially for a long time if they are down over a wide area.
  3. Also, the slower the storm goes, the longer the impacts will be for somebody. If it slows way down, it may still be affecting areas along the East Coast for a week after landfall.
  4. Any time a storm hits the Florida peninsula, evacuations cause a lot of problems with traffic. Hurricane Matthew in 2017 followed a path right along the East Coast, driving waves of evacuees ahead of it filling up the interstates and using a lot of gas. Don’t be caught unprepared.
  5. Impacts from hurricanes can happen a long way outside the cone, it is still going to cause problems far away from the center. In particular, I think the Atlantic coast is going to be affected for quite a while by onshore flow around the storm. The onshore flow will also bring in plenty of moisture to form rain, and that can happen far ahead of the storm, so just because the storm is not near you it does not mean that you are not going to see impacts. One of the worst scenarios I saw today (from a single model, so hopefully not too likely to happen) was for the storm to amble slowly up the East Coast, dropping up to 20 inches of rain on the coastal plain of Georgia and South Carolina over the next ten days.

As for row crop farmers:  if you do experience damage to your crop contact your local crop insurance agent or FSA office as soon as you can.  Take pictures of damage, do not burn debris, and delay cleanup until it has been assessed by an FSA representative or crop insurance agent.  You must notify your crop insurance agent within 72 hours of a loss before abandoning the crop.  A declaration of loss must be written and signed within 15 days.  Also, track cleanup related expenses.  However, if there is a salvageable crop in the field, it should be picked, or this will county against your established yield.  We still have a lot of time before we know for certain how this will affect our area, and hopefully it doesn’t, but if you have questions about how to prepare feel free to call the Extension Office or access online resources. Be safe this weekend and coming week!

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Cotton and Peanut PGR’s


Cotton-Irrigation 007

Cotton planted in Thomas County is presently in several different growth stages, from just a few true leaves to bloom.  Growth has improved now that we have gotten some rain and temperatures have decreased. Now that our cotton is growing again we need to control vegetative growth in order for the plant to allocate resources toward the fruiting structures on the plant. Mepiquat is one tool that is specifically used to manage “rank” vegetative growth. This shortens the plant’s internodes, reduces leaf area, reduces carbohydrate stress, and contributes to earlier maturity. Some things to consider when applying PGR’s in cotton are: growth stage, growth rate, pest control, and anticipated growth based on field history and management practices. Low rate applications can be made during the second week of squaring in irrigated fields and apply on a 14 day interval up to 4 times. A more aggressive approach is to apply 8-12 oz. per acre at first bloom and make a second application two to three weeks later. In dryland cotton, applying 8 oz. per acre at first bloom and potentially follow with subsequent applications.

In peanuts, growth regulators are seldom used, but can be beneficial. Prohexadione calcium, or Apogee or Kudos, are the only growth regulators registered for peanut applications. Some positive results from using Apogee included reduced vine length. This allowed for increased efficiency during digging, however, there was no consistent yield increase. If you think that this may be helpful to you, 7.25 oz. per acre should be applied once 50% of lateral vines are touching and then applied again 2-3 weeks later. Timing of these applications is very important and should only be used on irrigated peanuts. Our peanut scientists are still researching the use of these products so more information will be available soon. Please contact me at the extension office with any questions.

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Rain in the Forcast

Image result for drought stressed cotton

Image from: Biochemical, Physiological and Molecular Avenues for Combating Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Plants. 2018: 297-316

Thomas County has not seen a significant rainfall event in the past 30 days.   Low humidity is also leading to high evapotranspiration.  Recently we have been losing up to .30 in. from evaporation each day.  All shallow soil moisture has basically been depleted at this point.  Shallow soil temperatures are also very high – 88 degrees yesterday.  Small tender plants are really suffering in this heat – the best solution for many growers is to irrigate at night (which is very difficult logistically because it takes up to 12 hours or more for a pivot to make a full rotation).  Cotton and peanuts are in the early stages of production so all that has mainly been affected is emergence – many have had to replant.  Those with irrigation systems can manage this issue, but those without need only pray for rain and manage weed and insect issues which have been made worse by the dry heat.  Weeds are more competitive in this environment and insects have moved off of other drought stressed plants onto more tender, newly emerged crops.  Good news – once cotton and peanut crops have emerged water demand is low (about a half in per week).  In an average year – we have no average years – this would be taken care of by rainfall.  By late June cotton and peanuts will be in peak water demand.  Approaching or in tasseling stage corn so yields are also being severely affected due to water requirements being about 2.5 in per week.  Pecans are also in need of irrigation with the onset of nut sizing coming up.   With temperatures up around 100 degrees for several days growers will be tempted to increase the irrigation further, but this is not necessary.  Pecan can still function normally at temps of 106 degrees as long as they have the water they need. Temperatures are much cooler at night though, which allows for some recovery for our crops.  Rain is also in the forecast for this weekend so hopefully we can all get some relief soon.  If not, good record-keeping and sound irrigation strategies can increase profitability in several different ways – reducing irrigation costs through reducing energy costs, and increasing yield.

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Pecan Water Requirements and Heat

We have some very high temperatures in the forecast for the next several days. With this in mind, I wanted to provide some irrigation suggestions. The irrigation schedule below is the recommended schedule for drip and microsprinkler on pecan in Georgia. As you can see you should move up to 35-40% of the maximum amount in June. It is probably a good idea to go ahead and move to that June rate at this point with the high temps and the onset of nut sizing coming up. With temperatures up around 100 degrees for several days growers will be tempted to increase the irrigation further. However, this is not necessary. Pecans are adapted to heat, and in fact, need it. Photosynthesis begins to shut down in many plants once temps get above 94 degrees. Pecan, however, can still function normally at temps of 106 degrees as long as they have the water they need. The June rate of 35-40% of maximum is adequate for mature pecan trees on drip or micro-sprinkler at this time. For solid set systems you should be at 1″ per week.

