Monthly Archives: February 2016

2016 Southeast Hay Convention

SoutheastHayConvention-2016The 2016 Southeast Hay Convention is planned for March 8-9, 2016 at the Sunbelt Ag Expo grounds in Moultrie, GA. This event follows on the resounding success of our previous programs. This two-day workshop will focus on techniques for producing high yields of high quality hay and baleage, along with a more detailed look at specific topics. The agenda is provided in the Program Details at this link.

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How Will GA’s Rising Pecan Acreage Affect The Long-Term Market For Pecans?

Here is information from UGA Extension Pecan Horticulturalist Dr. Lenny Wells:

I can’t tell you how many times I have been asked about or heard someone comment on the great potential for the pecan market to bottom out a few years down the road thanks to all the new acreage being planted. Make no mistake, anything that goes up is bound to come down at some point. But just how far down do you expect pecan prices to fall? The answer to this question depends on your level of optimism. There are a number of things to consider in all this to truly make an educated guess about the future of the pecan market.

Foremost on this list of considerations would have to be our export market, which is currently driven by China. China’s economy has many people concerned, but the Chinese demand for pecans has remained strong in the face of downturn in their economy. In addition, the fundamentals for long-term growth of the tree nut market, including pecans, in China are in place. There is an excellent article explaining the details of the optimistic outlook for the tree nut market in China available here: China’s Potential as an Export Market for Tree Nuts. The greatest unknown factor we face in the Chinese export market is our future political relationship with China. We all hope this remains strong, but if anything goes wrong, all bets are off. In addition to China, aggressive marketing of pecans is taking place in India, Turkey, and South Korea among others to help grow the world-wide demand for pecans.

Another important aspect that many of the naysayers are probably not considering is the potential of the Federal Marketing Order for pecans, and the this impact for domestic consumption. Growers will be voting on the referendum probably within the next 3 to 6 months. Federal Marketing orders for pecan were attempted in the past, but none has had the unified support the current proposed program has garnered. If the FMO does indeed get voted in, pecans will, for the first time, have significant funding to launch a national marketing campaign on par with some of the other tree nuts, which have reaped great rewards with their own programs. This will allow the pecan industry to get the message out regarding the remarkable health benefits of pecans on a large scale, which is a necessity for increasing domestic demand.

The other necessity for increasing domestic demand for pecans (and this may be the trickiest part) is a solid, consistent supply of pecans. Currently, we do not have the pecans available in the U.S. to develop as large and sustainable a market as we would like to see. This makes it difficult to coax large companies within the food industry to develop, produce, and market products using pecans as ingredients. I hear people constantly groaning that when all these trees we’ve planted come into production, we won’t be able to give pecans away. If we continued down the same path of marketing our crop as it has been done for the last 100 years, they would be correct. But, the fact is, we need the increased production to develop the market we need for pecans. There will likely be growing pains along the way, as we try to balance increasing the demand for the crop with increasing our production. But this is a good problem to have.

And what about the increasing acreage? Just how much is it increasing? And what does this mean for the future volume of pecans produced? Other states are planting pecans, but from what I hear, probably not at the scale Georgia is planting. Let’s look at Georgia to illustrate this point, since Georgia produces about 30% of U.S. pecans. It is extremely difficult to pin down exactly how many acres of pecans we have because of orchard turnover, new plantings, unclear distinctions between managed and hobby orchards, and the complications brought about by the proliferation of yard trees and their inconsistent production.

All this makes Georgia’s pecan acreage virtually impossible to accurately determine. The most recent U.S. Census of Agriculture (2012) placed Georgia’s pecan acreage at 123,415 acres. That same year, the UGA Farm Gate Survey accounted for 163,933 acres. So, lets shoot for somewhere in the middle and say we have 140,000 producing acres. We tend to average somewhere around 95 million lbs of pecans annually. If you do the math using the 140,000 acres that’s an average of only 678 lbs/acre. (This number obviously takes into account production from hobby and non-managed orchards.) Commercial producers in Georgia produce much more than this—usually close to twice that amount—but this brings into question, just how many of these trees being planted now will contribute significantly to future production?

