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The Impacts of China Trade Tariff on Georgia Row Crops

By Yangxuan LiuAdam N. Rabinowitz, and Don Shurley

China announced plans to implement a 25 percent increase in import tariffs on major agricultural commodities from the United States, which includes soybeans, corn and corn products, wheat, sorghum, cotton, and tobacco and tobacco products. The overall United States export value for these agricultural commodities to China are worth around 44.7 billion dollars (USDA FAS, 2018a).

United States agriculture relies on the export markets to absorb its excess supply in order to support domestic agricultural prices. The United States is the largest exporting country for corn, cotton, and sorghum, and the second largest exporting country for soybean and wheat (USDA FAS, 2018b). China is the largest trading partner for United States sorghum and soybean, and the second largest trading partner for cotton (USDA FAS, 2018a). In 2017, China bought 81.4% of the United States sorghum exports, 57.3% of the United States soybean exports, 16.7% of the United States cotton exports, 5.7% of the United States wheat export, and 1.6% of the United States corn export (Table 1).

The Chinese tariffs, if implemented, will increase the United States agricultural prices faced by the Chinese consumers relative to other countries. Thus, it will reduce demand for United States agricultural commodities by Chinese consumers. As a result, the United States needs to find alternative foreign markets to export its excess supply in order to sustain current prices. China is the largest importing country for sorghum and soybean (USDA FAS, 2018b). Developing alternative markets for these commodities might be difficult. Although much of the soybeans going to the European Union typically come from Brazil, the European Union (import 14.8% of soybean traded globally) can serve as an alternative market for United States soybeans. Globally, it is a very competitive supply market for soybeans. China could diversify its suppliers in the long run and purchase more soybeans from Brazil (export 39.8% of soybean traded globally) and Argentina (export 17.0% of soybean traded globally) (USDA FAS, 2018b). In the short run, there will not be enough capacity for these countries to increase their production acres. China will still need to buy American soybeans and sorghum to satisfy their domestic consumption.

China is the third largest importing country for cotton, importing 13.1% of cotton traded globally in 2017 (USDA FAS, 2018b). If the Chinese tariffs on U.S. cotton are put into effect, it might provide a near term opportunity for global cotton suppliers like India, Australia, and Brazil to supply more cotton to China. However, the longer term situation could involve more of a re-routing of U.S. exports to other cotton importing countries, like Vietnam, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan, and India, than a reduction in U.S. cotton production. Recent history of the change in China’s internal cotton policy has shown that the disruptions of Chinese raw cotton imports stimulates the importing of duty free yarn from countries like Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Indian subcontinent (J.R.C. Robinson, personal communication, April 2018; Shurley, 2018).

A study conducted at Purdue University found that the prices of United States soybeans would fall by 2 and 5% under the 10 and 30 percent tariff, respectively (Pack, 2018). Similar effects of price reduction are expected to the other agricultural commodities. The tariff impact on the sorghum price is expected to be larger than the impact on the soybean price, while the impact on the cotton price is expected to be smaller than the impact on the soybean price.

The potential 25 percent increment in tariff for corn, cotton, sorghum, soybeans, and wheat could have a negative impact to Georgia’s agricultural industry. Cotton is the largest crop produced in Georgia with more than 1.27 million acres harvested last year, and contributes $794 million to Georgia’s economy (Table 2). Georgia produced 10.6% (2.25 million bales) of the total United States cotton production in 2017, and is the second largest cotton producing state after Texas. It is also the second largest cotton export state after Texas. Last year, Georgia exported $441 million of cotton, of which $26 million of cotton was exported to China (USDA FAS, 2018a). The Chinese tariffs will have a direct impact on the cotton exported from Georgia because tariffs will impact the entire United States cotton market and the prices received by every United States cotton farmer. It will also have an indirect impact through the prices received by Georgia cotton farmers. Even though Georgia does not export corn, sorghum, soybean, and wheat directly to China, the lower price of these commodities due to Chinese tariffs would impact Georgia farmers.



