May/June 2017 Southeastern Peanut Farmer

mayjune2017_cvrThe May/June 2017 issue of the Southeastern Peanut Farmer is now available online.
Click here!

This issues features:

  • Farming the Delta
  • Irrigation Guidebook
  • Sunbelt Expo Field Day
  • Check off reports from the state grower
    organizations
  • Washington Update
  • Southern Peanut Growers Update
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UGA Insect Scouting Schools to be held in Tifton and Midville, Georgia

UGA Extension peanut entomologist Mark Abney advocates insect scouting. Photo credit: University of Georgia.

UGA Extension peanut entomologist Mark Abney advocates insect scouting.
Photo credit: University of Georgia.

The annual University of Georgia Insect Scouting Schools are open to farmers, consultants and those interested in learning how to diagnose insect damage on high-value agricultural crops like cotton, peanuts and soybeans.

The schools will be held at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center in Tifton, Georgia, on Monday, June 12, and at the Southeast Georgia Research and Education Center in Midville, Georgia, on Tuesday, June 20.

UGA Cooperative Extension entomologists Mark Abney and Phillip Roberts will conduct both trainings, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Participants will learn basic information on identification of insects and damage, pests’ natural enemies and scouting procedures. The schools will include an in-field review and cover insect and caterpillar pests, beneficial insects and safety.

“No matter the year, you can almost guarantee that insect pressure will be high. Whether you’re talking about burrower bugs in peanuts, thrips in cotton and peanuts, or the kudzu bug in soybeans, there are pests out there that can inflict significant damage on crops if our farmers are not monitoring carefully,” Roberts said. “That’s why we stress the importance of scouting and scouting regularly.”

Beginning scouts will be introduced to insect detection, while experienced scouts and producers could use the sessions as a review.

“These schools offer hands-on training from experienced entomologists who know what to look for in the field,” Roberts said. “All farmers who are producing row crops this year will benefit from these scouting schools.”

Roberts stresses pest management through scouting. UGA Extension advises farmers to scout their crops every week.

To register for the scouting school in Tifton, contact Debbie Rutland at 229-386-3424. To register for the Midville scouting school, contact Peyton Sapp at 706-554-2119.

(by Clint Thompson, news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences based in Tifton.)

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Sonny Perdue Sworn in as 31st U.S. Secretary of Agriculture

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Sonny Perdue, with his wife Mary, takes the oath of office administered by Associate Justice Clarence Thomas. Photo credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Sonny Perdue was sworn in as the 31st U.S. Secretary of Agriculture by fellow Georgian and Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Clarence Thomas in a brief ceremony today at the Supreme Court building.  The U.S. Senate confirmed Secretary Perdue by a vote of 87-to-11 on Monday evening.  After Secretary Perdue took the oath of office, he addressed employees at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) before getting to work on his first day.  Also this morning, USDA launched his official Twitter handle: @SecretarySonny .

“The only legacy that I seek is the only one that any grandparent or parent seeks – to be good stewards, and to hand off our nation, our home, our fields, our forests, and our farms to the next generation in better shape than we found it,” Perdue said.  “Making sure that Americans who make their livelihoods in the agriculture industry have the ability to thrive will be one of my top priorities. I am committed to serving the customers of USDA, and I will be an unapologetic advocate for American agriculture.”

Perdue’s policies as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture will be guided by four principles which will inform his decisions.  First, he will maximize the ability of the men and women of America’s agriculture and agribusiness sector to create jobs, to produce and sell the foods and fiber that feed and clothe the world, and to reap the earned reward of their labor. It should be the aim of the American government to remove every obstacle and give farmers, ranchers, and producers every opportunity to prosper.  Second, he will prioritize customer service every day for American taxpayers and consumers.  They will expect, and have every right to demand, that their government conduct the people’s business efficiently, effectively, and with the utmost integrity.  Third, as Americans expect a safe and secure food supply, USDA will continue to serve in the critical role of ensuring the food we put on the table to feed our families meets the strict safety standards we’ve established.  Food security is a key component of national security, because hunger and peace do not long coexist.  And fourth, Perdue will always remember that America’s agricultural bounty comes directly from the land.  And today, those land resources sustain more than 320 million Americans and countless millions more around the globe.  Perdue’s father’s words still ring true: We’re all stewards of the land, owned or rented, and our responsibility is to leave it better than we found it.

