Monthly Archives: September 2015

Cotton Defoliation

CottonDefoliated (2)

I have been asked if I have seen any yet. I’ve seen a few fields defoliated this week, all dryland fields. Many fields are approaching defoliation. Here are some thoughts from UGA Extension Cotton Agronomist Dr. Jared Whitaker:

  1. Timing60 – 75% open bolls OR 3 to 4 nodes above cracked boll.
    Growers want to wait until later, with this year could lose significant yield and quality if weathering occurs and lower positions rot or fall off. I’m always happier if we go earlier than later.
  2. Defoliation mixes – There are a thousand RIGHT ways to do it. To keep from getting bogged down with the details and because it’s the most consistent effective treatment we have I always start with what I call the “3-WAY” idea.
    This 3-way includes ethephon (PREP), Thidiazuron (Dropp, TDZ, Freefall) and Tribufos (Def or Folex).
  3. Adjuvants – (1) You don’t need one if you have Tribufos in the mix (2) if the label requires it, then its ok, the PPO herbicides (Aim, ET, Display, etc.) require them. (3) Adjuvants most always heat the mix up which can be ok later in the year in cooler conditions.
  4. Water Volume – MORE WATER THE BETTER, I would love it if everyone use 20 GPA with defoliant applications. 15 GPA is ok, but it’s important for me to point out that I can use less product and be more effective if I use higher rates of water. Airplanes – they only go 2.5 to 5 GPA, but if done properly product is pushed into the canopy and often aerial applications can be just as good as ground applications.
  5. MORNINGGLORIES – Our herbicide programs have become weak on MG’s and often we think about using something in the defoliation mix to help with harvest. A couple of thoughts on this. (1) the vines are the issue for cotton harvest and remember where they are when the canopy is full before defoliation (2) several products work with MG’s and all are PPO herbicides (which I consider to be very inconsistent with regards to defoliation this time of year compared to folex) (3) if I was going to include it in defoliation, I would use it in place of folex in the three way or (I like better) cut the folex rate back significantly. (4) MY THOUGHTS ON HOW TO HANDLE MORNINGLORY IN COTTON FIELDS THIS TIME OF YEAR — use a normal defoliation mixture and wait till at least the upper canopy is defoliated (5-8 days), then mix up your MG product and spray where needed. This will be much more effective on MG and also be a way to clean up what the first shot of defoliant missed.
  6. PRICES – Cotton producers are facing situations with $ related to cotton prices. Often there are growers who want to defoliate the crop as inexpensively as possible. I truly understand their situation and realize that growing cotton isn’t cheap, but having said that I think we can defoliate most of our crop for less than $15 per acre, and more importantly less than $10 per acre this time of year (WITH the 3-way mixes in the presentation). I know that’s a lot of money, but we’ve gotten this far and its important to do a good job with defoliation. You can go cheaper with some other options, but most all of the time they are less effective and less consistent and really aren’t that much cheaper.

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Controlling Briars

Blackberry (2)

Briars such as blackberry and dewberry are seen in pastures this time of year. UGA Forage Team Memeber and Miller County Agent Brock Ward has come up with some pointers on controlling these weeds:

There are many bramble type weeds that are called blackberries by area forage producers. These weeds often require significant growth before we can tell them apart. The good news is that they generally can be controlled using the same chemistry.

For areas where briars are a problem, control is a matter of herbicide timing. For instance, if spring was the first time a bramble weed was identified, you can wait until late September or mid-October to apply a herbicide. Waiting until fall is preferred because most of the herbicides are systemic and need adequate leaf surface to take in the chemical for translocation. During the Fall, the weeds prepare for overwintering.