Pack, D. (Producer). (2018). Study: U.S. soybean production, exports would fall if China imposes tariffs. Purdue University Agriculture News. Retrieved from,-exports-would-fall-if-china-imposes-tariffs.html

Shurley, D. (2018). Shurley on Cotton: More Tariff Talk.  Retrieved from

USDA FAS. (2018a). Global Agricultural Trade System Online Dataset. Retrieved from:

USDA FAS. (2018b). Production, Supply and Distribution Database.  Retrieved April 25, 2018 Industry

Thrips Monitoring 2018

UGA  peanut  entomologist  Dr. Mark Abney shares some information on thrip  monitoring,  he has seen across the state and offers recommendations for treating. Peanuts are being planted, and tobacco thrips are moving in Georgia. Trap captures increased significantly at four of our six monitoring locations last week. This means that peanuts emerging over the next couple of weeks will be at relatively high risk for infestation. Using an at-plant insecticide with proven efficacy will usually be sufficient to keep thrips injury low, but growers are still strongly encouraged to scout fields for thrips activity. Growers who are not using an at-plant insecticide should be prepared to make foliar applications (usually acephate) for thrips if they want to avoid injury. Remember that phorate (Thimet) in-furrow is the only insecticide that has been proven to reduce the risk of tomato spotted wilt disease in peanut.  We are in the first two weeks of thrips dispersal, and we do not know how long flights will continue or how large populations will be. We will continue to post weekly updates of trapping data as the planting season progresses.

These data are being provided for informational purposes only and may not be representative of thrips dispersal at your location. Peanut fields should be scouted regularly to quantify actual thrips populations.

If you have questions about thrips or thrips management please contact your local county Extension agent.

FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act ) On-Farm Readiness Review Voluntary Registration


Farm Safety Program – Ga Dept of Agriculture

Sign-up to receive the latest information: The best way to protect Georgia’s produce is by working together. Please assist us by identifying your farm and providing your contact information in order to receive important tips and updates regarding the implementation of the Produce Safety Rule.


What is an On-Farm Readiness Review?


An On-Farm Readiness Review, or OFRR, is a voluntary program offered by the Georgia Department of Agriculture Farm Safety Program. An OFRR consists of a non-regulatory, pre-inspectional visit to farms growing covered produce. An OFRR is NOT an inspection but is about educating before regulating. The goal of an OFRR is to provide farmers with useful information so they can comply with the federal Food Safety Modernization Act.

If you have any additional questions, please contact the Georgia Department of Agriculture Farm Safety Program at (229)-386-3488.

Alfalfa in the South – 2018 Workshops

Alfalfa in the South – 2018 Workshops


FlyerThe UGA Forage Team is proud to announce the return of the popular Alfalfa in the South workshops. UGA Extension will host a series of one-day workshops entitled “Alfalfa in the South” on May 1 (Calhoun Co.), May 8 (Bacon Co.), May 9 (Tifton, GA), and May 10 (Irwin Co.). Each workshop will focus on the management and use of Alfalfa in the South, including how to successfully interseed alfalfa into bermudagrass. Subjects covered include: site selection and establishment, management, and improving animal performance with alfalfa. Faculty and graduate students from University of Georgia and Auburn University will provide updates of the ongoing alfalfa research throughout the Southeast.  Each workshop will also include a field tour highlighting a producer who is using alfalfa in bermudagrass across Georgia (see full agenda).

Cost of the one-day workshop is $15 and includes lunch and refreshments, an ‘Alfalfa in the South’ notebook, and other publications on alfalfa production and use in the South. Registration is now available online. If you prefer to register by speaking directly to someone in our office, call Cathy Felton at 706-310-3464 or send us an email. Registration is accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.


Special DEAL!

The first 10 registrants at each location will receive a free Alfalfa in the South cap! Hurry and register today!!!

Special Thanks to Our Sponsors


Alfalfa in the South



Comparing Summer Annual Forages

By Jeremy Kichler

Colquitt County CEC

Summer annual forages can provide high yields of good quality forage during late spring and summer for both beef and dairy producers. Most of the warm season annual grasses emerge and establish quickly and are very drought tolerant. They can be used for grazing, hay or silage. Producers need to manage these species carefully in stressful conditions because they can accumulate levels of prussic acid and nitrates that can be toxic to livestock. There are many choices when it comes to summer annual forages, let’s compare a few of them.

New varieties of warm-season annual grasses are released periodically, so one should frequently evaluate yield data from UGA’s Statewide Variety Testing Program. This information can be obtained from the following link (

Below are seeding rates, planting dates for summer annual forages.

Pearl millet can be grazed or harvested as hay or silage. It is a medium to high yielding summer annual forage and is more productive in drought conditions.   Planting can begin when the 2 inch soil temperature reaches 65 degrees F. Seed can be broadcasted (25-30 lbs of PLS/Acre) or drilled (10-15 lbs of PLS/Acre). The seeding depth needs to be around ½ to 1 inch deep. Pearl millet can tolerate lower soil pH than sorghums and is very responsive to nitrogen.

Growers can begin to graze pearl millet once the plants reach 20 to 24 inches, but regrowth rate and animal performance is best if a 9 to 12 inch stubble height is maintained. Pearl millet tillers well, making it very suitable for grazing.

