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Farm Monitor – December 7, 2019


[Announcer]
This is Farm Monitor. For over 50-years, your source for agribusiness
news and features from around the southeast and across the country, focusing on one of
the nation’s top industries, Agriculture. The Farm Monitor is produced by one of the
largest general farm organizations, the Georgia Farm Bureau. Now, here are your hosts, Ray D’Alessio and
Kenny Burgamy. [RAY]
YES INDEED, YOUR WEEKLY STOP FOR ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING RELATED TO GEORGIA AGRICULTURE. HI EVERYBODY, SO GLAD YOU COULD JOIN US FOR
ANOTHER EDITION OF THE FARM MONITOR, I AM RAY D’ALESSIO…. [KENNY]
AND I AM KENNY BURGAMY. WE’VE GOT A LOT OF GROUND TO COVER ON TODAY’S
SHOW, SO LET’S GET RIGHT TO IT. STRAIGHT HEAD, THE MONITOR TRAVELED TO MADISON
COUNTY FOR AN UPDATE ON THE 2019 SOYBEAN HARVEST AND TO SEE WHAT EFFECTS THIS HISTORICALLY
DRY GROWING SEASON MAY’VE HAD ON THIS YEARS CROP. ALSO ON THE PROGRAM, AS EXPECTED, HURRICANE
MICHAEL STILL REARING Its UGLY HEAD SOME 14-MONTHS AFTER THE FACT. PECAN PRODUCERS SHARE THEIR THOUGHTS ON HOW
THE STORM OF ALL STORMS IS IMPACTING THIS YEARS HARVEST. [RAY/VO]
AND THEN LATER, IT’S A PROBLEM OFTEN IGNORED, BUT SOMETHING THAT CAN WREAK HAVOC ON LAWNS,
DRIVEWAYS AND OTHER PARTS OF YOUR PROPERTY IF NOT ADDRESSED. THAT IS WHY WE SOUGHT OUT THE EXPERTISE OF
EXTENSION SPECIALIST PAUL PUGLIESE WHO WILL GET TO THE ROOT OF THE MATTER. ALL THIS AND MORE, STARTS RIGHT NOW ON THE
FARM MONITOR. [KENNY]
Between the low prices and poor weather, it’s been a rough growing season for Georgia soybean
producers. Damon Jones tells you how much the crop has
been affected and what’s next for farmers in a down market. [Eatonton, GA / Damon Jones ‚Äì Reporting]
While not among of the biggest crops in Georgia, there are still nearly 150,000 acres of soybeans
planted across the state. And after a bit of a delay, those growers
are out in the fields gathering up their harvest after a historically dry growing season. [Jesse Patrick – Madison County Farmer]
The planting season was pretty ideal. I mean, we had optimal rain and we had optimal
soil moisture. So, we got the crop in real well. It came up real well and when it got to pod
formation, it decided to not rain for about two months. And with dry land, farmers like ourselves,
we depend a lot on the rain, since we don’t have irrigation to make things grow. And it just put a damper on seed formation
and seed development. So, we got a lot of small pods and a lot of
small, flat seed. [Damon]
However, that rain would eventually come towards the tail end of the growing season which pushed
back the harvest while also affecting the overall quality. [Jesse]
I think everyone around this area as wells as us have had a pretty hard year for soybeans
and yield wise, especially with the no rain. And especially now that we are getting rain
during harvest time when we shouldn’t be getting any rain. The seed is starting to sprout in some spots
causing a decrease in overall seed quality. [Damon]
That means these combines will be working overtime over the next few weeks as getting
the beans out of the field in a timely fashion is of the highest priority. [Jesse]
Quality becomes a big issue. You start to lose some test weight and the
moisture tends to go down the later you leave it in the field. And then also, harvesting losses increase
with the later you leave stuff in the field as well, So, we’re seeing a little bit of
all of that due to the adverse conditions that we faced with the weather. [Damon]
While this recent flurry of wet weather has slowed down the harvest progress, growers
are still willing to take some delays if it means more rain for future crops. [Jesse]
As farmers, we’re kind of a two-sided coin. We want a lot of rain, and then we don’t want
rain at a specific point in time. So, at this point, we’ll take rain whenever
we can get it whether it puts us behind in soybeans, it will hopefully help us in wheat
and getting that crop to come up and hopefully be a good crop. [Damon]
As for the soybeans from this harvest, many farmers will be storing them away and hoping
for a rebound in price due to the trade war with China. [Jesse]
We currently do not have any contracts set. We’re going to put it in our grain bin and
hope for better prices in the future. We normally try and sell our soybeans around
January and typically over the years, we’ve gotten a little bit better price in January. But the soybean market overall is way, far
down from where it normally is. [Damon]
