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Georgia’s pecan industry at crossroads

Published on 04/01/19

Georgia’s pecan industry at crossroads

By Clint Thompson for CAES News

The pecan industry in the Southeast U.S. is at a crossroads, and the 2019 season could go a long way toward determining the financial future for many Georgia farmers, according to Lenny Wells, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension pecan specialist.

The cost to produce pecans continues to increase every year. With new tariffs imposed on goods exported from the U.S. to China, prices producers received dropped significantly last year.

Early-season ‘Desirable’ varieties sold for between $2.20 and $2.40 per pound in 2018, and ‘Stuart’ varieties were valued at approximately $1.75 per pound. At season’s end, Desirables dropped to $1.30 per pound and Stuarts were being sold for 85 cents per pound.

“In order to change the cost of production and the price our farmers are receiving for their crops, we have to change the way our industry operates,” Wells said.

So how do growers change the makeup of the industry? Wells believes that producers have three options to do things differently as they prepare for this year’s crop: reduce the cost of production, shell some of their own crop, or work with shellers to grow the nuts they want. Growers also can opt to keep with the status quo and be subject to the same market trends as in the past.

Wells believes that growers need to replace old cultivars with cultivars that have some level of scab disease resistance, which would decrease the cost of production. Scab is a fungal disease that infects the leaves or nuts of pecan trees. If it hits the nut early enough, scab can cause the pecan to blacken and fall from the tree. Some growers spray between 10 and 12 times during an average year to fight scab, Wells said.

Producers need to plant scab-resistant varieties with goal of spraying no more than six to eight times. Some recommended varieties include ‘Avalon’, ‘Caddo’, ‘Creek’, ‘Eclipse’, ‘Ellis’, ‘Excel’, ‘Lakota’, ‘McMillan’, ‘Oconee’, ‘Sumner’ and ‘Zinner’.

Wells stresses that growers need to stop planting ‘Desirable’ pecans. Although it produces a good quality nut, its susceptibility to scab disease makes it an undesirable choice. If producers choose to plant a susceptible cultivar, he suggests growing either ‘Caddo’ or ‘Pawnee’, both of which have an early harvest date and short season.

Growers also need to focus on quality over quantity and produce pecans with a percent kernel in the mid-50s.

“We have to grow better-quality nuts with more uniformity and a lower cost of production to compete on the traditional domestic market, and we have to develop new domestic markets,” Wells said.

Though much of Georgia’s pecan crop will always be sold to domestic shellers, Wells recommends that farmers diversify their market opportunities.

One option is for farmers to work together or individually to develop grower-owned shelling plants. They can also selling online with the shell-bag-and-ship formula. These options are not without risk and will be slow to develop.

Producers can develop new markets by highlighting the health aspect of pecans, market pecans as snack foods, and emphasize value-added products like pecan milk and pecan oil.

Growers also can implement management practices that will help reduce costs. Adequate tree spacings are recommended. Tighter spaces can increase early yield but require more inputs, and more trees per acre lead to increased disease and insect pressure.

Georgia producers find themselves in a difficult position largely because of the rise of pecan production in Mexico, Wells said. Mexico produced 278,176 acres in 2015 and is adding 10,000 new acres every year. Mexican pecan production has grown from 270 million pounds in 2015 to nearly 300 million pounds now, and the U.S. is the country’s largest customer. Production isn’t slowing down and pecan production costs in Mexico are approximately $860 per acre, compared to approximately $1,500 in the Southeast U.S.

“We cannot grow the pecans we have been growing and compete economically with Mexico,” Wells said.

The U.S. is importing more pecans from other countries at a time when exports have slowed, specifically with China.

“The market to China is our lifeline. If we don’t have that, we’re in trouble,” Wells said.

Storing pecans is another gamble for producers. Wells estimates farmers have a six-month window to wait for prices to improve and move their pecans accordingly before South Africa’s crop comes into season in May and June. South Africa is the No. 3 producer of pecans and ships to the U.S. and China.

