Tuesday, we opened our production meeting season with our Cotton Production Update. We passed out the results of our dryland cotton variety trial here in Thomas County. Dr. Jared Whitaker has run statistics on the results, with varieties ranked from top to bottom in this image. Jared also included loan value and total value.
Thomas County Dryland Cotton Variety Trial Results
This is just our trial in Thomas County. We also want to look at multi-year data and results from trials across the state. Here are results from 2015 and 2016 on farm variety trials from Dr. Whitaker.
Saturday a week ago, a tornado came through Thomas County during the night and left a path of destruction to homes and agriculture. We had another storm the following day. Thomas County EMS estimates that around $5 million in damage has occurred ($2M on homes and properties and $2.5 M on farmland and agriculture.)
Agriculture damage included grain bins torn with debris spread through fields. There were a few pivots that were knocked over or completely destroyed. We also saw damage to some pecan orchards once again, as the case with Hurricane Hermine. Growers in the storm’s path have had to pick up lots of debris in fields and repair fences, etc. Here are some photos:
Growers with damage to their orchards need to take photos of the damage and report it to their local FSA office in order to receive financial assistance with cleanup. Cleanup funds normally pay 75% of the USDA-set cost of a mature tree ($300) up to a maximum of $200,000 per entity. Younger trees will be valued at varying levels depending upon age.
In addition, the Tree Assistance Program (TAP) will pay for tree loss when 15% or more of the orchard is destroyed. This pays 65% of the cost of the tree up to a maximum of $120,000 per entity.
This money is not available immediately but your FSA office will gather your report. Requests for cleanup funds are made to Congress and they will then appropriate the funds so it may take a while.
Cook County Ag Agent, Tucker Price, called me this week to report seeing the first flight of ambrosia beetles. For us in deep South GA, the first flight is usually late February. UGA Extension Pecan Horticulturalist Dr. Lenny Wells has this information:
Ambrosia Beetle – Photo by Dr. Lenny Wells
We’ve had reports of ambrosia beetles attacking young trees in south GA recently. This is no surprise with the very dry late summer/fall and very mild winter we’ve had. The severe weather lately will likely make trees more vulnerable than usual where flooding rains and wind have really stressed some orchards. Trees that stand in water for long periods, especially when they are breaking bud and trying to leaf out, are very attractive to the beetles. Growers should be checking young trees regularly for frass toothpicks that indicate ambrosia beetle attack. It is also a good idea to have some traps out around those young orchards so you will know when the beetles are active. Cold weather will slow or stop the beetle flight temporarily, but we can probably expect to see activity pick back up as soon as warmer temperatures return. See link here for description of management.
Anyone planning to plant trees this year should try to get the trees in the ground no later than mid-February to aid in recovery from transplant shock before budbreak and warm weather arrives. Trees planted late become more stressed and have a harder time recovering from transplant shock.
Cotton and soybean varieties with tolerance to auxin herbicides (2,4-D or dicamba) are being commercialized. 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 have been provided the best management practices when applying all pesticides.
Growers who attended 2015 or 2016 trainings, 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 have resulted in 1499 Georgia growers completing the required training. A survey conducted of these trainings noted 99% of growers felt the training was worth their time and 98% of them believed the training would help them increase on-target pesticide applications. If you have questions concerning your registration, please contact your local county extension office.
For growers who have not previously attended this training, options for 2017 are provided below. Select a time/location and RSVP, at least 2 days in advance, to the specific location for attendance. The required trainings will cover a 2 to 2.5 hr time period and will provide pesticide re-certification credits. Snacks and drinks will be provided (no meal).