“As secretary, I will champion the concerns of farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers, and will work tirelessly to solve the issues facing our farm families,” Perdue said.  “I am proud to have been given this opportunity and look forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting to work as we continue to move the USDA and our nation forward.”

Upon nominating Secretary Perdue in January, President Donald J. Trump said, “Sonny Perdue is going to accomplish great things as Secretary of Agriculture. From growing up on a farm to being governor of a big agriculture state, he has spent his whole life understanding and solving the challenges our farmers face, and he is going to deliver big results for all Americans who earn their living off the land.”

 

 

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April 2017 Southeastern Peanut Farmer

The April 2017 issue of the Southeastern Peanut Farmer is now available online.
Click here!

april2017sepf_cvrThis issue features:

  • Peanut Leadership Academy meets for second session in Albany
  • Boyd family named National Outstanding Young Farmers
  • Peanut Disease Guidebook
  • Peanut Insect Guidebook
  • Census of Agriculture
  • McMillan testifies on farm bill
  • Check off reports from the state grower organizations
  • Southern Peanut Growers Update
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Georgia peanut farmers need to consider replanting options in timely manner

Dryland peanuts in a field in Georgia in 2014. Photo credit: University of Georgia CAES.

Dryland peanuts in a field in Georgia in 2014.
Photo credit: University of Georgia CAES.

Georgia peanut farmers who plant a crop in mid-to-late April should make a decision on a second crop within two to four weeks of planting their initial crop. University of Georgia researcher and systems peanut agronomist Scott Tubbs helps farmers make that decision.

Tubbs’ research focuses on the economical feasibility of replanting peanuts.

“We want farmers to make those replanting decisions as early as possible, but you do have to give the peanuts enough time to come up (and be) fairly confident the majority of emergence has occurred. If you plant in relatively cool conditions, you could have a lot of variability in emergence,” Tubbs said.

Spotty rows, which are the result of improper plant stands, can significantly reduce yields. Tubbs stresses the importance of allowing the plants to emerge.

“In Plains, Georgia, a few years ago, I had a research trial that I assessed seven days after planting. It wasn’t long enough. I went back at about 14 days and we did our counts and started to consider things. After 17 or even 20 days, we looked at referenced rows and there were quite a few more that had come up in that timeframe,” Tubbs said.

Late-planted peanuts — those planted in late May — need to be checked for emergence between the two- and three-week window. Tubbs insists that checking at four weeks is way too late.

“The longer you wait, the bigger the initial plants (those planted in late May) get, and then they’re going to dwarf any replanted plants,” Tubbs said.

Replanting is necessary when farmers do not get an ideal plant stand.

Poor seed emergence can result from the germination percentage of the seed, handling or storage of the seed, and the previous year’s weather conditions. The likelihood of emergence is lower if the seed receives little to no water.

Other factors contributing to poor seed emergence involve management conditions, like whether the peanuts were planted too early, the soil temperature was too low, or an herbicide was sprayed at the wrong time. Weather patterns can also impact peanut seed production.

“Even if soil temperatures are adequate, if a cold front comes through or we experience an unexpected rainfall event that cools off the soil temperature quickly, it can shock the seedlings and result in a poor stand,” he said.

Tubbs defines a good plant stand as 2.5 plants per foot based on UGA research over the last five years. Considering the costs to replant — labor, additional seed, equipment, etc. — it is not economically feasible to replant if initial planting produced at least 2.5 plants per foot.

If a farmer’s peanut field has two plants per foot or less, it is economically acceptable to replant, he said.