Reporting from Madison County, I’m Damon Jones for the Farm Monitor. [RAY]
Well as you know, Georgia leads the nation in pecan production, a title that comes with
a number of challenges, especially within the past year. After Hurricane Michael devastated the 2018
crop, producers were hoping that this growing season would be a good one. As John Holcomb reports, good wound up being
not bad, but! it could’ve been better. [Blackshear, GA/John Holcomb ‚Äì Reporting]
It was said that Hurricane Michael will be a storm that people will feel the effects
of for years to come. That most certainly is true this year, especially
for pecan producers in the state, as they are seeing their yields down once again. That was somewhat expected though, especially
the year after a big storm that decimated orchards. [Andrew Sawyer/Area Pecan Agent, SE District]
For the whole state of Georgia, you know, it’s going to be a down year compared to what
would have been last year, and that really comes from the affects still of hurricane
Michael. So, if you go into southwest Georgia in the
Albany area, they’re as low as three hundred, four hundred, five hundred pounds an acre,
which is what was expected from the devastation that they received. I work and cover the southeast district, and
even here, it’s still variable because some of the damage from the hurricane did come
over to the district a little bit. What that does is, you lost last year’s crop,
almost completely and then you also had a lot of damage to the trees, and generally
the year following a hurricane, you tend to have a, obviously a really low year. [John]
One producer that knows that all too well is Chris Clough. Him and his family farm a thousand acres of
pecans and also run this store where they shell, buy, and sell pecans to the public. He says a lot of their problem this year was
the weather. [Chris Clough/Clough Pecan Company]
The season in general has been very variable according to variety. There’s been a lot of weather issues from
a really, really dry late summer to a really wet fall during harvest. Yields have been just as variable as the production
itself. A lot by variety. Some yields have been really good on some
varieties. Most varieties have been a little bit off
this year. [John]
Aside from the growing and harvesting challenges that have come with this year, producers have
also had to worry about external factors, like trade and commodity prices. [Chris]
The impact has been really big because one, the tariffs have been really high that we’ve
had to work with. And two, the Chinese New Year was really,
really early this year, which made it really complicated to get the nuts harvested in a
timely fashion to get them to the port and to China before the New Year. That’s challenges that most of us have overcome. Some of us missed the boat on that and when
you miss the boat, there’s about a seventy-five-cent difference as an average of an export nut
as there is a domestic pecan. [John]
Even with all of that going on though, he is still optimistic for the future. [Chris]
You got to stay positive. I mean, the farmer’s motto is next year will
be better and you’ve always got to stay positive and look forward to the future. If you don’t, you’re in the wrong business. And that’s the way we look at it is next year
will be better and we’ve just got to look at the future with an open heart and open
mind and make some industry changes. [John]
Reporting in Blackshear for the Farm Monitor, I’m John Holcomb. [RAY]
ALRIGHT JOHN, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. AND THE PECAN THEME CONTINUES. AFTER THE BREAK, WE’RE GONNA TAKE YOU INSIDE
A PECAN SHAKER TO SEE WHAT REALLY GOES ON IN ONE OF THOSE THINGS. AG-ADVENTURES AND ITS NEW HOST WHEN THE FARM
MONITOR CONTINUES. [Music] [Music]
[Narrator] Marc van Iersel has been a valued faculty
member in the Department of Horticulture since 1995, during which time his research has covered
multiple areas most notably in the area of irrigation
management and greenhouses and nurseries. Van Iersel’s broad research approach addresses
numerous irrigation issues; from sub-irrigation for
greenhouses to the use of soil moisture sensors and crop water use models for managing irrigation. His
irrigation projects have been highly successful resulting in a commercial wireless sensor
network system that is specifically designed for irrigation management in greenhouses and
nurseries. Now van Iersel is pursuing research on developing
energy-efficient LED lighting for greenhouses and vertical farms. Van Iersel has earned many awards including