For non-bearing trees, I would go up to as much as 170 gallons/week during the heat wave and dry weather on sandy soils.


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Peanut Weed Control Update for May 23 (Prostko)

A few things to think about in regards to peanut weed control given the current weather conditions:

1)  Rainfall events on Mother’s Day Weekend (May 9-13) caused some Valor related peanut problems in many areas of south Georgia (Figure 1).  Since I have addressed this issue numerous times in other blogs, I feel no need to bloviate any further.  But, this problem should not be a surprise to anyone who has ever used Valor in the past.  Valor injury will almost always happen when rainfall events occur from cracking up until about 2-3 weeks later.  Historically, this injury has been cosmetic only and not resulted in reduced peanut yields.

Figure 1.  Valor injury at UGA Ponder Farm, May 14, 2019.

2) Cracking/EPOST applications of paraquat mixtures or solo applied Storm or Ultra Blazer should be delayed as late as possible in peanut fields suffering from Valor injury.  I would argue that if Valor injury has occurred, then good weed control has also occurred and a cracking treatment might not really be needed.  Paraquat treatments can safely be applied in peanuts up to 28 days after cracking.

3) Common paraquat mixtures include paraquat + Storm or Basagran + Dual Magnum or Warrant or Zidua.   I have no preference between Dual Magnum, Warrant or Zidua.   There is no need for additional adjuvants with Dual Magnum mixes but a NIS (0.25% v/v) should be used in Warrant or Zidua + paraquat tank-mixes.  FYI, I am not a huge fan of paraquat + Dual Magnum or Warrant or Zidua without any Basagran/Storm due to greater injury potential that might reduce yields (especially under these lava-like weather conditions). Also, paraquat without Basagran/Storm is not very effective on smallflower mg (Figure 2).

Figure 2.  Smallflower morninglory

3) With paraquat mixes, I prefer Storm (bentazon + acifluorfen) over Basagran (bentazon) due to the variety of weeds that can occur in any given peanut field in Georgia.  My typical recommended use rate of Storm in EPOST paraquat tank-mixes is 16 oz/A.  If need be, growers can make their own “Georgia” Storm by mixing 16 oz/A of Ultra Blazer 2SL + 8 oz/A of Basagran 4SL (yesthis is a slightly hotter mix than 16 oz/A of Storm).

4) It is very hot and very dry right now.  Non-irrigated growers who were planning on using paraquat tank-mixes after peanut emergence might want to re-considering their options.  Why?  Rainfall/irrigation is critical in helping peanut plants recover from paraquat injury.  I do not think that irrigated growers need to worry about this issue since they can help the peanut plants recover from paraquat injury with well-timed irrigation events.

5) When paraquat + Storm/Basagran + Dual/Warrant/Zidua mixtures are applied in peanut, there is no need to be a great ID’er of weeds since these mixes control just about everything (small grasses and small broadleaf weeds).  But, if a non-irrigated grower decides to go with something other than paraquat mixtures (which is fine), such as Ultra Blazer or Strongarm or Cadre or 2,4-DB, they better know what is in the field since these herbicides are not as broad spectrum.  I am not comfortable with very early applications of Cobra unless the peanut plants have reached the 6 true leaf stage.

6) No matter what I say or do, if it don’t rain, it don’t matter! (That’s a famous quote from former UGA Extension Peanut Specialist, Dr. John Baldwin)

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Two Remaining UPW Trainings


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April 11, 2019 · 8:22 PM

Paraquat Certified Applicator Training Required Before Applying Paraquat After March 8, 2019. (Culpepper/Prostko).

Below is a new requirement for anyone that applies paraquat (Firestorm, Gramoxone, Helmquat, Parazone, etc.) from this point forward. Sarah Grayce Culpepper (my daughter) and I took the test this morning. It was actually fairly interesting, especially to her, and even kept her entertained for the entire training module…..I was very surprised. We then took the test where she got 14 of the 15 questions correct; I changed the one she had wrong so we would get a 100 which is required to get the certificate for me to be able to apply paraquat.

All in all, this is an excellent course about stewarding pesticides and continues to support UGA’s overall mission. I believe (but not completely sure) that one of the very sad case studies with paraquat poisoning discussed in the training occurred in GA.

Couple of thoughts:
As a first time user, I did have to create an account with eXtension by clicking on the link in the information below. It took about 10 minutes to get it set up for me to be able to get to the module.
It took 29 minutes for us to take the course…….our internet is rather slow.
Sarah Grayce and I took the test together which took 11 minutes. (if you do not make 100, you have to keep taking test until you get 100 so that would add a little more time).
Took 4 minutes to figure out how to print certificate; make sure to print certificate.
The issue that many of us (growers/applicators) throughout Georgia either do not have access to the on-line training or do not know to make the technology work is real. Please consider ways to help; even though we know each of you are way too overwhelmed.
We will add a very brief statement at the end of our UPW trainings and any remaining weed meetings to help share the information.
Paraquat is an IMPORTANT part of nearly every single sound management program UGA weed science recommends in agronomic crops.
Critical points to remember include: a) paraquat can only be applied by a certified pesticide applicator and b) an EPA-approved paraquat training is required every 3 years.
For complete information about this new required training program please refer to the following web-site:

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