Peanuts are a high-value crop in Georgia, generating more than $684 million in farm gate value in 2015, according to the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development.

by Clint Thompson, news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences based in Tifton

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U.S. peanut industry donates 30,000 jars of peanut butter to Capital Area Food Bank

U.S. peanut industry representatives from the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation, American Peanut Shellers Association and National Peanut Buying Points Association join with U.S. Representative Sanford Bishop, D-Georgia, (center) to donate 30,000 jars of peanut butter to the Capital Area Food Bank in Washington, D.C. on National Ag Day, March 21, 2017.

U.S. peanut industry representatives from the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation, American Peanut Shellers Association and National Peanut Buying Points Association join with U.S. Representative Sanford Bishop, D-Georgia, (center) to donate 30,000 jars of peanut butter to the Capital Area Food Bank in Washington, D.C. on National Ag Day, March 21, 2017.

The U.S. peanut industry donated more than 30,000 jars of peanut butter to Capital Area Food Bank in Washington, D.C. on National Ag Day, March 21, 2017. The Capital Area Food Bank is the largest organization in the Washington metro area working to solve hunger and its companion problems: chronic undernutrition, heart disease, and obesity. The donation was made possible by the partners of the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation, which includes Alabama Peanut Producers Association, Florida Peanut Producers Association, Georgia Peanut Commission and Mississippi Peanut Growers Association.

“We have found that peanut butter is one of the most requested items by food banks nationwide”, says Caleb Bristow, Alabama Peanut Producers Association executive director and Southern Peanut Farmers Federation member. “Not only is it a high-quality product, but it is full of nutrition and tastes great. On behalf of the Southern Peanut Farmer’s Federation, representing peanut farmers all across the Southeast, we are excited and proud to have this opportunity to provide this donation to the Capital Area Food Bank.”

Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr., representative of Georgia’s second congressional district, joined the Federation members during the donation.

“I am honored to serve the top peanut producing congressional district in the country. Peanuts are a vital product of Middle and Southwest Georgia, and a key ingredient for an assortment of delicious and nutritious food products,” Congressman Bishop says. “I applaud the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation for their donation of 30,000+ jars of Peanut Proud peanut butter to the Capital Area Food Bank. This kind and generous donation will aid the Food Bank in their efforts to feed and provide for the surrounding community.”

By partnering with 444 community organizations in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, as well as delivering food directly into hard to reach areas, the CAFB is helping 540,000 people each year get access to good, healthy food.

“We applaud their focus on nutrition combined with educational support,” says Armond Morris, chairman of the Georgia Peanut Commission and Southern Peanut Farmers Federation member. “In the Washington, D.C., area 700,000 residents are at risk of hunger and we are proud as an industry to help support the food bank that is serving families in need in the area.”

Donations from organizations such as the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation are essential to the food bank’s operations, and allow the Capital Area Food Bank to distribute 46 million pounds of food to its network of partner nonprofits each year.

“Peanut butter is one of the hardest items to keep on our shelves because it’s protein-packed, kid-friendly, and in high demand from our partners,” said Jody Tick, chief operating officer at the food bank. “We’re thrilled for this donation, and 30,000 jars of peanut butter will go a long way towards helping children and families in our area get the food they need to live well”.

The donation was also made in celebration of National Peanut Month in March and National Ag Day. One serving of peanuts is a good source of protein, vitamin E, niacin, folate, phosphorus and magnesium. Peanuts are naturally cholesterol-free and low in saturated fat.

For additional details on the donation, visit the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation website at www.southernpeanutfarmers.org.

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Georgia peanut crop expected to top 700,000 acres this year

6Georgia’s peanut crop is expected to exceed 700,000 acres this year, which increases both hope for income improvement and fear of loss to disease, according to Scott Monfort, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension peanut agronomist.

“We typically grow in the neighborhood of 500,000 to 600,000 acres, and that’s where we need to be. But with the positive price the way it is, and overall marketplace, growers are trying to make a profit. That’s why we’re growing as many (acres) as we are,” said Monfort.

The increased acreage means that crop rotations are being shortened. Monfort estimates that about 20 percent of the peanuts will be produced under a shortened rotation, which is not good for sustainability. Peanuts have to be grown on a longer rotation – three to four years between peanut crops – to effectively minimize disease and insect pressure.