For more up-to-date information about pecan production in Georgia, see

Georgia citrus producers need to be wary of potential diseases

Published on 04/08/19

As yield grows, Georgia citrus producers need to be wary of potential diseases

By Clint Thompson for CAES News

The citrus greening disease that has devastated Florida’s industry over the past decade is not affecting Georgia production, but growers should still be aware of the potential danger it can bring, according to Jonathan Oliver, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension fruit pathologist.

Georgia’s citrus crop is expected to double in size this year. As growers continue to plant more trees originating from out of state, Oliver cautions growers to purchase plants that are certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This certification protects farmers from purchasing trees infected with citrus greening (also known as “Huanglongbing,” or “HLB”) and helps prevent the disease from becoming a problem in Georgia.

“If there is one thing right now that Georgia growers should worry about with respect to this disease, it is where they are purchasing plants to start their groves. Growers should be planting clean plants,” Oliver said. “Fly-by-night propagators can really hurt the industry in the long run if they are distributing HLB-infected materials (or materials with other diseases).”

HLB is spread by the Asian citrus psyllid, an insect that feeds on the plant’s foliage and transmits the bacteria that causes the disease. Oliver says that if the Asian citrus psyllid becomes established in Georgia, it will transfer the bacteria from one tree to the next. He believes Georgia producers can guard against the disease, in part, simply by not purchasing low-quality plants.

“Even though plant material from some providers may be cheap, that doesn’t mean it is good and, ideally, we should be establishing clean plantings of citrus with certified materials where possible,” Oliver said.

Under the guidance of Jake Price, UGA Extension coordinator in Lowndes County, the expansion of Georgia’s citrus production started in 2013. Before 2019, Price estimated there were more than 72,000 trees in production on almost 500 acres. As many as 70,000 more trees will be added this year.

“There’s definitely still plenty of interest in citrus. There’s a lot of interest in satsumas. Tree availability is increasing, but you do have to order at least a year ahead of time,” Price said. “Growers have been encouraged to grow other citrus varieties besides satsumas to diversify the industry in Georgia.”

Similar to mandarin oranges, satsuma oranges are the most popular citrus grown in Georgia. Fruit from ‘Owari’ and ‘Brown Select’ satsuma trees is normally harvested between early November and Christmas. Satsumas decrease in quality quickly after they ripen and do not keep well on the tree.

If growers diversify their citrus production, it would allow them to extend their growing season. Most citrus varieties are not as cold hardy as satsumas, so producers assume more risk if they grow varieties other than satsumas or the newly released UGA citrus varieties.

The influx of citrus into Georgia increases the risks for disease buildup. Oliver said that the more plants in southern Georgia orchards, the more likely it is that pathogens will become problematic. Areas with a high density of plantings are especially vulnerable.

“Farmers should be aware of diseases for sure. If growers find anything suspicious, they need to contact their county agent,” Oliver said. “We haven’t found greening in our commercial plantings yet.  It is possible the bacteria is out there already in isolated trees, but since the psyllid vectors are not yet widespread, the bacteria is not going to be able to spread at this point — except through the propagation and import of infected trees.”

For more information about Georgia’s citrus crop, see


Cotton Blue Disease (Whitaker)


In the fall of 2018, Cotton Leafroll Dwarf Virus (CLRDV) was confirmed to infect cotton in 14 South Georgia counties.  This virus is vectored by aphids and associated with Blue Cotton Disease (CBD) which causes symptoms of including leaf curling, reddening and drooping of leaves, subsequent distortion of leaf growth above the nodes where reddened leaves were first observed, and shortening of upper internodes and their discoloration to deep green along with subsequent lack of fruit retention.  Although the virus could be found widespread across Georgia in the fall of 2018, there were very few, if any, documented cases of yield losses in Georgia cotton fields which could be associated with CBD.  The UGA Cotton Team has and is working diligently to obtain as much information as we can and to help inform producers of what we know.  At this point, the impact from this virus to the 2019 Georgia cotton crop cannot be scientifically determined, but we have found CLRDV in ratooned cotton stalks from 2018 and in henbit over the past couple of weeks.  So, there may be two ways for us to potentially limit our exposure by trying to remove cotton stalks from 2018 and by controlling winter weeds well in advance of planting.  Both of these approaches are already endorsed and encouraged practices anyway and they may ultimately be helpful in breaking the green bridge for the virus.  If you have any questions on this or other issues, feel free to contact your local UGA county extension agent and visit the UGA Cotton Webpage at