Our survey estimates indicate somewhere around 20,000-25,000 new acres have been planted over the last 5 years in Georgia. At 678 lbs/acre, that’s only another 17 million lbs, which would bring us up to an average annual production of 112 million lbs. With a growing market, I don’t think this number is any a death toll for the pecan industry. We need this production to develop the market we are striving to have.

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Grain Sorghum Varieties Resistant/Tolerant To SCA

We had a great meeting last week with UGA Extension Grain Entomologist Dr. David Buntin. He came to address insect issues in corn and also update us on sugarcane aphids. I worked with many growers on the aphid last season, and our information was very helpful to Dr. Buntin as well. 2015 was our first full year with the aphid. Here are some notes I put together from his meeting which includes some varieties that show resistance/tolerance to SCA:

The varieties below were researched by UGA Extension Entomologist Dr. David Buntin and researchers from LSU or Texas for tolerance/resistance to sugarcane aphids. Remember, no variety is completely resistant to sugarcane aphids. For us in South Georgia, planting with a seed treatment is still advised. Grain sorghum should also be scouted for sugarcane aphids within two weeks of emergence.


The good news is sugarcane aphids do not overwinter in Georgia. But we have to look for them within 2 weeks of planting, especially if we don’t have a seed treatment. All the females are born pregnant, and they have a very high reproduction rate. They are also not known to transmit any viruses.

Varieties reported as having tolerance/resistance to SCA

Georgia State Variety Trial (Dr. David Buntin, UGA)


Dr. David Buntin: Upon evaluation of all grain, silage and forage sorghum entries in the GA state variety trial for SCA resistance/tolerance, DKS 3707 was the most resistance. However, none of the entries were highly resistant. There was very little resistance/tolerance in the silage and forage types.

United States Sorghum Board Results (Researcher at LSU or in Texas)


Seed Treatments


Insecticide Summary for SCA

Foliar Insecticides

  • Threshold: Treat when 50 or more aphids are found on 25 percent of the crop.
  • Sivanto 200SL @ 4 – 10 oz, (21 d PHI); 2ee for 4-7oz.
  • Transform @ 1.0 – 1.5 oz, (14 d PHI); IF Section 18 approved for 2016.
  • Chlorpyrifos @2 pt (60 day PHI), ? Efficacy, 7-10 days.
  • Dimethoate, Lannate, malathion & chlorpyrifos @ 1pt are not effective.
  • Pyrethroids are not effective, because they flare aphids.

SCA Program

  • Add neonicotinoid seed treatment if available.
  • Start with Sivanto, follow with Transform (if available) to rotate chemistries.
  • Transform for harvest infestations (14 d PHI).
  • 2015 research showed adjuvants have little benefit.


  • Ground: 10+ GPA
  • Aerial: 5 GPA

No chemigation for Sivanto or Transform.

No labeled insecticides for sweet sorghum!

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Filed under Entomology, Grain Sorghum

Brown Patch Issues In Turf

We’ve been looking at lawn problems with commercial landscape folks this past week, and I thought I’d put a little piece about what we’re seeing. Brown patch (Rhizoctonia solani) is the most common disease I find, and most common disease the diagnostic lab in Athens sees as well. Down here, we see it in centipede, and also St. Augustine. Brown patch is generally a disease of spring and fall. However, temperatures from October through January have been ideal for this pathogen.

Just after Christmas, I was asked to look at lots of centipede yards from homeowners where symptoms looked like brown patch. On the microscope, I never was able to confirm the pathogen. UGA Extension Pathologist Dr. Elizabeth Little confirmed that too much rain – environmental conditions – was to blame for these problems across the state. Once January freezes began, I had no more calls about lawn issues. Grass finally went dormant where lawns were open. We still have green turf under trees – mostly St. Augustine.