“Our rotations are already suffering from being shortened from what we recommend,” Monfort said. “This increases potential problems with disease and other issues. It’s going to negatively impact yields as we continue to grow this many acres.”

Another factor that peanut growers need to be mindful of is this year’s unseasonably warm winter. Monfort said diseases and nematodes are going to get an earlier start than normal.

Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) is another disease that peanut growers have been plagued by for several decades. The virus is the focus of much of UGA’s peanut research, which includes the development of the UGA Tomato Spotted Wilt Index for Peanuts. More information is available at tomatospottedwiltinfo.caes.uga.edu/peanut/risk.html.

Until a couple of years ago, TSWV was kept in check through efforts at breeding resistance into varieties, which has been ongoing since the early 2000s, and the development of the TSWV risk index. Now, TSWV has become a problem again.

“The virus is starting to creep back up,” Monfort said. “Over the last three years, it has gotten worse and worse, not at significant levels, but enough that we can tell the levels are starting to increase.”

Growers are encouraged to look over the TSWV risk index to find ways of preventing TSWV or reducing effects of an infection.

Monfort believes the costs of managing diseases and nematodes are going to be elevated this year. To avoid peanuts succumbing to these pests, growers are advised to avoid skipping any management steps.

“If you have a field that’s at a higher risk for disease, make sure to adjust your management situation for that,” Monfort said. “If you have a higher risk of insects or weeds, you have to adjust what you’re doing to effectively control them. We hope they (growers) don’t cut corners. We hope that they have somebody scouting, consulting or somebody to just walk the fields and keep a record of what’s happening in the fields.”

by Julia Rodriquez, intern for UGA Tifton Campus

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McMillan testifies during U.S. House Ag Committee hearing on farm bill

2017_timmcmillan_photofromhearingWASHINGTON, D.C. – Tim McMillan, farmer from Enigma, Georgia, testified today in support of maintaining the peanut provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill and the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program in the next farm bill. In his testimony, McMillan says, “If the PLC program had not been in place, I am afraid many farms in the Southeast would no longer exist because of the downturn in the farm economy which has plagued us the past three years.” McMillan testified on behalf of the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation today at the hearing titled, “The Next Farm Bill: Commodity Policy Part II” before the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management.

The Southern Peanut Farmers Federation’s member organizations produce approximately 80 percent of the U.S. peanut crop. The Federation members include Alabama Peanut Producers Association, Florida Peanut Producers Association, Georgia Peanut Commission and Mississippi Peanut Growers Association.

According to McMillan, the Federation supports maintaining the current PLC program in the 2014 Farm Bill including the current reference price for peanuts, a separate peanut payment limit and storage and handling provisions.

According to McMillan’s testimony, the 2014 Farm Bill was drafted during a period of high prices on the farm. “When we compare average prices in 2011-12 to 2016 prices, we see a 30 percent decline in peanut prices,” he says. “I see the real impact of these numbers in the faces of my neighbors and hear it in discussions with lenders and our suppliers.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture projected 2017 net farm income in the U.S. to be $62.3 billion which translates to a 49.6 percent decline in net farm income since 2013.

The PLC program has worked for peanuts, McMillan adds, but peanuts are not sufficient to carry an entire farming operation. “In a time when corn and cotton prices have been depressed and with the lack of a cotton PLC program, more pressure has been placed on farmers to plant peanuts by lenders,” McMillan says.

Currently, demand of peanuts has kept pace with the supply of peanuts. U.S. per capita peanut consumption increased 12 percent from 2012 to 2016. The peanut industry has also witnessed strong growth in the export market growing by 71 percent between the 2008 and 2014 Farm Bill.

For more information and a copy of the complete testimony provided by McMillan visit, www.southernpeanutfarmers.org.

View Tim McMillan’s testimony.
Watch the archived hearing.
Through the Eyes of a Farmer video series feature on Tim McMillan.