Planting Techniques to Help Ensure a Successful Stand (Freeman)


As we get closer to planting season there are several factors to consider when trying to establish a successful stand. Early in the planting season, soil temperatures play a significant role in stand establishment as low temperatures will negatively affect germination and seedling vigor and also increases the risk of seedling diseases which can impact final plant stands. The “optimum” planting date will vary year to year but it is best to wait until 4 inch soil temperatures have reached at least 65° for 3 days and the forecast showing a trend for warmer weather.

Some other important aspects that affect stand establishment are seeding rates and seed placement configurations. In Georgia, plant populations of at least 1.5 to 1.75 plants/ft are needed to maximize yields. In our soils, seeding rates as low as 2 to 2.5 seed/ft can be successful however, seeding rates may need to be adjusted on a field by field basis to account for environmental circumstances that can affect germination and viability. Hill-drop seeding can also impact stand establishment compared to singulated seeding in tough conditions. Research has shown that when equal plant populations occur there is no yield difference between hill-dropped seed and singulated seed however, in some soils and soil conditions hill-dropped seed may increase germination and therefor impact yields by ensuring plant populations reach those that are needed for maximum yields.

Variety selection can also play a role in how successful our stands are. In particularly tough environments where establishing an adequate stand is often difficult, planting a larger seeded variety may be beneficial over planting a small seeded variety as the higher seedling vigor will be apparent in that niche environment. For more information on any of these topics visit our website or contact your local UGA Extension Agent.


Thrips Management Thoughts for 2019 (Roberts)


Thrips are consistent pests of cotton in Georgia and the southeast as a whole.  Thrips are the only insect pests of cotton that a preventive insecticide is recommended.  For other insect pests of cotton, UGA recommends a reactive approach based on scouting and the use of thresholds.  Pests such as stink bugs, corn earworms, whiteflies, and remaining pests are less consistent and demand this reactive approach to maximize profitability.  With most insect pests there are agronomic and management practices which influence the risk and severity of infestations.  Below are a few thoughts to consider as you make decisions for your at-plant thrips management program.


  1. Use a preventive insecticide at planting. Positive yield responses are consistently observed in UGA research when an at-plant insecticide is used for thrips control.
  2. At-plant insecticide options include in-furrow granule applications of aldicarb, in-furrow liquid applications of imidacloprid or acephate, and commercial seed treatments of imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, and acephate. Imidacloprid seed treatment is the most common at-plant insecticide used.  In-furrow applications of aldicarb, imidacloprid, and acephate tend to provide greater residual control of thrips compared with the commercial seed treatments.
  3. Historically thrips infestations and plant injury is greatest on early planted cotton (ie planted prior to May 10th). However, this high thrips risk window is a moving target from year to year.  Temperature and rainfall during winter and early spring have a significant impact on thrips population development and the severity and timing of infestations moving to cotton.  As we near planting you are encouraged to take advantage of the Thrips Infestation Predictor for Cotton.  This web-based tool will predict thrips risk by planting date by geographic location and can be found at:
  4. Thrips infestations are significantly lower in reduced tillage systems compared with conventional tillage. In general the more cover on the soil surface the greater the reduction in thrips.
  5. Seedlings are most sensitive to yield loss during early developmental stages. 1-2 leaf cotton is at greater risk to yield loss from excessive thrips injury compared with 3-4 leaf cotton.  Once cotton reaches the 4-leaf stage and is growing rapidly, thrips are rarely an economic pest.
  6. A rapidly growing seedling can better tolerate thrips feeding. Conversely, seedlings which are growing slowly from cool temperatures or some other stress are more susceptible to thrips.