Last week, we looked at some St. Augustine affected with brown patch. Much of it is not dormant. It had been treated three weeks ago. Before this, it was treated in November. This inquired lots of questions like is it active? Should we spray again now?

Upon looking at the yard, the symptoms represented old disease. The disease infected during the warm period sometime between December and January. The recent cold weather is too cold for the pathogen to be active.

St.Augustine-BrownPatch 011

Should we treat now?

There are some spots that appear to show some activity. Conditions that favor brown patch pathogen night temperature above 60 degrees and daytime temperature above 80 degrees. Our days have become warmer, though nights are still cool. A pathogen in infected grass could become active during these temperatures. However, does a small chance at pathogen activity warrant a spray? According to UGA Extension Turf Pathologist Dr. Alfredo Martinez, we need consistent days of 65 degree soil temperatures for the right conditions for Brown Patch to exist. Any fungicide sprays now will likely not be effective.

Fungicide treatments in dormant turf?

When turf is dormant, it is not recommended to apply fungicides. Strobilurins (Heritage) and DMI’s (propiconazole) are systemic in the plant. When turf is dormant, these fungicides – which are our heavy hitters for soil pathogens – are not effective. On the other hand, contact fungicides, like chlorothanonil, may be effective on a pathogen in dormant grass. However, with cold temperatures, the pathogen is less or completely inactive.

Keep in mind that managing disease is more cultural than chemical. With brown patch, we need to limit our nitrogen when disease is active. We may also increase our potash. Fertilizers with K only can be used at the end of the season to increase vigor through winter. We also need to watch irrigation. The most common cultural issue I find is lawns watered 2 and 3 times a week. This makes disease almost certain. We need to irrigate between 9pm and 9am and apply enough to give the turf 1 inch of water per week, once per week. Deep, infrequent water events help increase rooting depth and lessen disease conditions. To see more on brown patch, visit Turf Diseases In Georgia: Identification & Control.

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GA Farm Business Education Conference – Feb 25th

This conference is for both commercial and small farm growers. Growers can waive the late registration fee with the discount code farmone for a total fee of $49. Registration is online here:


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Herbicide Injections, Directed, & Spot Sprays For Pine Release Hardwoods

ChinesePrivet (8)

This is the time of the year when we think about burning and herbicides use when we are trying to clean up hardwoods in pines. When we are preparing to burn and not enough fuel on the ground, we may need to treat individual trees. This past week, I’ve had discussions about wide-spaced injection techniques and basal bark techniques.

Wide-spaced Injection

When we have larger diameter trees, greater than 6″ diameter, we use this technique called hack and squirt. All you need is a small hatched and spray bottle. Imazapyr and triclopyr are commonly used for herbicides which are mixed with water. Depending on concentration of herbicide in solution is how many cuts we make in the tree. If 25% Arsenal AC or 50% Chopper is used, make 1 cut into the stem for each 3″ of tree diameter. (A 3″ diameter stem will receive 1 cut while a 6″ diameter stem will receive 2 cuts.) The cut goes right into the outer bark of the tree. You spray the solution into each cut.

Basal Bark

For hardwoods that are 6″ or less in diameter, we can use a herbicide mix with oil and spray the lower bark. This is called basal bark, thinline, or streamline treatment. We want a 20-30% of triclopyr and a 70-80% oil. You can mix this in a sprayer on a backpack or gallon sprayer. One of the questions we get is type of oil. Deisel fuel is commonly used as the oil, but the smell is not fun to deal with. Here is some information on oils and treatment specifications from UGA Extension Forester Dr. David Moorhead:


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Filed under Forestry, Weed Science

Inzen Z Grain Sorghum And Zest Herbicide

The EPA recently approved the use of Zest herbicide for use in the Inzen Z ALS-tolerant grain sorghum system.  The following are some questions and answers from UGA Extension Weed Sceintist Dr. Eric Prostko that may be helpful to us:

1) What is Inzen Z herbicide-tolerant grain sorghum?

