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By Cale Cloud, Grady County Extension Service Agricultural and Natural Resources Agent
Hot and dry. That has been the story here in Grady County and most of south Georgia lately.
Thankfully, we did receive a little rain over the weekend for the first time in over two weeks, but it wasn’t enough to stop anyone from planting.
Most rain reports I have heard from talking to people were in the two-tenths range.
Hopefully, we have some more coming at the end of this week, as rain chances begin Thursday and carry on into most of next week.
Our non-irrigated crops are desperate for a rain right now, especially the corn. Even irrigated corn needs a good rain right now in order to give these irrigation systems a break, as they have been running nearly nonstop here lately.
Most of the corn crop in the county is around the tasseling stage by now, so once it hits that growth stage, it really begins using lots of water, around two-plus inches a week, and water becomes very important for the crop and too much stress can affect the yield.
Most of the peanut crop has been planted and we have a lot of peanuts up now and looking pretty good, but they could still use a rain, as well.
We have been running pivots over these young peanuts right now just to get a decent stand and to cool them off from these hot soil temperatures.
I have been seeing a pretty good bit of Aspergillus crown rot in peanuts lately, especially in non-irrigated fields.
Aspergillus crown rot is easily diagnosed by examining the black, sooty sporulation along the hypocotyl of the plant. We tend to see this disease in peanuts in hot, dry environments. In some cases, Aspergillus can be bad enough that a field may need to be replanted.
Also in the peanut fields, I have already found a few hits of early season white mold. These hot, early season conditions we have had have been favorable for early season white mold outbreaks.
Since we are already seeing white mold this early in peanuts, it would be important for growers to begin their fungicide programs around 30 days after planting, and they may want to begin their program with a product that has control over white mold.
Our cotton crop is in the same boat as peanuts. We have already planted a good bit of cotton and there’s still lots more that has to be planted.
I am already hearing reports of non-irrigated cotton that needs to be or has already been replanted, mainly due to lack of moisture and hot, dry soil temperatures “cooking” the seed or just getting a poor stand in general.
Some growers around the Whigham area received a heavy downpour a couple of weeks ago that packed a lot of cotton seed down and caused stand issues and also caused a lot of washes in the fields, so there has been some cotton replanted because of that, as well.
If you have any questions regarding row crops, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Grady County Extension Office at (229) 377-1312.