Scout for thrips and thrips injury early.  Use thresholds and only make foliar applications when necessary.  Optimal timing for supplemental insecticide applications (when needed) is the 1-leaf stage.


Snapshot of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (Liu)


On December 20, 2018, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (the 2018 Farm Bill) passed into law. The 2018 Farm Bill continues the programs for Title I commodities from the 2014 Farm Bill including the Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) program, the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program, and the Marketing Assistance Loans (MAL) program. The decisions that producers need to make for this new farm bill include reelecting between ARC and PLC programs and updating PLC payment yield. In the 2018 Farm Bill, producers are allowed to first elect between ARC and PLC in 2019 for 2019 – 2020. For 2021 – 2023, producers will also have a yearly option of re-electing between ARC and PLC. If producers fail to make a unanimous election in 2019, there will be no program payments for 2019, and the farm is deemed to elect the same program between ARC and PLC for each covered commodity for 2020 – 2023 as what they chose for 2015 – 2018. The PLC payment yield updates are based on the farm’s (FSN) crop yield history from 2013 to 2017 for each covered commodity. Other major changes in the 2018 Farm Bill includes creating a new effective reference price, increasing marketing assistant loan rates, changes in the geographical definition of the ARC-County program, and changes in family members’ eligibility.


Pre-Season Equipment (Porter)


From the equipment perspective now is the perfect time of year to ensure that you have everything ready to go for planting and irrigation.  UGA has a very good factsheet that can guide you through the Irrigation System Checklist to make sure your pivot is ready to go before you put the seed in the ground to ensure that you minimize breakdowns and issues during the season when you really need to get water to your crop.  That factsheet can be found at:


In addition to your irrigation system, the planter is one of the most critical pieces of equipment for producing a successful crop.  For in-depth information on setting your planter please contact your county agent, but here are a few quick components to check.  Start with the seed metering system, check to ensure all seals and brushes are good and do not need to be replaced.  In some areas dealerships will check your seed meters for singulation issues for a small fee.  Check your seed plates for any warping or wear and ensure you are using the correct plates for the correct crop, and match up the number of cells correctly to your gear ratio on your planter to make sure you obtain the correct seeding rate.  Check you downforce system, based on soil type and tillage conditions it should be set somewhere between 50 to 200 lbs of force for cotton (do not exceed 200 lbs of force for cotton).  Next check your gauge wheels for free movement and but no wobble in the bearings.  Check your depth settings on all row units.  In addition check your seed tubes and closing system to ensure both are working properly.  Spending some time on your planter now will pay off at the end of the season.

Make sure you take getting your equipment prepared seriously so you do not incur penalties during the season from equipment that was not properly maintained.  For more information on either of these topics please see your local county agent.



Using Pesticides Wisley training will be held on March 27 at 8:30 am at the Lowndes County 4-H Camp, 6048 4-H Club Rd. Lake Park. Call 333-5185 if you plan on attending.                                                                                                                                            Training Agenda: Using Pesticide Wisely (UPW) will last about 2 hrs and 15
minutes. Immediately afterwards, there will be a 45 minute training for those
individuals wanting to obtain a 2 year certified pesticide applicators license to
apply Engenia, XtendiMax or FeXapan (see next page for more details).
Who must attend UPW: Anyone applying Engenia, XtendiMax or FeXapan!
Also, any person in charge of Enlist One and Enlist Duo in-crop applications must attend.

Winter rains to impact forage management

Published on 03/15/
By Clint Thompson for CAES News

According to Lisa Baxter, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension’s newest forage agronomist, an unusually wet winter will cause problems with summer forage crop quality in Georgia.

Baxter, who started work on the UGA Tifton campus on March 1, expects to field her share of questions about forage management and quality concerns from Georgia producers this year.