Inzen Z herbicide-tolerant grain sorghum is sorghum that has been traditionally bred (i.e. NON-GMO) for resistance to certain ALS-inhibiting herbicides. This technology was originally developed by Kansas State University and licensed to both DuPont and Advanta Seeds. The resistance to these herbicides came from ALS-resistant shattercane, a close relative of sorghum.

2) What is Zest herbicide?

Zest is a new liquid formulation of the active ingredient, nicosulfuron.  You may recall that nicosulfuron is the active ingredient of the old corn herbicide sold under the trade name of Accent. Nicosulfuron is also an ingredient of several other corn herbicide pre-mixes such as Steadfast Q (nicosulfuron + rimsulfuron) and Revulin Q (nicosulfuron + mesotrione).  The use of Zest herbicide on conventional grain sorghum varieties will result in severe crop injury/death (Figure 1).  At the time this blog was penned, a Zest label was not yet available.  The official Zest label is anticipated in April?


Figure 1. Weed control in Inzen Z grain sorghum with nicosulfuron in 2013. Conventional sorghum variety in right picture was completely killed by nicosulfuron.

3) Has the Inzen Z herbicide-tolerant sorghum been tested system in Georgia?

Yes! UGA weed scientists have worked with this technology for several years.  When available, it will be very beneficial for grain sorghum growers who struggle with Texas millet/buffalograss control.  However, resistance management will be crucial to the long-term viability of this technology. Georgia growers will be encouraged to start clean, use a residual herbicide at planting (Dual or Warrant), tank-mix atrazine with the POST application of Zest (Figure 2), and rotate crops.


Figure 2. Weed control in Inzen Z grain sorghum – 2014.

4) Will Inzen Z grain sorghum hybrids be available to Georgia growers?

Since Georgia is not a leading producer of grain sorghum (only 50,000 acres planted in 2015). I expect our growers will be on the end of the list in terms of getting hybrids that are well-adapted to our region.  In 2016, Advanta (Alta Seeds) is scheduled to release one Inzen Z hybrid to a small group of growers in Kansas and Texas.  In 2017, Advanta hopes to launch an additional two Inzen Z hybrids. Pioneer will potentially launch in 2018.


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Filed under Grain Sorghum, Weed Science

Small Grain Issues

Triticale 026

We spent lots of time this past week looking at grazing and small grain crops. This photo of triticale above is real common in many fields. Stripes indicate nitrogen deficiency between former layby rows. This time last year, we were also seeing affects of barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV) which is vectored by aphids. Last season, aphids were very bad early (November and December). The earlier planting of small grain/forage crops is more likely to contract BYDV based on early aphid presence. The issue is that we must plant our grazing earlier so they are established.

The presence of aphids were low early this season – opposite of last year. Following Christmas, however, I noticed evidence of aphid feeding was showing up in all small grains. We are now seeing symptoms of BYDV in some fields. The difference in cold injury, BYDV, phosphorus, and nitrogen and potash deficiency can be difficult to tell. Additionally, all elements depend on all other elements – if one is deficient, the whole thing collapses. UGA Extension Forage Agronomist Dr. Dennis Hancock sums up some of the issues we are seeing in the field:

Discoloration can mean different things in different situations. Yellow tips and leaf margins usually mean K deficiency, if N is sufficient. Yellow to tan tips but not leaf margins usually mean cold injury. Purpling tips usually means cold injury, but if temps have been mostly mild and we are dealing with susceptible species (oats, wheat, etc.), then it could also mean BYDV – especially if yellowing extends all the way to the base. Purpling at the base of the plant can also be cold temperature related or it could mean P deficiency. Usually in those situations, it is actually P deficient because of the cold (which slows down mycorrhizal fungi that assist the plant in absorbing P and Zn).