Fellow of the American Society for Horticultural Science, the Porter Henegar Award from the
Southern Nursery Association for Outstanding Contributions to Ornamental Horticulture
Research and the Georgia Green Industry Association Friend of the Environment Award. As one colleague said “Dr. van Iersel is one
of the most productive and talented plant physiologists in the United
States. His work ethic and output are legendary.” Congratulations Marc van Iersel on receiving
the DW Brooks Faculty Award for Excellence in Research. [Music]
[RAY] AS THE OLD SAYING GOES, THE SHOW MUST GO ON. IN THIS CASE, WE’RE TALKING ABOUT A
PARTICULAR SEGMENT. 2019 OF COURSE, SAW THE DEBUT OF AG-ADVENTURE’S
HERE ON THE FARM MONITOR, FEATURING SPECIAL CONTRIBUTOR LOGAN BARNES. WELL, MS. BARNES IS NOW A MRS. AND HAS MOVED ON TO START
A FAMILY. [RAY]
HOWEVER! A NEW VICTIM‚ĶCORRESPONDENT! THAT IS HAS EMERGED. Erin Nessmith; Georgia Farm Bureau’s Young
Farmer Coordinator and someone who is no stranger to the camera having made her way through
the FFA ranks. Her first assignment, head to a pecan field
and “shake things up”. [Music]
[Erin Nessmith/Georgia Farm Bureau YF&R Coordinator] Hey friends, welcome to Perry, Georgia for
another AG Adventure. We are standing in a pecan orchard because
Happy National Pecan Month! On today’s AG Adventure, I get to be with
one of my young farmer and rancher state committee members, Mr. Cason Anderson. And Cason is the owner of CCA Pecans and he’s
going to teach me some fun things about harvesting pecans. So, Cason tell me a little bit about who you
are, your operation, and what we get to do today. [Cason Anderson/CCA Pecan]
We farm approximately 500 producing acres in Houston, in Peach, Macon and Pulaski County. Everyone who works on our acres is under the
age of 27. [Erin]
Wow! [Cason]
So, we actually manage about 840 acres of old ones and young ones and we’ve been wide
open since late October and maybe we’ll be done by Christmas. [Erin]
So tell us about this product right here. What’re we gonna be using to actually harvest
today. [Cason}
Okay, this is a 2016 Co-Shaker. A lot of the shakers kind of mimic each other. They hadn’t changed a lot since the late 80’s,
early 90’s. But, I think they got the hydraulics and everything
down to a fine art. So, it’s self-propelled, it’s like a vehicle. The sweepers remove the nuts before you run
over ’em. [Erin]
Okay. [Cason]
I think it’s a top-notch machine. It’s comfortable, air conditioning, radio. The price tag is about the price of a small
house, but you have to have one. [Erin]
So, this has obviously changed a lot, probably not in your lifetime, but in the lifetime
of pecan operation. So, what did they used to use before technology
was brought in? [Cason]
I think bamboo poles, pipe, there was some attachment that they would tie a rope to a
limb and the tractor would shake it. I’ve heard a story of putting a rubber tire
on the front of a tractor and giving the farmhand a metal bucket over his head. [Erin]
No kidding. [Fast Paced Music]
[Cason] All right, Erin. First thing before we crank it up, your sweepers
are on. And I’m gonna tell you, to raise the boom,
you pull it back, just like a tractor joystick. To lower the boom, you push it down. This is what closes the shaker head and it
automatically senses that it’s ready to shake. And then when you’re done… We’ll shake for about two to three seconds. If you were here in December, we… No leaves in the trees, we shake ’til they’re
all gone. And then when you’re done shaking, you’ll
hit that to open it. There’s also a diagram there to help you. [Erin]
Peddle clutch, how does that work? [Cason]
It’s no… it’s just like a zero-turn lawn mower. It’s hydrostatic, you have a forward-reverse
pedal. You have a foot throttle, but when you’re
shaking in the orchard, I usually set my RPM to 1776. I just thought that was a good number. [Erin]
America. [Cason]
Yeah, but you want the right pad to be close to the trunk, and let the left do all the
closing and keep your head as straight and level as possible. [Erin]
Okay. I trust that you’re going to tell me it’s
good. [Cason]
Yeah. [Erin]
Okay. [Fast Paced Music]
[Engine Starting] [Erin]
Okay Cason, how’d I do? [Cason]
I’m not lying for TV, of all the bark’s there. I think you actually did really good. [Erin]
That was so much fun. [Cason]
And that was not rehearsed. That was the first time. [Erin]
That was so cool! And this is literally the first time that
I’ve ever driven any type of heavy equipment, if you call this heavy equipment. That was so much fun. I hope you all enjoyed that experience as