“This year, with all the rain we’ve had, we’re going to see fertility issues, weeds and potentially diseases like we haven’t seen in a long time. It’s something that we’re gearing up and preparing for,” Baxter said.

Many of the issues facing forage producers will be discussed in greater detail at this year’s Georgia Forages Conference, held in conjunction with the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association Convention in Perry, Georgia, on April 4.

As an Extension forage agronomist, Baxter serves as the southern counterpart to UGA Extension forage agronomist Dennis Hancock, who is based in Athens, Georgia, and serves farmers in the northern part of Georgia. Baxter will serve south Georgia’s farmers with concerns ranging from pests and diseases to forage management and grazing issues.

Because of south Georgia’s warmer climate and different soil types, the crops grown in Tifton, Georgia, and other south Georgia areas vary from what’s produced in more northern locations such as Blairsville, Georgia. For example, Bahiagrass is a long-lived perennial grass that’s grown in south Georgia but not north Georgia. Bermudagrass is used more extensively in the southern part of the state than in north Georgia.

Baxter believes that these warm-season crops will be impacted significantly by the excess rain experienced this winter.

“When Bermudagrass starts greening up, it’s may be struggling this year. We have already seen reports of warm-season weed species. It’s going to be competing with crabgrass and warm-season broadleaf species, and ryegrass is going to be hanging around with these cool, cloudy conditions. We are preparing for anything in the textbook that could potentially hit us this year,” Baxter said.

One problem producers have had in managing their crops this year was the use of preemergence herbicides. To combat the weed pressure in most fields, producers normally apply chemical treatments, but it was too wet for many farmers to get in the fields during the winter. If the treatments were not applied at the right time, weed pressure will be high this summer.

Baxter also expects the Bermudagrass stem maggot to be a problem again this year. Since first being discovered in 2010 in southern Georgia, the pest has damaged Bermudagrass hayfields and pastures throughout the Southeast U.S. If left untreated, Bermudagrass stem maggots can cause farmers to lose up to 80 percent of their yield during the peak season, which runs from late July to early September.

Although farmers can’t fully control the pest, taking an integrated biological, cultural, physical and chemical approach will reduce economic damage.

Baxter hopes to coordinate research projects in her new role so that growers will have additional options to combat this pest. “It’s a major problem throughout the Southeast. So much of our state’s hay production is Bermudagrass, so it hits Georgia a lot harder than other areas,” Baxter said.

She also plans to continue several collaborative research projects, including those with Jennifer Tucker, a UGA Extension beef nutrition and forage management specialist; Bill Anderson, U.S. Department of Agriculture plant research geneticist; Tim Grey, UGA weed scientist; and Brian Schwartz, UGA Extension turfgrass breeder.

For more information about Bermudagrass stem maggots, see UGA Extension Bulletin 1484, “Managing Bermudagrass Stem Maggots,” at

For more information about forages, visit

Choosing Tomato Varieties (4-H Tomato Sale Going on Now)

By Jake Price

The desire for fresh homegrown tomatoes is probably the main reason homeowners have gardens.  Most plants are planted in late March and April, or when they are available at the garden centers.  Each spring, many homeowners run into problems with their plants.

Two newer, good tasting, disease resistant varieties are currently being sold by the Lowndes 4-H club to support the camping program.   The two varieties are Red Bounty and Bella Rosa which both have resistance to Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus. Call 333-5185 for more information.  Plants are $1.00 each while supplies last.

Tomatoes are susceptible to a lot of diseases.  Once infected, it is too late to stop most diseases from killing or limiting the production of the plant.   Tomatoes come in all shapes, colors, and sizes.   A few cultural practices and planting varieties that are resistant to disease can make for a more productive tomato harvest.

