Monthly Archives: November 2016

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.

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Filed under Grain

UGA Cotton Market Update


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November 23, 2016 · 2:04 PM

More Bark Beetle Attacks?

With the persistence of this drought, we may see more bark beetle attacks. For the first time, I witnessed two Ips engraver attacks on the same property. The two attacks occurred four weeks apart. The scenario required for Ips attacks is not usually reoccurring. Because they attack only stressed trees, Ips usually leave the scene and are done. Could it be that stress from the drought is causing trees to release the stress pheromones that attracts the beetles?

Ips Engraver Beetle-UGA

Ips Engraver Beetle-UGA

There are a few species of beetles that cause problems in pine stands. The Southern Pine Beetle and Ips Engraver Beetle bore into trees and induce the blue stain fungus. This fungus clogs the vascular tissue of the tree and kills it. The difference in the two species is that Ips beetles rarely if ever attack a healthy tree. Pheromones (chemical signals) from a dying or distressed tree are picked up by Ips beetles. These are usually lightening struck trees. Once Ips beetles show up, they only attack a few trees and leave. Sometimes I see 3 trees in a stand killed and as many as 8 trees killed last week.


Other than a tree that suddenly dies,  the most common sign of an Ips attack is pitch tubes on the side of the tree. Once the adult beetle bore into the tree, the tree exudes sap to counter the beetle. The sap piles up and look like pieces of bubble gum attached to the tree. The center of the tube contains a hole through which the adult beetle enters the inner bark. If no hole is present in the pitch tube, the beetle attack was unsuccessful.

Boring dust and pitch from Ips attack

Boring dust and pitch from Ips attack

PitchTubes (2)

Holes in pitch tubes where adult beetles entered the tree

An addition to the presence of pitch tubes, the adults construct egg galleries in the inner bark. These galleries are in certain shapes. Ips usually follow the wood grain, and have a “Y”- or “H”-shaped gallery patterns. I took my knife and scratched some outside bark away to find a few galleries.

Egg galleries of Ips beetle attack

Egg galleries of Ips beetle attack


A common question is should we cut the trees down? Shortly  after the initial attack, needles at the crown turn yellow then brown. This happens quickly. Once we notice the trees are dead, the Ips beetles have already moved out. UGA Extension Forestry Specialist Dr. David Moorhead says in a pine stand, we actually do more damage cutting down a few dead trees than if they are left alone. The only time we would cut down trees is for 1) astetic reasons or 2) they pose a risk if fallen.

We can also use insecticides, but the issue is Ips attacks are difficult to predict and they enter the tree high up – you would have to cover the tree. The third beetle species is black turpentine beetles. They attack trees at the base and move about 5 feet high. However, their risk is minimal since they do no carry blue-stain fungus.

Cross section view of blue stain fungus

Cross section view of blue stain fungus

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Filed under Entomology, Forestry

Zest Approved For Use In Inzen Grain Sorghum

Zest™ 75WDG (nicosulfuron) has received Georgia approval for use on Inzen™ herbicide-tolerant grain sorghum varieties. Grain sorghum growers who use this technology will now be able to get better POST control of Texas panicum and other grasses. Nicosulfuron is the same active ingredient in Accent, which is registered for use on field corn.

A couple of reminders from UGA Extension Weed Scientist Dr. Eric Prostko:

1) Zest can only be used on Inzen herbicide-tolerant grain sorghum varieties. The use of Zest on conventional sorghum varieties will result in crop death! Inzen grain sorghum varieties are not GMO’s.

2) The current formulation of Zest is a WDG.  I have been testing a liquid formulation so rates would be different in any slides you have previously seen from me.

3) UGA has limited variety performance data (i.e. none).  As far as I know, the only company with Inzen varieties is Advanta/Alta (  Pioneer will likely have some varieties in 2018 or 2019?  Thus, I would suggest Georgia sorghum growers proceed with caution until an adapted variety is identified.  I have not been overly impressed with the varieties that I have been testing up until now.

4) I would still recommend the use of Concep treated seed + a PRE application of Dual or Warrant in this system.  Atrazine should be tank-mixed with Zest to improve the control of broadleaf weeds.

5) A copy of the complete Zest label can be accessed from the following location:

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Filed under Grain Sorghum, Weed Science

How Much Hay Will A Cow Consume?