much as I did. It’s always an experience in agriculture. Happy National Pecan Month! Thank you, Cason, for having me out here. This was a really cool experience. We’ll see you next time on another AG Adventure. [Fast paced music]
[RAY] WAY TO GO ERIN, GREAT JOB. UP NEXT, FROM PECAN TREE’S WE TURN TO TREE
ROOTS AND THE IMPORTANT MEASURES YOU CAN TAKE TO ENSURE THEY DO NOT BECOME A NUISANCE ON
YOUR PROPERTY… [Music] [upbeat music]
[Stanley Culpepper] When I came to the University of Georgia,
I actually had vegetable responsibilities. Fortunately, the first person I met was Bill
Brim at Lewis Taylor Farms. He took a untold amount of hours in time to
help me understand Georgia agriculture, Georgia produce production and the time and effort
that he took to get my program off the ground was amazing. [Jessica Brim Kirk]
I didn’t appreciate what he had done, and what he does do, until I started working out
here. I didn’t – I didn’t understand the things
that he did and that he fought for and that he continues to
do every day. [Dr. Culpepper]
He always puts everybody else before him, again whether he’s helping us politically,
whether he’s helping us through Extension or helping us through research. He always finds the time. Every time I ask him “Hey I have a group from
the US EPA. Can you do a tour?” “Absolutely” – takes two hours out of his
time to help. USDA, University of Georgia – it just doesn’t
matter. He takes so much time to help share his knowledge. [Jessica]
He has the knowledge, he has the ability to go out and reach people that can make changes
and can make sure that everybody – not just us – but all farmers, all areas of agriculture
that are touched by – if it’s a disaster or if it’s you know, guest worker programs or
whatever, he can get out there and he can talk to them and he can make them understand
why it’s so important. [Bill Brim]
I just always thought it was really important somebody to be able to speak out and like
I said I’ve got a pretty big mouth, so I speak out pretty well on occasions when my hearts
into it. [Jessica]
That in one minute he can go from talking to the governor or a senator to
talking to one of our laborers in the field and he treats them all the same. He treats them all with respect. He treats them all with kindness, but he can
make them all understand how important what we
need or what all our farmers need. [Dr. Culpepper]
He’s traveled with me numerous times to Washington, D.C. to fight to keep grower tools, to get
new grower tools and he’s always going out of his way to help anybody in agriculture. [Bill Brim]
The opportunities that were afforded to me to be able to go to different places like
Atlanta up to the legislature to Washington, D.C. [Dr. Culpepper]
Just my cooperation with him mostly through the US EPA, his impact has been essentially
mind-boggling. His impact on the number of management tools
that we’ve been able to bring to growers is worth millions and millions and millions of
dollars. [Jessica]
I think it’s a huge, huge honor for daddy and for us to be able to see people acknowledge
the work that he has done and the time and the effort and to be able to reflect back
on all the years and the hard work that he has put in, not just on our farm and not just
with the things that we do here every day but throughout the state of Georgia and the
southeast, all the work that he’s put in to make sure that farmers
are protected, and that agriculture continues to strive and grow and thrive here in the
southeast. [Bill Brim]
I think my legacy though is when the farmers come up to me and tell me that they certainly,
appreciate what I’ve done for them and for our community of farmers that we, we always
will be able to think back how those farms will call you and just say thank you for what
you’ve done. [music fades out]
[Music] [Paul Pugliese/UGA Extension, Barrow County]
Hi, I’m Paul Pugliese, with the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension. As a county extension agent, we get a lot
of calls and complaints about tree roots coming up in peoples’ lawns. The first question I always ask is, ‘well,
how old is the tree?’, because some trees, they get big and their roots continue to grow
out into that lawn over time. This is a great example of an oak tree that’s,
you know, fully mature at this point, and those roots are obviously way out into the
lawn. A lot of people don’t realize how far the
roots of a tree, on a mature tree, actually can go. A lot of studies show now that the roots on