When selecting your plants look for varieties that have a lot of letters next to the name.  This means that plants have a built in resistance to disease.   An example would be a popular variety called Celebrity VFFNTA Hybrid.  The letters stand for the following:

V = Verticillium Wilt
F = Fusarium Wilt
FF = Fusarium Wilt race 1 and 2
N = Nematode
T = Tobacco Mosaic Virus
A = Alternaria (Early Blight)
TSWV = Tomato Spotted Wilt

Tomatoes are classified as determinate which means most of the fruit ripens over a short period of time, and indeterminant, which means that fruit will continually be produced.  Determinant varieties produce a lot of tomatoes early and once the tomatoes have been harvested the plants can be removed.                                                                                                   Popular determinant varieties include:  Bush Celebrity VFFNTA Hybrid, Bush Early Girl VFFNT Hybrid, Celebrity VFFNTA Hybrid, and Mountain Spring VFF Hybrid.  Popular indeterminant varieties are:  Early Girl VFF Hybrid, Better Boy VFN Hybrid, Big Boy Hybrid, and Beefmaster VFN Hybrid.

Cherry tomato varieties are: Jolly Hybrid, Sweet Baby Girl Hybrid, and Super Sweet 100 Hybrid.  Of course there are many more to choose from.  Cultural practices will also prevent problems.

Tomatoes like a well-drained high organic matter soil and a pH between 6.2 and 6.8.  I would recommend you have a soil test done for your garden and follow any recommendations.  A soil test can correct any pH problems.                                                                                 Tomatoes frequently have a problem with a condition called “Blossom End Rot”.  This is when the bottom of the tomato turns black.  Blossom end rot is caused by a calcium deficiency in the fruit and is made worse when soil conditions fluctuate between wet and dry.                                                                                                                                                       Additions of dolomitic lime, which raises pH and contains calcium and Magnesium, can help prevent the problem.   If your soil pH is optimal, but your calcium is low, apply gypsum at 1 pound per 100 square feet.  Foliar applications of calcium can help provide a temporary fix if the problem is not excessive.                                           Mulching around your tomato plants reduces soil moisture fluctuations and keeps the weed pressure down.  Layers of newspaper can be placed around plants and mulch can be added on top to further prevent weeds.  Pine straw, bark, leaves, or most any type of mulch will be ok.

Selecting disease resistant varieties, mulching, and following your soil test results should make your tomato season more productive.  For more information on tomatoes and varieties visit this website:

Fungicide resistance spells trouble for Georgia, Virginia vegetable farmers

Published on 03/06/19
By Clint Thompson for CAES News

Popular vegetables like broccoli and kale are among the crops that could be in danger from Alternaria leaf blight — a disease that can cause spots on some brassica crops and render them unmarketable — which has developed resistance to a once-dependable fungicide that Georgia farmers rely on, according to Bhabesh Dutta, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension plant pathologist.

Dutta recommends producers stop using Quadris on brassica crops, which include cabbage, collards, kale, mustard greens and broccoli. The fungicide is the main one farmers currently use when treating for the disease. Although further research is required to confirm his hypothesis, Dutta believes a new species of Alternaria may be responsible for the outbreak of disease. The species normally associated with Alternaria leaf blight differs from the disease that has recently been observed in Georgia’s brassica fields.

Tift County, Georgia, vegetable farmer Bill Brim is among the brassica farmers concerned about the development.

“Alternaria has become resistant to Quadris, so it’s not as good as it once was,” said Brim, co-owner of Lewis Taylor Farms in Tifton, Georgia, which includes about 1,500 acres of brassica crops. “We’ve got a little bit left in our arsenal to use for Alternaria. We just need to get something back in there we can use.”

Dutta is conducting a research trial evaluating different varieties of Alternaria leaf blight, along with different fungicide programs against this disease, at the Blackshank Farm on the UGA Tifton campus.

Dutta, an assistant professor of plant pathology in UGA’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, emphasizes the need to develop an integrated pest management (IPM) program to fight Alternaria leaf blight, especially in broccoli and leafy brassicas.

“We do have some other groups of fungicides that we’ll need to rotate, but considering how effective Quadris has been for our vegetable farmers, this resistance is a huge hit on our growers,” Dutta said.

Alternaria leaf blight first became a problem in Georgia in 2016, but has gotten significantly worse over the past two years.

