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News, events, and happenings in Colquitt County agriculture.

The peanut harvest is coming to an end this week, and the cotton harvest is in full swing. The Halloween edition of the Drought Monitor shows 50% of the state of Georgia is not in drought, but 49% of the state is experiencing conditions ranging from D0-D4. According to the Drought Monitor, 100% of Colquitt County is experiencing conditions ranging from D0-D4. If you would like to see the Drought Monitor county-level statistics for Colquitt County, please go here.

When will the rain return? Not anytime soon. (Pam Knox)

I’ve been getting phone calls and emails asking when we can expect the El Nino rains to start to reduce the drought that has been growing across a lot of the Southeast in the past few weeks. Unfortunately, the Climate Prediction Center and the long-range models do not give much hope of needed relief in the near future. The CPC maps for November shown below indicate that there is a slight tendency towards warmer than normal conditions in southern parts of the Southeast in November, while most of the region is equally likely to experience near-, above-, or below-normal precipitation. The only areas that are showing a tendency in one direction or another are Florida and the coastal plains of Georgia and South Carolina, which are leaning towards wetter conditions, and northern Alabama and Georgia and the highlands of North Carolina and Virginia, which are leaning towards drier than normal conditions.

The long-range models that go out to mid-November do not show a switch to a wetter pattern through the middle of November and most parts of the region with the exception of Virginia are expected to receive only about half an inch of rain in the next two weeks. This will continue to hamper farmers trying to plant winter grains and forage because it is too dry for the seeds to germinate well. It will also mean that cattle producers will likely need to continue feeding supplemental hay for at least the next couple of weeks. There is often a pattern shift to a more winter-like weather pattern around the third week of November, but of course there are no guarantees. The longest-term climate forecasts continue to indicate the likelihood of a wetter than normal winter in southern AL and GA and in northern FL, but that is not guaranteed either, although it has a fairly high probability of happening. Read more

October was cooler and drier than normal for much of the Southeast

Written by Pam Knox October 31, 2023

We are closing out the month of October today. If we look at the preliminary climate statistics for the month, we see that the majority of the Southeast was cooler than normal, with the exception of Virginia and Alabama and areas farther inland and higher in elevation. Precipitation was scattered, with most areas receiving less than normal but a few areas in Georgia and Florida experiencing wetter than normal conditions. The cooler temperatures slowed the final maturation of peanuts and late-planted corn, but the drier conditions aided farmers in harvesting the crops that were ready. READ MORE

Questions of the week…

Mr. Kichler, it is very dry; should we pull soil samples for nematodes now before the cold snap or wait until we get moisture?” Dr. Bob suggests that we wait until you have moisture to get the soil probe easily at least 6 inches into the ground (root zone). Yes, it will be cold briefly but won’t stay cold long, and certainly the soil temperature will be OK. Take home message: we need to be getting soil samples for nematodes quickly, but we need some moisture in the soil.

It is getting dry, and I still have not planted my winter grazing. When is it too late? The answer to this question depends on the weather, the forage species, and the planting method. Total seasonal yield drops substantially when winter annual plantings are delayed past mid-November. The failure to have a good stand before going into the winter would result in 20-50% yield loss in annual ryegrass, rye, and wheat, with rye and wheat being most affected. Yield loss in oats may be even greater, so I would not recommend late oat plantings. If dry weather persists into mid- to late-November, late-planted winter annual forages are not developed enough before consecutive freeze events occur, and the total seasonal yield decreases.

Last week I had a question or two about irrigation requirements for small grains and winter annual forages. According to Dr Wes Porter, UGA Irrigation Specialist, most small grains have a 1 to 1 et (Evapotranspiration) replacement. Last week, the total et from the Sunbelt Expo location of the UGA Weather Network was 0.62 inches.

It is dry! Do I still need to water my lawn? According to Dr. Clint Waltz, UGA Turf Specialist, the answer is yes. For centipede lawns, consider an inch of irrigation every 10–14 days. Below are a few comments from Clint in reference to this topic.

Recently, I’ve had a couple of questions about irrigating turf, newly laid (i.e., within the last 60 days), newly seeded (i.e., tall fescue), and established—all questions have been variations of a theme. Considering the weather pattern over the past 60+ days—relatively low rainfall and low humidity—I would suggest continuing to irrigate warm-season grasses to prevent desiccation. This specifically applies to newly installed sod but has application to established grass too. Seeded tall fescue and ryegrass used for overseeding absolutely need irrigation for germination and establishment. Therefore, if a property has a functioning irrigation system, it’s still needed.

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

Jeremy M. Kichler

Colquitt County Extension Coordinator

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