PUMPING WATER AS FAST AS THEY CAN, many Georgia irrigation systems can’t keep up with plants’ water needs. Underdesigned systems or hesitant farmers supplement rain, instead of replace it, as irrigation systems are engineered to do. But using it to supplement rain means lost yields, said a University of Georgia engineer. “You have to be committed to supplying the moisture needs of the crop,” said Tony Tyson. “Sometimes that means irrigating 24 hours a day. But you have to do it.” (Photo courtesy the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.) Kerry Harrison — UGA CAES “For the most part, people have drawn that conclusion from past experience,”said Tyson, an irrigation specialist. “But either their system was underdesigned orthe farmer was hesitant to run it long enough to supply the peak water demand.”Usually, the problem isn’t the system. “Most systems less than 10 years old areadequately designed,” he said.The problem, he said, is that many Georgia farmers use supplemental irrigation. Theyjust fill in between rains. When their crop shows signs of moisture stress, they crank upthe irrigation.That approach is costly, he said, in years like this, when dry spells are long andtemperatures high.”If you wait until you see signs of stress, you’ve already hurt the yieldpotential,” he said. “That’s especially true in the critical pollinating andfruiting period.”Losing any yield is costly. Georgia growers get up to 1,400 pounds of cotton fromirrigated fields. A loss of 230 pounds per acre would mean about $100 million overGeorgia’s 600,000 acres of irrigated cotton.The Georgia Agricultural Statistics Servicerates 73 percent of Georgia’s 1.4 million acres of cotton as only “fair” orworse. About 40 percent is irrigated.Tyson figures most yield losses on irrigated acres could be avoided if the systems weredesigned and used right.”We recommend designs that will meet peak demand,” he said. “That meansthat with no rainfall at all, the system will supply the highest demand of a givencrop.”With most row crops, he said, the system must provide up to one and one-quarter inchesof water every three days.Some systems can’t meet that demand. “In the late 1970s and early ’80s,irresponsible or inexperienced irrigation contractors sometimes cut the system capacity tocome up with a competitive price,” he said. “Some of those systems can’t put outenough water in conditions like this.”Some farmers irrigate out of ponds they have already pumped dry. But Tyson said thatshouldn’t happen.”That’s one of the things we look at in the design,” he said. “It’s hardto justify making the kind of investment you have to make on irrigation if you don’t haveadequate water.”Some strategies, though, avoid problems even with underdesigned systems. “Werecommend splitting the system,” he said, “and planting different crops underthem that don’t require peak irrigation at the same time.”Most crops have a water-use curve, he said, that ranges from less than one-tenth toabout one-third of an inch per day. The peak water demand for corn and tobacco is in Mayand June. For cotton and peanuts, it’s July and August.Most farmers, though, have systems that can put out plenty of water. But for variousreasons, they hesitate until they’ve already lost valuable yields.”Some of our farmers do a good job with irrigation management,” Tyson said.”I can just about guarantee you somebody will make 1,400 pounds of cotton per acreeven this year.”The ones who manage their irrigation well, he said, are committed to supplying waterwhenever their crops need it.”You’re not going to make peak yields with supplemental irrigation in stressfulconditions,” Tyson said. “You have to be committed to supplying the moistureneeds of the crop. Sometimes that means irrigating 24 hours a day. But you have to doit.” It’s not just the drought hurting Georgia farmers this year. A University of Georgia expert said the way many water theircrops could cut $100 million from cotton yields alone.Struggling to keep their crops healthy, Georgia farmers often declare that even inirrigated fields, they need rain to get good yields.But that’s not necessarily true, said Tony Tyson,an Extension Service engineer with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
Checking and savings account statements. Loan and repayment schedules (including credit cards) and payment receipts. “. . . You need to keep good records all the time, not just because you’re worried about the Y2K ‘bug.'” Esther Maddux, UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences FDIC Federal Trade Commission Department of Commerce Investment account statements. With these records, if problems do occur, you’ll be able to straighten them out quickly. For further peace of mind, the Federal Trade Commission offers these precautions to ease your way into the next millennium. For more information about Y2K and your finances, visit these sites on the World Wide Web: Computer experts have been working hard to make sure nothing will happen to your bank accounts on Jan. 1, 2000, said a University of Georgia specialist. You need not worry. “There are some end-of-year statements and paperwork to collect,” said Esther Maddux, an Extension Service financial specialist with the UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences. “But you need to keep good records all the time, not just because you’re worried about the Y2K ‘bug.'” Banking and financial institutions began preparation for the 1999-2000 rollover severalyears ago. So their systems are either compliant or are scheduled to be compliant before the newyear. “The banks are ready,” Maddux said. “So banking customers just need to collect recordsthey normally would at the end of the year.” Maddux recommends you have three to six months’ worth of these records at the end of the year. Social Security Administration Ask your financial service provider how it is dealing with the rollover. If you’re not comfortable with the response, consider doing business elsewhere. Some people plan to have a little extra cash on hand near the new year, just in case. But remember, cash can easily be lost or stolen. Banking experts say any funds in FDIC-insured accounts are safe, no matter what happens to the computers. In a recent on-line interview, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation chairman Donna Tanoue said, “FDIC-insured deposits are safe, just as they always have been. The FDIC’s protection of insured deposits will not be affected by the year 2000.” Ask what type of backup records are kept in case of an emergency. How would these records be used to identify and correct problems affecting your deposit, loan, or other account? Get a copy of your credit report from one of the three major credit bureaus — Equifax (800-685-1111), Experian (800-682-7654) or TransUnion (800-916-8800) — before and after Jan. 1, 2000. You may be charged up to $8 for your report. Check for errors and report them to the credit bureau.