Water is also needed for many of our herbicides to affect the plants. Timing application both after and ahead of a rain / irrigation will help ensure the plant is actively growing to maximize efficacy. Applying herbicides to drought stressed weeds can lead to a failure in control. Moisture stress can cause the cuticle on the leaf to harden off which reduces herbicide penetration. Delaying applications until brambles have recovered from drought stress will enhance herbicide absorption and improve efficacy for control. It will also take some time for the herbicides to fully control the weeds. Waiting six to eight weeks before mowing the weeds after application of a herbicide is recommended.



If the weeds have been previously mowed or a mature stand is currently overgrown, the area needs to be evaluated and managed to get herbicide on the actively growing material. In the case where a large mass of weeds have grown for more than two seasons, mow the weeds to get a flush of younger, more susceptible leaf tissue. This can be timed by cutting about six months before applying the chemical. A potential method is to cut in the fall through late winter and treat in the fall of the next year. This allows the foliage to have adequate growth for the herbicide to interact with and get better control.

To help your county agent with the herbicide decision, be prepared to discuss your desired grass or forage and what you are looking to control. Oftentimes there are numerous weed species needing treatment. We may prioritize weeds of greatest concern. In most cases, control of multiple broadleaf species with a single application can occur, but timing is critical.

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Pecan Spray Coverage

UGA Extension Pecan Horticulturalist Dr. Lenny Wells shared this demonstration of sprayer coverage at the GPGA Field Day in Byron:

Many growers use a two-sided air blast sprayer to spray pecan trees. Spraying out of 2 sides has its advantages in allowing you to get over the orchard much quicker, but this comes at a cost. On a small tree of 30-40 feet it won’t matter all that much. You get adequate coverage with 2-sided spraying up to this height.

By adding a volute to the sprayer, allowing you to direct all the spray to one side, you obtain better coverage over the whole tree, especially for old, mature trees. Dr. Clive Bock with USDA demonstrated this at the field day by applying Surround, a Kaolin clay-based product used for preventing sunscald on fruit and vegetable crops, to pecan trees with an air blast sprayer. Surround coats the surface of the spray target with a fine, chalky, white substance, which becomes highly visible. This allows you to see just how good your sprayer coverage is.

Surround applied to a 60-foot tree without a volute

Surround applied to a 60-foot tree without a volute

The image above shows that spraying out of both sides (without a volute) provides good coverage up to approximately 40 feet, with very little coverage above that level.

Surround applied to 60-foot tree with volute

Surround applied to 60-foot tree with volute

This image shows that you get good coverage up to the top of the tree when spraying out of one side with a volute directing all the spray to one side.

Non-sprayed side of a tree sprayed with Surround

Non-sprayed side of a tree sprayed with Surround

This image shows the non-sprayed side of a tree sprayed with Surround. Virtually none of the chemical makes it to this side of the tree.

I’ve seen many cases of poor spray coverage in orchards in which the bottom 1/3 of the tree was scab-free but the top 2/3 was suffering severe losses to scab. In this situation we always tell growers that the problem is coverage. However, the growers first response is usually that there is a problem with the fungicide. The images above show convincingly that coverage is the biggest problem in this situation.

In addition, I know of many growers who choose to spray every other middle with a 2-sided sprayer each week. I’ve long been skeptical of this practice. These images pretty well show that when you spray in this manner, you are covering about 1/3 of the tree with fungicide every other week while getting almost none to the other side of the tree. Therefore, in a wet year, scab can be expected to be a problem with this scenario of poor coverage.

If a grower is spraying large trees out of both sides of the sprayer, they are obviously not doing an adequate job. In order to get better spray coverage there would basically be two options: 1) add a volute to the sprayer, and spray up one side of the tree and back down the other side on every spray. If you don’t have enough sprayers to get over the acreage in sufficient time, buy an additional sprayer, or 2) hedge the trees to keep them at about a 40′ height.

Many thanks to Dr. Bock and others at USDA who provided this demonstration.