We are pretty much past the point of being able to establish winter forages with our drought persisting. We generally don’t feed hay until Thanksgiving, but our cattlemen have been feeding hay for a while now. Here is a great article by Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Emeritus Extension Animal Scientist.
Estimating forage usage by cows is an important part of the task of calculating winter feed needs.  Hay or standing forage intake must be estimated in order to make the calculations.  Forage quality will be a determining factor in the amount of forage consumed.  Higher quality forages contain larger concentrations of important nutrients so animals consuming these forages should be more likely to meet their nutrient needs from the forages.  Also cows can consume a larger quantity of higher quality forages.

Higher quality forages are fermented more rapidly in the rumen leaving a void that the animal can re-fill with additional forage.  Consequently, forage intake increases.  For example, low quality forages (below about 6% crude protein) will be consumed at about 1.5% of body weight (on a dry matter basis) per day.  Higher quality grass hays (above 8% crude protein) may be consumed at about 2.0% of body weight.  Excellent forages, such as good silages, or green pasture may be consumed at the rate of 2.5% dry matter of body weight per day.  The combination of increased nutrient content AND increased forage intake makes high quality forage very valuable to the animal and the producer.  With these intake estimates, now producers can calculate the estimated amounts of hay that need to be available.

Using an example of 1200 pound pregnant spring-calving cows, let’s assume that the grass hay quality is good and tested 8% crude protein.  Cows will voluntarily consume 2.0% of body weight or 24 pounds per day.  The 24 pounds is based on 100% dry matter.  Grass hays will often be 7 to 10% moisture.  If we assume that the hay is 92% dry matter or 8% moisture, then the cows will consume about 26 pounds per day on an “as-fed basis”.  Unfortunately we also have to consider hay wastage when feeding big round bales.  Hay wastage is difficult to estimate, but generally has been found to be from 6% to 20% (or more).  For this example, let’s assume 15% hay wastage.  This means that approximately 30 pounds of grass hay must be hauled to the pasture for each cow each day that hay is expected to be the primary ingredient in the diet.

After calving and during early lactation, the cow may weigh 100 pounds less, but will be able to consume about 2.6% of her body weight (100% dry matter) in hay.  This would translate into 36 pounds of “as-fed” hay per cow per day necessary to be hauled to the pasture.  This again assumes 15% hay wastage. Accurate knowledge of average cow size in your herd as well as the average weight of your big round bales becomes necessary to predict hay needs and hay feeding strategies.

Big round hay bales will vary in weight. Weighing a pickup or trailer with and without a bale may be the best method to estimate bale weights. There are other calculations that can be helpful in estimating hay bale weights as seen in the chart below. Visit What Does A Round Bale Weigh to read more information from UGA Forage Specialist Dr. Dennis Hancock.


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Intermediate Paspalum


Here is a grass that looks very similar to cogongrass but is not. We originally looked at this exact spot in 2012 and thought it was cogongrass. One of our cogongrass experts is Mr. Mark McClure with the Georgia Forestry Commission. He quickly knew this was not cogongrass since the midrib IS centered, and it is a bunch-type grass WITHOUT rhizomes to spread.

This is intermediate paspalum. My leaf picture is not focused, but the difference is where the midrib sets. This perennial, bunch-type grass is now moving from the planted pines across the road and causing problems for our county road maintenance. In forestry situations, the only hope is to use a 4% glyphosate, and possibly mow before seeds head. Once nighttime temperatures drop to the mid-40s, not much herbicide is translocated within the plant. We can spot spray through the growing season, and also through fall is better.

Intermediate paspalum

Intermediate paspalum – centered midrib

Off-center midrib

Cogongrass – off-center midrib


Intermediate paspalum - seedhead

Intermediate paspalum – seedhead

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Filed under Forestry, Weed Science

Will Stuarts Open?

A big concern right now for pecan growers is the delay in ‘Stuart’ shuck split. UGA Extension Pecan Specialist Dr. Lenny Wells has answered calls on this subject. He says, for the most part, they will. The delay in Stuart shuck split should not really come as a surprise. Stuart always has a prolonged shuck split. Stuarts never all open at once as they do for some varieties.

Pecans-ShuckSplit 003Dr. Wells says this characteristic of Stuart is well documented. Dr. Darrell Sparks’ 1992 book, Pecan Cultivars has this to say regarding Stuart shuck split: “”.