Lower leaves of triticale showing tip burn

Lower leaves of triticale showing tip burn

Symptoms of BYDV on oats

Classic symptoms of BYDV on oats

Fields have been wet the past 2 weeks, and anaerobic conditions could also be causing problems. Growers have been sidedressing when fields have been dry enough. Looking over the past month, some fields are looking better.


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Filed under Disease, Forages, Grain

El Niño Update

Here is a climate update from UGA Extension Climatologist Pam Knox:

If you’ve been following the news this year, you already know that we are in the middle of one of the strongest El Niños since the 1950s.  An El Niño is a climate event related to a weakening of the trade winds in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and the movement of sun-warmed surface water eastward towards the coasts of Peru and Ecuador.  Thunderstorms that develop over the warm water divert the subtropical jet to the north. 

In this year’s El Niño, the jet has pushed one storm after another across the Florida peninsula as well as Alabama and Georgia, leading to unusually wet conditions across many areas.  Normally, when we have an El Niño, our temperatures are cooler than normal due to the extra-cloudy conditions.  However, this (past) December was way above normal in temperature when Arctic air that normally makes it down to the Southeast, got trapped near the poles.  Since the beginning of January, our temperatures have returned to more normal winter conditions.

What is next for El Niño? 

It looks like the warming is near its peak, as expected, and the predictions are for a rapid decline to neutral conditions.  This could occur by late spring but are more likely in early summer.  And after that?  Five of the last six strong El Niños have swung to the opposite phase, a La Niña. This could occur by mid- to late summer.

What does this mean for peanut growers in the Southeast?

Continuing rains from the current El Niño are likely to give us ample soil moisture going into the spring.  This may cause problems getting into some fields that are prone to wet conditions.  The first part of the summer should have plenty of rain.  However, once the La Niña kicks in, drier than normal conditions are expected all the way through fall.  That will help with harvest but might make drought more likely.

The one wild-card in this forecast is the effect of tropical storm activity in the Atlantic Ocean basin.  La Niñas are often associated with above-normal number of Atlantic hurricanes.  If you are in the path of one of those storms, you could see a lot of rain even if the storm is not that strong.  But it’s far too early to predict where those storms are likely to go, so plan for dry conditions later in the summer unless a storm heads for your farm.

The La Niña is likely to last through next winter, which means warmer and drier conditions may occur next November through March.

If you want to see the impacts of El Niño and La Niña on peanut production, you can use and view maps of peanut yield by El Niño phase.

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2016 UGA & GA Department of Ag Required Classroom Trainings for Applying Auxin Herbicides In Auxin-Tolerant Technologies

Cotton and soybean varieties with tolerance to auxin herbicides (2,4-D or dicamba) are nearing commercialization. Prior to making applications of dicamba to dicamba-tolerant cotton/soybean or 2,4-D to 2,4-D-tolerant cotton/soybeans in Georgia, growers will be required to attend the training “Using Pesticides Wisely”. The training will focus on helping applicators/growers make wise decisions when applying not only 2,4-D and dicamba but all pesticides. Growers are strongly encouraged to bring their applicators with them. Attendance is suggested for all on farm applicators to confirm that they are educated in best management practices when applying all pesticides.

Growers that attended trainings during 2015, as long as they registered, are not required to attend the meeting again. However, they are welcome to attend as many times as they like. The trainings last year resulted in 1061 Georgia growers completing the required training. A survey conducted of these trainings noted 99% of these growers felt the training was worth their time and 98% of them felt the training would help them increase on-target pesticide applications. If you have questions concerning your 2015 registration, please contact your local county extension office.

For growers who have not attended this training, options for 2016 are listed below. Select a time/location and RSVP to the specific location for attendance. The required trainings will dover a 2 to 2.5 hour time and will provide pesticide credit. Snack and drinks will be provided (no meal.)


SCGADicambaTrainings SEGADicambaTrainings


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Filed under Cotton, Weed Science