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2015 Southeastern Hay Contest


Hay and baleage producers in the Southeast could earn major prizes in this year’s Southeastern Hay Contest at the Sunbelt Ag Expo. The 2015 SE Hay Contest is presented by Massey Ferguson. As a result of Massey Ferguson’s sponsorship and major support from sponsors for each of the seven categories in the SE Hay Contest, category winners can win cash and, in some cases, free use of Massey Ferguson hay equipment.

Since 2004, the SE Hay Contest has been spotlighting high quality hay and baleage production in the Southeast. The Cooperative Extension programs in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina have organized the SE Hay Contest since its inception. Dr. Dennis Hancock, Extension Forage Specialist from the University of Georgia, is this year’s director of the SE Hay Contest. “We hope every high quality hay producer from Texas to Virginia will enter for a chance to win,” says Hancock. “Our goal is to demonstrate the potential to produce high quality hay and baleage in the Southeast. Just as important, we want to highlight the technology that makes it all possible.”

Forage growers in the SE have increased the quality of their forage because of unprecedented prices in most livestock sectors, great demand for their products, and a need for efficiency due to high input costs. “The key to success has always been timely management,” says Hancock. Dr. Hancock also points out that good management has been made more efficient with the use of improved forage varieties, advanced harvest equipment, and other technologies that have come to the market during the last decade. “It is hard to recall a more exciting time in the hay and forage industry.”

Massey Ferguson has joined the effort by being the title sponsor for the SE Hay Contest. They will be providing the Grand Prize of a new Massey Ferguson RK Series rotary rake for the 2016 hay production season and a $1000 cash prize. Additionally, Massey Ferguson will be providing the winner of 1st Prize in the Warm Season Perennial Grass Category with the use of a new DM Series Professional disc mower for the 2016 hay production season.

Each of the 7 categories has been sponsored by additional industry partners. These sponsorships will provide cash awards to the top 3 places in each category, including $125 for 1st prize, $75 for 2nd prize, and $50 for 3rd prize.

Dr. Hancock encourages producers from all 13 southeastern states to check out the rules and entry forms and enter. The deadline for entry into the SE Hay Contest is 5 p.m. on Monday, September 28, 2015. More information about the Contest, including the rules and entry forms, is available at Also follow the Southeastern Hay Contest on Twitter (@SEHayContest) and Facebook ( for periodic articles, updates, and timely information on producing high quality hay and baleage.

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Asian Soybean Rust Found In Decatur County

Seminole Crop E News

Asian soybean rust has finally been found in Georgia in 2015.  The disease was found on soybean leaves from sentinel plots in Attapulgus, Decatur County.  Asian soybean rust has been slow to develop in Georgia and Alabama this year, but has been found scattered throughout Mississippi.


Dr. Bob Kemerait, UGA Extension Plant Pathologist says, “Any soybeans that have reached full seed/R6 growth stages are “safe”.  Younger beans (especially those in early pod development stages in the southern part of the state) are still vulnerable to the disease.  With recent rainfall patterns and cooler temperatures, the disease could begin to spread more quickly.”

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Pre-Harvest Herbicide Applications In Peanuts


Been seeing some annual morningglory in peanuts. UGA Extension Weed Scientist Dr. Eric Prostko has this to say about control:

In most cases, it is too late in the year to legally apply herbicides. Pre-harvest intervals (PHI) of peanut herbicides with POST activity on annual morningglory are as follows: Cadre = 90 days; Cobra = 45 days; Ultra Blazer = 75 days; 2,4-DB = 45-60 days. In my opinion, the best thing a grower can do for annual morningglory (now) is to apply a pre-harvest application of either Aim or ET (i.e. 7 days before digging).  Both herbicides will provide sufficient dessication of annual morningglory plants (except smallflower) to improve peanut vine flow through a digger with minimal effect on the peanuts. It is very important that the peanuts be dug in 7 days after treatment (or as soon as possible after that time).  If digging is delayed, the morningglory vines could start to recover/regrow especially after a rainfall event.

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