Pearl millet can make good quality hay if cut when plants reach 2 to 3 feet tall. This prevents the forage from maturing beyond the boot stage and therefore being too mature to provide high quality. The drying rate of millet hay can be sped up if a roller/crimper-style conditioner is used.

If harvested prior to advanced maturity stages, the range of total digestible nutrients (TDN) can be expected to be 52 to 58 percent, while crude protein (CP) will range from 8 to 11 percent. There is some evidence to suggest that seeding rates at the high end of the recommended ranges will promote a higher leaf:stem ratio. This may improve forage quality, but these gains may not compensate for the expense of the higher seeding rate.

Pearl millet has one major advantage over sorghum, sudangrass, and sorghum x sudangrass hybrids in that it does not produce prussic acid. This advantage allows pearl millet to be grazed or harvested at any growth stage and during droughts without the risks associated with prussic acid poisoning. However, pearl millets can have high nitrate levels similar to other warm season sorghums.   Horses may suffer from subclinical and acute prussic acid poisoning, so species in the sorghum family should not be fed to them.

Sorghum x sudan hybrids have the highest yield potential of the summer annual forages if adequate rainfall or irrigation is received. However, sorghum x sudan yields are more severely affected by drought than pearl millet and are less tolerant of poor soil conditions and soil pH values less than 5.8. Seed can be broadcasted (20-25 lbs of PLS/Acre) or drilled (15-20 lbs of PLS/Acre). Sorghum x sudans can be used for grazing or silage, but like other annual sorghums, their forage is difficult to dry to moistures suitable for hay production.

Sorghum x sudan hybrids should be rotationally grazed, allowing the forage to reach 24 inches before grazing (i.e., managed like sudangrass). This species can be harder to manage in a grazing situation due to the fact it does not tiller as well as other summer annual species. This property can impact recovery time if sorghum X sudan is grazed too hard. Sorghum x sudans will generally have TDN values in excess of 53 to 60 percent and CP concentrations of 9 to 15 percent. Brown midrib (BMR) varieties are usually preferred varieties for grazing or conserved forage since they have less lignin and higher digestibility than other varieties.

Sudangrass has finer stems, tillers profusely and is leafier than forage sorghums. They produce very few seed. When compared to other sorghums, the growth rate is better after a cutting or a grazing event. This growth characteristic makes it a great candidate for rotational grazing. They tend to have less prussic acid accumulation than forage sorghums, and these levels tend to decrease with maturity. Sudangrass seed can be broadcasted (30-40 lbs of PLS/Acre) or drilled (20-25 lbs of PLS/Acre).

Photoperiod-sensitive sorghum x sudan and forage sorghum cultivars are available. These varieties are capable of sustaining more consistent growth over a longer growing season because they remain in a vegetative stage late into September (until daylength is less than about 12 hours and 20 minutes). This trait may negate or lessen the need for staggered plantings.

Forage sorghum is a high yielding summer annual forage. They may contain 0 to 50 percent grain in the forage depending on the hybrid and stage of maturity at harvest. As plants mature, lignification can increase which results in reduction in forage quality. Forage sorghum have thick stems that make hay production difficult but makes excellent silage. Nutritive value is often times 85 to 90 percent of corn silage. Highest crude protein and digestibility will usually be obtained when harvested in a vegetative stage of growth but dry matter production can be increased as plants mature. Harvesting in the late grain dough stage will maximize TDN. Forage sorghum seed can be broadcasted (20-25 lbs of PLS/Acre) or drilled (15-20 lbs of PLS/Acre).

There are a variety of options for summer annual forages that can provide excellent grazing or harvested forages for livestock producers. If you need assistance selecting a variety or comparing options, contact your local extension office.



UGA Farm Again program tractor workshop

UGA Farm Again program to host tractors workshopBy Julie Jernigan

University of Georgia Farm Again program instructors will host a workshop to introduce potential farmers to tractors and how to safely operate them. The Tractors 101 event will be held on Thursday, April 26, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the UGA Tifton campus, beginning in the National Environmentally Sound Production Agriculture Laboratory (NESPAL) building.

UGA Cooperative Extension, within the university’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), and the Institute on Human Development and Disability (IHDD), part of the university’s College of Family and Consumer Sciences, manage the Farm Again program. CAES agricultural engineer Glen Rains and IHDD Associate Director Rebecca Brightwell co-direct Farm Again.

“This workshop is designed for socially disadvantaged and veteran persons interested in starting a farm,” Rains said. “We want to teach them how to safely operate a tractor and show them the potential dangers of operating powerful machinery.”

In the morning, there will be a classroom session where the parts of a tractor will be laid out in detail. Hands-on training stations will be set up in the afternoon.

Attendees will practice driving a tractor at one station, and they will learn how to connect equipment and study the maintenance of the system at another.

