December Row Crop Disease Update

A few things to think about with regards to disease and nematode management in preparation for the 2017 field season.

La Nina:  Our UGA Extension climatologist Pam Knox has good information available on our current conditions, but here are my thoughts:

We are currently in a “weak” La Nina situation, “weak” because the equatorial waters of the cost of Ecuador are more than a half degree COOLER than normal.  As best I can tell, the waters have been about 7/10 of a degree cooler which barely qualifies as a La Nina (as opposed to last year where we had a robust and sure-enough El Nino).  So what does this mean? During La Nina years, the Southeast tends to (“tends to” means more often than not, but not always..) experience warmer and drier winters. Because we have a weak La Nina, this forecast could change.

Pigweed seedhead in broccoli before Thanksgiving. We are yet to have frost to knock back pigweed growth.

Pigweed seedhead in broccoli before Thanksgiving. We are yet to have frost to knock back pigweed growth.

How does our current “La Nina” impact our recommendations?

  1.  Drier is not a good thing as it may mean we don’t fill up irrigation ponds for next year.  It my mean we have a lot of trouble establishing cover crops this fall.
  2.  Warmer temperatures may mean that kudzu, volunteer peanuts, corn, cotton-regrowth, etc. pathogens (like those that cause soybean rust and southern corn rust) may survive and increase longer than they would with an earlier “killing” frost.  Also, as long as the crops and volunteers are active in the field, nematode populations can continue to increase and build.  This will lead to larger populations for next season. Once the plants are killed, the nematodes can no longer feed. Once soil temps drop below 65F, the activity of the todes drops off as well.
  3.  We may get some very cold weather soon, so we may not need to worry that much; however the general prediction is that we will have a warmer winter.
  4.  The weather this winter will have some effect on TSWV and insects for next year.  It remains to be seen what and how… but it will impact them.
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