a tree can go as far as one and a half to two times the width of the canopy of that
tree. So that’s a long ways. You’re looking at 30 plus feet, maybe 40 feet
out from this tree that the roots actually extend. And so we know they’re getting into the lawn,
and that causes a couple of different conflicts. For one, those tree roots that come up into
the grass are gonna be susceptible to being hit by lawnmowers and weed eaters all the
time. And that’s causing permanent damage to that
tree. Every time you hit that tree, that wound is
gonna open up, it’s gonna be an open wound that can attract insects and diseases, and
cause decay and rot, and eventually, that can actually catch up to that tree, and maybe
even kill that tree. So that’s something that you want to prevent
or avoid. A lot of people ask, ‘well, can I cover those
roots with soil?’ In fact, that’s really not a good idea. If you put too much soil or topsoil over those
roots, you could actually smother those roots and cause more damage than good. So really, the best thing that you can do
to protect those roots is to put mulch out, to protect those roots. And again, the farther out you can go, the
better to try to protect them. Another issue that we see commonly with tree
roots and lawns, is because they are getting out into that lawn area, they can be a tripping
hazard, and they’re also gonna be possibly coming into contact with herbicides; If you’re
spraying for weeds in your lawn, that tree’s gonna be taking up some of those herbicides
over time, and eventually, if it takes up enough herbicides, that could be a stress,
or it could potentially cause permanent damage to that tree as well. So these are all good reasons to try to avoid,
you know having roots in your lawn. And so you’re gonna have to redraw those bed
lines periodically to figure out how we’re gonna protect those roots and incorporate
that into your lawn and your landscape. [Music]
[Paul] So this is a great example of a smaller tree. This is actually a redbud tree that doesn’t
have, obviously, any mulch that’s protecting those roots. And again, the best thing to protect a tree,
and to increase the longevity of a tree, and to protect the health of that tree, is to
make sure you cover those roots with mulch. And it’s something that you actually have
to you know, continue to add and replenish that mulch periodically, as well. Realize, too, that trees get bigger. This tree is still kinda small, but eventually
it’s gonna outgrow this space, and you’re gonna have to expand that mulch island over
time. And so I actually recommend redrawing your
landscape bed lines once every ten years around trees. Cause, you know, a tree 30 years from now
is a lot bigger, and you’re gonna have a lot more roots that you need to mulch and protect,
because you’re not gonna be able to grow grass there at the end of the day, and the tree
is not gonna do very well in that situation. So one of the ways you can do that is to take
a garden hose and lay that around the base of the tree, and try to get it out at least
to the drip line, and again, the further out you can go, the better for that tree to protect
the more… Protect more roots, obviously. So we can also try to, in this case, incorporate
that bed line into an existing landscape bed, so it ties in nicely with the other shrubs
and flowers that we have in the landscape. So once you get your hose situated the way
that you want, I recommend getting some marking paint that you can get at the local hardware
store and spraying out along that hose the shape and size of that bed that you want. That way you know exactly where it is, and
if you have gravel or rocks or anything in there, you can dig those out. And again, get it down to just the roots and
add your mulch, and what we look for is about three to four inches of mulch. And I always say, any mulch is better than
any mulch, than no mulch at all. Whether it’s pine straw, or wood bark, or
composted wood bark’s fine, or whatever you want to incorporate into your landscape is
good. But you gotta protect those roots. And again, redraw those bed lines every ten
years or so as that tree gets larger. So, if you have any other questions about
maintaining trees, go to our website at ugaextension.com and call your local county extension office;
Or continue to follow us on the Georgia Farm Monitor. [RAY]
THANK YOU PAUL. AND, THANK YOU FOR WATCHING. [KENNY]
TAKE CARE EVERYBODY, WE’LL SEE YOU NEXT WEEK, RIGHT HERE ON THE FARM MONITOR. [RAY]
HAVE A GREAT WEEK

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