 

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Auburn, NPRL Release New Peanut Variety

Charles Chen, professor of peanut breeding and genetics, says the new peanut variety AU-NPL 17 establishes a research pipeline for future releases.

Charles Chen, professor of peanut breeding and genetics, says the new peanut variety AU-NPL 17 establishes a research pipeline for future releases.

Auburn University might be relatively new to the peanut breeding business, but its just-released runner peanut variety is already winning accolades for its high yields, resistance to disease and healthy traits.

The new release—AU-NPL 17—is the product of a peanut breeding program operated jointly by the College of Agriculture’s Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences and USDA’s National Peanut Research Lab in Dawson, Georgia. It’s the first runner-type cultivar released by the program and is well-adapted for growing conditions throughout the Southeast.

Runner peanuts are most commonly used for making peanut butter and are typically grown in Alabama, Georgia, Texas, Florida, South Carolina, Mississippi and Arkansas. They account for 80 percent of the estimated 1.5 million acres of peanuts grown in the United States, with Alabama growers planting approximately 175,000 acres this past year.

While the Auburn peanut breeding program is the youngest of its kind in the Southeast, it is rapidly making a name for itself, says Charles Chen, a former USDA Agricultural Research Service research geneticist who joined the College of Agriculture in 2012 and is a professor of peanut breeding and genetics.

“With the release of this first runner-type variety, we’re establishing a research pipeline,” Chen says. “Now we’ll be able to make new crosses or selections and other varieties can be released through the program. There’s always something to improve upon; you never reach perfection. That is why we are here.”

Future releases will build on AU-NPL 17’s high yield, disease resistance and other factors, he says.

“You can never totally suppress pests if you continue to grow a cultivar in the field,” Chen says. “By nature, pests will mutate and fight resistance and tolerance, so resistance eventually will be conquered by pest mutations.”

AU-NPL 17 has been tested throughout Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and North Carolina, where runner-type peanuts of a medium maturity group are adapted.

“It has shown good adaptability, with its primary advantage being high yields and good adaptation from irrigated fields to nonirrigated, from single to twin-row patterns, and when grown with or without fungicide treatments,” Chen says.

In terms of yield per acre, AU-NPL 17 compares favorably with Georgia-06G, the University of Georgia release that has been the gold standard of Southeastern growers for several years now. In yield tests conducted in 2014 and 2015 in Headland, Fairhope, Dawson and Hattiesburg, Mississippi. AU-NPL 17 averaged 6,499 pounds per acre in eight tests as compared to Georgia-06G’s average of 6,175 pounds per acre.

In USDA Uniform Peanut Performance Tests 2016, AU-NPL 17 yielded higher than Georgia-06G in Alabama and North Carolina. In terms of ranking, the Auburn variety was ranked No. 1 in Alabama tests and No. 2 in North Carolina tests, with GA-06G ranking No. 5 in both tests.

AU-NPL 17 also is resistant to tomato spotted wilt virus and tolerant to leaf spot disease, both primary pest concerns for Southeastern growers. In addition, it has some resistance to white mold.

“In tests without fungicide treatments, AU-NPL 17 is generally more resistant or tolerant to tomato spotted wilt virus, early and late leaf spot and white mold than other cultivars in the test,” Chen says.

Continue reading online . . .

By Paul Hollis, Auburn University

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March 2017 Southeastern Peanut Farmer

The March 2017 issue of the Southeastern Peanut Farmer is now available online.
Click here!

march2017sepf_coverThis issue features:

  • 2,4-D and Dicamba Dangers
  • Peanut Weed Guidebook
  • Florida Peanut Producers Association holds 42nd annual meeting
  • Mississippi Peanut Growers holds annual meeting and trade show
  • Alabama-Florida Peanut Trade Show held in February
  • Branch named Outstanding Georgia Young Peanut Farmer
  • Peanut industry provides relief in times of disaster
  • Check off reports from the state grower organizations
  • Legislative Update
  • Southern Peanut Growers Update
Posted in Alabama News, Florida News, General, Georgia News, Legislative, Mississippi News | Leave a comment