“This is a really helpful workshop for those who don’t know anything about tractors,” Rains said. “We will discuss which model to buy and whether or not they need four-wheel drive.”

At the end of the day, potential farmers will navigate a driving course to determine if they can steer and back up a tractor.

“We just want to give them the basics of operation so they can incorporate these practices into their own farming,” Rains said. “Sometimes there’s a stigma around tractors because people think they are difficult to operate. This is a great opportunity to get familiar with the machine. They will find out that it is actually fairly simple to work.”

This is the fourth workshop of a spring series aimed at small, beginning farmers or veterans who want to start their own farms. Due to the hands-on training, space is limited. Teenagers over 16 years old may attend with parental permission.

To register, visit

Julie Jernigan is an intern at UGA-Tifton.

tractorsUGA’s Farm Again program will host a Tractors 101 workshop on April 26 in Tifton, Georgia. 

Tank-Mixing Chemicals

Dr. Eric Prostko with University of Georgia shared some information on tank-mixing pesticides:

Tank-mixing pesticides can be rather complicated especially when numerous products will be mixed.  Here are a few questions and answers based upon some recent inquiries that I have received:

1) Can I tank-mix Prowl EC and Prowl H20?

I have never have done this in my research plots but I recently conducted a small tank-mix test (Figure 1).  With good agitation, I did not observe any problems.  Do not mix these two herbicides together before putting in water.  They should be put in spray tank (already filled with water) separately.

Figure 1.  Prowl H20 3.8ASC + Prowl 3.33EC Tank-Mix (32 oz/A of each in 15 GPA, Prowl H20 was put in 1st)

2) Can I tank-mix dry and liquid Valor formulations together in a spray tank?

I have never done this either in my research plots but I conducted another small tank-mix test (Figure 2).  With good agitation, I did not observe any problems.  Remember, it is always a good idea to pre-slurry dry formulations in water before dumping into a large spray tank.

Figure 2.  Valor SX 51WG + Valor EZ 4L Tank-Mix (3 oz/A of each in 15 GPA)

3)  When tank-mixing various pesticides, what is the correct mixing order?  

The general formulation science mixing order is as follows:

a) water soluble bags (WSB)
b) water soluble granules (WSG)
c) water dispersible granules (WG, XP, DF)
d) wettable powders (WP)
e) water based suspension concentrates/aqueous flowables (SC, F)
f) water soluble concentrates (SL)
g) suspoemulsions (SE)
h) oil-based suspension concentrates (OD)
i) emulsifiable concentrates (EC)
j) surfactants, oils, adjuvants
k) soluble fertilizers
l) drift retardants

For those Millennials out there that sleep with their cell phones taped to their head or hands, there is an app called Mix-Tank (Precision Laboratories) that you might find useful ( There might be some other apps out there that I am not yet aware of?

4) How do I mix Reflex and Gramoxone?

a) add 1/2 of the required amount of clean water into the spray tank
b) start up and maintain tank agitation
c) add NIS
d) add Reflex
e) add Gramoxone
f) add remaining amount of clean water

5) How do I mix Atrazine and Halex GT?

a) add 1/2 of the required amount of clean water into the spray tank and start/maintain agitation
b) add AMS (**only if water quality sample indicates need)
c) add NIS
d) add atrazine (make sure atrazine is fully dispersed before adding other products)
e) add Halex GT
f) add remaining amount of clean water

Seedcorn Maggots in Transplanted Crops

Problems with seedcorn maggots in transplanted crops are popping up all over south Georgia this Spring. While this is a rare occasion (use of transplants avoids many soil borne insect problems), that makes it no less severe when it occurs. Maggots can kill tender young transplants, but cause minimal injury once the plants become established and harden off.

The adult files look like small house flies and are attracted to decaying organic matter. For this reason, they tend to be worse in fields where manure, weeds or a cover crop were plowed in just before planting. For future reference, it is generally recommended that this plowing occur at least three weeks before planting/transplanting. They still can occur in “clean” fields as the transplant media, which is high in organic matter, can attract flies once it is planted into the field.

Seedcorn maggots are worse under cool, moist conditions. This both slows the growth of the plant so that it is susceptible to damage for a longer period and is favorable to the maggots. One research report from Purdue indicated that damage to transplants dropped dramatically (from 60 to 80 percent down to 10 to 0 percent) as soil temperature increased above 70 degrees.

There are no effective rescue treatments for seedcorn maggot infestations. A pre-plant treatment with diazinon should avoid this problem, but is rarely done as the problem is rare. A foliar application with a broad spectrum insecticide after setting/resetting the plants should help suppress fly activity in the field and buy some time for plants to become established.