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News, events, and happenings in Colquitt County agriculture.

The big news this week is the cooler weather.  The forecast for Moultrie, Ga shows lower 40’s and upper 30’s middle part of the week. This situation should be monitored because a small change in temperature or timing can make a big difference.

Cotton:  According to Dr. Camp Hand, UGA Cotton agronomist, if you are defoliating up until Monday (10/30), the standard three-way should work, with 3-4 oz/acre Dropp, 12 oz/acre Folex, and 42 oz/acre of ethephon. However, after Tuesday, the temperatures change significantly. Highs in the 60s, lows in the 40s. A warming trend is in the forecast for Thursday so consider getting back in the field Thursday/Friday. Necessary rates will be much higher than that of Monday. Growers need to consider taking the Dropp out, increase Folex up to a pint per acre plus the maximum rate of your ethephon product. Consider using Ginstar at higher rates in the cool weather as well (up to 8 oz/acre).

Peanuts: It is time to get the late peanuts out of the ground but we have to be careful due to the weather this week.  According to Dr. Scott Monfort, UGA Peanut Agronomist “We are getting very close to the end of the peanut harvest season with around 20+ % left to dig and harvest.  Looking at the weather for next week, there is potential for a frost and/or freezing temps in state, especially the northern peanut producing counties.  You all know this could change but I would just remind your growers to pay close attention to the weather before they dig.  We do not want to dig peanuts within two to three days (48 hours+) of a frost or freezing temps.  Peanut that remain in the ground will not be impacted by the frost.” 

Pam Knox, UGA Climatologist, had some great information out this week about frost dates. Last year, the first frost for Colquitt County was on October 19th according to the CoCoRahs website. 

Freeze likely for much of the Southeast mid-week except southern areas

This week we are expecting a big change in the prevailing weather pattern as a strong cold front moves through the region from northwest to southeast on Tuesday and Wednesday. The front will not have a lot of precipitation with it but will bring sharply colder and drier air to a lot of the region from the coastal plains northward. Areas that are first hit by the front on Tuesday can expect to see freezing conditions on Wednesday morning. The lowest temperatures are likely to be in NE Georgia and the Carolina mountains, which could see temperatures dropping into the low 20’s. Areas farther south in the coastal plain could see some scattered frost on Wednesday morning but may not experience freezing conditions.

However, the cold air is expected to continue to move to the southeast behind the front and temperatures on Thursday morning are likely to be colder than the Wednesday morning temperatures across a lot of the area. This will be enhanced by light winds, low dew points, and clear skies that allow heat to escape to space. This pattern of an advection freeze caused by cold air moving into the region followed by a radiation freeze the next night occurs quite often in the Southeast, so do not let your guard down after the first night. The current forecasts do not bring freezing air all the way down to Florida or the East Coast, but temperatures as low as the mid-30s are possible in SW Georgia and SE Alabama as well as the central Carolinas. Some areas could also see freezing conditions on Friday morning. Nearly all of Virginia is likely to experience a freeze except regions right along the coast. The temperatures will be low enough that I think it will mark the end of the growing season for most of the northern part of the region. Areas that do not get down to freezing could still see some frost in areas that approach the mid-30s.

This is just about the average time of the first freeze according to NCEI’s latest discussion of when to expect the first freeze, published earlier this week. Florida should escape the frost this time, but another front coming through about a week later will bring another round of near-freezing temperatures to the region, so producers farther south will need to continue watching forecasts for later freezes. Fortunately, between the two fronts it should warm up a bit, which will help farmers harvest their later planted crops.

Here are a few resources you can use to prepare for the upcoming colder weather:

National Weather Service graphical forecasts: you can pick your own state and look for low temperatures on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings from the main page (for example, here is the link for Georgia https://graphical.weather.gov/sectors/georgia.php).

Commercial Freeze Protection for Fruits and Vegetables: describes the two types of freeze and how to protect against them.

NCEI: When to Expect the First Fall Freeze

UF/IFAS: Tools to Aid Freeze & Cold Protection in Florida Citrus

AgroClimate: Freeze Risk Probabilities

The Drought Monitor was updated on October 24, 2023. The dry conditions have persisted another week and they are impacting winter forages and peanut maturity.

Below are some rainfall totals for the area from the CoCoRahs website for the month of October. Rainfall totals ranged from under 1 inch to over 2 inches.

What else is going on?  I ran across a couple of interesting things over the last couple of weeks.  I had a call from a corn grower because of significant late-season lodging and problems.  These issues could suggested an issue with nematodes or fertility.  We also noticed charcoal rot in the field.  Please notice the presence of the darkened area (a bajillion dark-pepper grain sized “micro sclerotia” survival structures) says “this is charcoal rot caused by the fungus Macrophomina phaseolina.” There is nothing that can be done for charcoal rot of corn and soybean. It is a disease brought on by stress conditions, often heat and drought, and it often appears quite suddenly in the same areas of a field over time. Fungicides do not have activity on this issue. 

Charcoal Rot in Corn, Colquitt County, September 2023 — Kichler

I also ran across Tar Spot in a field of late planted corn. It is caused by the fungus Phyllachora maydis. If you would like more information on this disease it is available here.

Tar Spot, Colquitt County October 23-Kichler

We also started cotton research plots these last couple of weeks. Topics include biologicals, fungicides, seeding rates, and varieties. This on-farm research could not be possible without the support from local growers, industry, and crop consultants.

Have a great week and if you have questions please let me know.

Jeremy M. Kichler

Colquitt County Extension Coordinator

The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension does not endorse or guarantee the performance of any products mentioned in this update.