It should be no surprise that not all Stuart nuts are still not open. A couple of things have made this seem like a greater problem than normal:

  1.  This year’s nut maturity has been running behind last year’s all season and many growers have been anxious and under the gun to fill mid-November contract orders due to the early Chinese New Year. This has led to many growers shaking Stuarts before they were really ready. Obviously in that situation you only get a few nuts down and especially on the first early shake you get a lot of green nuts out. Many growers have shaken Stuarts twice already and because the shuck split is so drawn out they get the same results on the second shake and this generates alarm but I believe the rest of these nuts will open, although obviously not for mid November contracts.
  2. We are in a severe drought. Many areas of Georgia’s pecan belt have had no rain since early September. Even with irrigation this has delayed shuck split on Stuart even more. Also, many growers turned their irrigation systems off too early or never turned them back on after harvesting individual orchards for the first time. With a heavy crop load, this will create additional stress and you will see a further delay in shuck split, sprouting, and shuck decline or stick-tights. Trees at the extreme of this situation will likely have nuts that may not open but the only real chance to get them open (outside of a good rain) is to turn the irrigation back on. It sounds crazy for us in the SE to irrigate pecans into November but when it is this dry it becomes necessary. You don’t have to water much but irrigate for 4-6 hours a couple of times a week—or every other day if you have trees in the situation described above.

Don’t expect to get all of your Stuart crop in until at least December or until we have a good rain and/or some cold weather. I think if growers look back at their records they will see that, for the most part, this is normally the case.

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Late Irrigation In Satsuma’s


We are learning a lot this season as we experience abnormally dry weather this fall. It’s normal to be dry in October, but going into October dry is not normal. Once daylight shortens and temperatures drop, these plants move into a cold acclimation period as they prepare for dormancy. The water demand is lower. With 80 degree temperatures and no rain through October, you feel like you gotta run irrigation to get plants through the fall. When should we cut it off?

Last winter was not good for the southern peach crop, but good for citrus production. The satsumas had a great winter last year, with only a few nights getting into the mid 20s. The trees looked much better this season. These trees are between 3 and 4 years old now. They are producing satsumas but the taste is not ready.

This week, we noticed lots of suckers growing from limbs. It being November, this is really the time when these trees need to be shutting down, sending more sugars to the roots to prepare for the winter. We believe our watering through October has kept these trees producing shoots. UGA Extension Pecan Specialist Dr. Lenny Wells reminds us not to run too much irrigation on young pecans trees as they need to go dormant.


Suckers on the limb of Brown Select

When we looked at the soil around these satsumas, we found plenty of moisture. This was inside the row between the trees. It’s actually safe to turn off irrigation when moisture is present between the trees 6 inches down. These roots still have plenty of moisture.

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Filed under Citrus, Entomology

AGAware Workshop – November 14th

A full AGAware workshop will be held on November 14, 2016 in Douglas, Georgia. The workshop being conducted by the Corporation for Community and Economic Development United of Georgia, Van McCall, Education, Outreach & Special Programs Manager, AGAware Team Manager, AgSouth Farm Credit, ACA.  This opportunity is geared for young, beginning and/or small farmers. There is no charge to attend which includes a complimentary meal.


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2016 Forestry & Wildlife Program Summary

It could not have  been a better day for our 3rd annual Forestry & Wildlife Program. If you were there for the first time, you would not know this program is only three years old. I am so indebted to everyone who works to bring this together – hay bales, trailers, tractors, barn, presenters, location and of course the food. Forester Alan Tucker sponsored this year’s meeting. Todd Milam with the Georgia Forestry Commission, Alan Tucker, and Martin Smith stayed up all night cooking our pig.

A big thanks to Pebble Hill Plantation for hosting the program this year. Our speakers were Mr. Luke Harvard (USDA – Wildlife), Dr. David Moorhead (UGA Extension Specialist), and Mr. Richard Coleman (NRCS). We had 55 people attend the meeting which represented 99,860 acres of forest land. Here are some pictures from Tuesday’s program:

Loading trailers

Loading trailers

UGA Extension Specialist Dr. David Moorhead discusses storm-damaged trees on a site at Pebble Hill Plantation.

UGA Extension Specialist Dr. David Moorhead discusses storm-damaged trees on a site at Pebble Hill Plantation.

Mr. Luke Harvard with USDA Wildlife Division discusses beaver management.

Mr. Luke Harvard with USDA Wildlife Division discusses beaver management.

The dam in the background has been damaged by beavers. Luke Harvard is working with Pebble Hill to help with the issue.

The dam in the background has been damaged by beavers. Luke Harvard is working with Pebble Hill to help with the issue.

Our pig for lunch inside the Sugar Hill Barn at Pebble Hill Plantation

Our pig for lunch inside the Sugar Hill Barn at Pebble Hill Plantation

Eating lunch following the program

Eating lunch following the program

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Filed under Forestry, Wildlife