“Alternaria is a foliar pathogen. Symptoms first appear on older leaves as small, dark spots that gradually enlarge with concentric rings. As the disease progresses, younger leaves can also become infected. In severe cases, infection can occur that results in rot on heads. Infection is exacerbated by humidity and extended periods of leaf wetness from overhead irrigation or frequent rainfall,” Dutta said.

Farmers can employ alternative methods to help prevent the disease from becoming more widespread in their fields. Since the pathogen can survive in crop debris, Dutta recommends farmers bury their crop debris when their spring and fall crops are harvested.

Because the disease propagates and spreads through overhead irrigation, growers should use drip irrigation or a form of subsurface irrigation to help reduce the splashing effect of the pathogen, Dutta said.

Excessive rainfall Georgia in January and February led to outbreaks of the disease this year.

“We have to try to manage this issue with good resistance-management techniques, such as rotating different modes of action in order to preserve the chemistries that we have,” said Jeremy Kichler, Colquitt County Extension coordinator. “Hopefully, if we implement good resistance-management strategies, then we can effectively manage this disease.”

According to the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, cabbage production in Colquitt County accounted for more than $42 million in farm gate value in 2017. Colquitt County, which produces approximately 6,500 acres of cabbage in the fall and spring, has experienced severe disease outbreaks.

The production of brassica crops is a profitable industry for Georgia farmers. According to the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, the state farm gate value for cabbage was $53.6 million in 2017.

Georgia is not the only state experiencing problems with Alternaria leaf blight. As early as 2015, broccoli growers in Virginia’s Northern Neck region reported severe Alternaria head rot in fields where Quadris was the primary fungicide used. During 2015 and 2016, some growers experienced complete crop failures from this pathogen.

Virginia Tech researchers led by Steve Rideout, director and vegetable plant pathologist at Virginia Tech’s Eastern Shore Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Painter, Virginia, have determined isolates of Alternaria that possess resistance to Quadris.

To learn more about vegetable production in Georgia, see

Don’t skip soil testing this spring

Published on 03/08/19

Don’t skip soil testing this spring

By Jason Lessl for CAES News

This spring, gardeners planning vegetable gardens — or even a major renovation of your ornamental beds — should take the opportunity to test their soil before they put plants in the ground.

One of the most fundamental, but often overlooked, aspects to any successful vegetable garden, flower bed, landscape or lawn is good, fertile soil. Getting your soil tested by a laboratory is the best and most accurate way to assess your nutrient and pH levels, which are vital components of maintaining your soil. The University of Georgia Soil, Plant and Water Lab offers such services.

When you send a soil sample to a lab, you will receive a detailed report of soil-nutrient levels along with crop-based recommendations on how to fix any potential deficiencies. The steps required to submit a soil sample are simple and can be achieved using a few commonly found household items. You can start by contacting your local county UGA Cooperative Extension office to acquire soil bags and to get information on how to submit samples. Find your county office by visiting or calling 1-800-ASK-UGA1.

When to soil test?

Soils can be tested any time during the year, although it is typically best to take samples in the fall or winter. This is the time of year when most plants are dormant and the soil is most accessible. If pH adjustments are necessary, it is also the best time to apply amendments, as it can take several months for them to take effect. Lime (to raise pH) and sulfur (to lower pH) react slowly and should be mixed with the soil at least two to three months before planting.

How often do I test my soil?

For intensely cultivated soils including vegetable gardens, an annual soil test is recommended. Otherwise, for lawns and ornamental areas, sampling should be done every two to three years after initially establishing medium to high fertility levels and the appropriate pH.

Steps in soil sampling

Recommendations on when and how to apply nutrients are only as good as the soil sample submitted for analysis. To obtain a representative soil sample, the following steps are useful:

  • Map out the entire property. This will help in record keeping and ensure that the soil sample is representative of the entire area. Divide areas so that each soil sample represents one general plant type. For example, take separate soil samples for vegetable gardens, blueberry bushes, ornamentals, fruit trees, lawns, etc. If you have specific problem spots, sample those areas separately as well.
  • Use clean sampling tools and containers to avoid contaminating the soil sample. Collect samples with any digging tool you have available (hand trowel, shovel, soil probe, etc.).
  • Slightly damp soil is the easiest to work with. Clear the ground surface of grass, thatch or mulch. Push your tool to a depth of 6 inches for cultivated areas or 4 inches for lawn areas. Push the handle forward in the soil to make an opening, then cut a thin slice of soil of uniform thickness from the side of the opening, extending from the top of the ground to the depth of the cut. Repeat this process in a zigzag pattern across your defined area, collecting eight to twelve samples to mix together. For trees, take soil samples from six to eight spots around and below the leaf canopy. Take about a pint (around 2 cups) of the mixed soil (after removing large rocks, mulch, sticks and roots) and fill the UGA soil sample bag. Be sure to label the sample clearly on the bag. If the samples are wet, spread the soil out over clean paper and let them air dry. You also can take your samples to your local Extension office for submission. Once the lab has received your soil, it will take two to three business days to get your report.


For more information about when or how to test your soil, visit or call 1-800-ASK-UGA1 to contact your local UGA Extension office.


A beef cattle short course will be held on March 5 at Irwinville                    8:30-9:30 a.m. Registration and Visit with Sponsors

9:30 a.m.      Welcome & Introductions
    Dr. Jacob Segers, Extension Beef Specialist, UGA

9:45 a.m.      Georgia Cattlemen’s Update
    Ms. Katelyn Malia, Director of Public Relations and Industry Information, GCA

10:00 a.m.      Using Organic Minerals in Southeastern Cow/Calf Production
    Dr. Matt Hersom, Extension Beef Specialist, UF

10:30 a.m.    Break

10:45 a.m.    Integrating Crop and Livestock Production Systems
    Dr. Marcello Wallau, Extension Forage Specialist, UF

11:30 a.m.    Technology in the Herd: Now and Down the Road
Mr. Jason Duggin, Extension Beef Specialist, UGA

12:00 p.m.     Lunch – Provided by UGA Tifton’s FFA Club (included with registration)

1:00 p.m.      The Value of Genetic Testing
Dr. Ashby Green, Neogen

1:30 p.m.      Emerging Vaccine Technology
    Dr. Clay Reynolds, Boehringher Ingelheim.

2:00 p.m.      Advantages of a Modern Breeding Soundness Exam
    Dr. Lee Jones, Food Animal Health Field Investigator, UGA

2:30 p.m.    Wrap up, Evaluations and Door Prizes

UGA Pecan Extension | Pecan Beginners Course

UGA Pecan Extension | Pecan Beginners Course

The Pecan Beginners Course will be held on April 16, 2019 from 8:30am-4:30pm at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center. See agenda below.

Pre-Registration = $10. Day-of Registration at door = $15

Register here

Beginner’s Pecan Production Course

9:00       Welcome                                                                                      

9:10       Cost of Pecan Production                                                                       

Lenny Wells, UGA Horticulture

9:30       Pecan Varieties                                                                                                                        

Patrick Conner, UGA Horticulture

10:15     Break

10:45     Pecan Irrigation                                                                          

Lenny Wells, UGA Horticulture

11:15     Pecan Tree Planting & Establishment                                   

Lenny Wells, UGA Horticulture

12:00     Break for Lunch

Meal Sponsored by Savage Equipment    

1:00       Pecan Insect Management                                                                                                   

Angel Acebes and Will Hudson, UGA Entomology

1:45       Pecan Fertilization

Lenny Wells, UGA Horticulture

2:30       Break

2:50       Pecan Disease Management

Jason Brock, UGA Plant Pathology

3:20       Pecan Weed Control

Timothy Grey, UGA Crop & Soil Science

4:00       Pecan Equipment

Lenny Wells, UGA Horticulture

Refreshments & Lunch Provided