Walter Reeves UGA CAES File Photo On “Gardening in Georgia” this week, host Walter Reeves shows how he handles those floppy plants that can be a continuing garden problem.Reeves details how he made two forms to bend inexpensive wire and rod to make plant supports just as good as the costly ones in the garden store.”Gardening in Georgia” will air Wednesday, Aug. 22, at 7:30 p.m. and will be rebroadcast Saturday, Aug. 25, at 12:30 p.m. on Georgia Public Television.On this week’s show, Reeves takes us to the Center for Applied Nursery Research, which works at breeding and testing new plants for Georgia. Kay Bowman describes her research on breeding a better hypericum (St. John’s wort), using pollen from plants having different blooms and shapes.Margaret Mosley’s GardenCo-host Tara Dillard takes viewers on a visit to long-time gardener Margaret Mosley’s wonderland. Gardening in the shade isn’t a contradiction for Margaret. Her shady long border, filled with deciduous and evergreen shrubs, perennials and trees, is always a delight.Margaret has mixed in interesting foliage textures and colors along with making sure there is always something in bloom. She includes ferns, hosta, hellebore, camellias, viburnum, leucothoe, mahonia, azalea, holly and daphne.Duplicate the list of what Margaret grows for your shade garden and you’re guaranteed beauty, blooms and low maintenance.In its third season, “Gardening in Georgia” airs each Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. and is rebroadcast every Saturday at noon or 12:30 p.m. Learn more about it at the show’s Web site.The show is designed specifically for Georgia gardeners. It’s produced by the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and GPTV.
University of GeorgiaGeorgia landscape workers can get valuable information andpesticide license credits at the North Georgia Landscape and TurfClinic Oct. 3 at Gainesville College.The program will cover the Worker Protection Standard, soilnutrition, tree and ornamental diseases, utility line safety,weeds in ornamentals and turf, water conservation and turfinsects.Participants can earn 4 hours of commercial pesticide licensecredit in category 24 (ornamentals and turf) and 2 hours ofprivate pesticide applicators credit. The update will start at 9a.m. and end at 4 p.m. The cost is $15.To learn more, call Billy Skaggs at (770) 531-6988. Or e-mail himat email@example.com.
University of GeorgiaGeorgia tobacco growers have been mailed ballots and asked to vote on whether to keep the Georgia Tobacco Commission. To be counted, ballots must be postmarked by March 28.The GTC provides funds for research, promotion and education programs to help Georgia farmers. It does this through a grower assessment of 30 cents per hundredweight sold.The ballots were mailed Feb. 23. Any eligible grower who hasn’t gotten one or has lost one may get another by calling (404) 656-3678 or (800) 425-7675.
By Allie ByrdUniversity of GeorgiaHypertension is the most common chronic disease in the U.S. and is becoming a major health concern for Americans of all ages, says a University of Georgia specialist. A healthy blood pressure is defined as a systolic pressure of 120 mm Hg and a diastolic pressure of 80 mm Hg. Hypertension is defined as a systolic pressure of 140 mm Hg or a diastolic pressure of 90 mm Hg or greater, said Crawley.Although genetics and family history can influence hypertension, she said, unhealthy choices such as smoking, eating certain foods, inactivity and being overweight cause it, too. Becoming more physically active, quitting smoking, keeping alcohol intake at a moderate level and eating more healthy foods rather than salty restaurant and convenience foods can also help reduce hypertension. Follow DASH diet Following the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH, diet has been proven to lower blood pressure up to 11 points, Crawley said.“It is one of the few clinically proven meal plans to treat a disease,” she said. When medication is prescribed, three to four medications may be needed to lower blood pressure to the desired range.Weight loss can also prove beneficial to controlling hypertension. “Losing weight helps the most if the person is overweight,” she said. “A person does not have to lose to an ideal body weight to see a positive result. Just a loss of 10 to 20 pounds is often enough to see an improvement.” The diet includes eating eight to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables, at least three servings of whole grains and three servings of nonfat dairy foods each day. Only one to two ounces of meat are allowed per meal. The diet also requires eating several servings of cooked legumes, like beans and peas, and nuts several times a week. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is excessive force of the blood on the blood vessels as it circulates. It can cause problems such as heart attack, heart failure, vision loss, stroke and kidney disease, says Connie Crawley, a nutrition and health specialist with UGA Cooperative Extension. Know your numbers Unless a person is experiencing extremely high blood pressure, there are typically no symptoms. The condition can often go untreated.“It is important for people to keep track of their blood pressure and bring it to the attention of their healthcare provider if it is not in control,” she said. “Sometimes the health care professional is focusing on other health issues and may not notice an elevated blood pressure until the patient mentions it.” Lose weight, reduce stressLifestyle changes and medication are usually combined to treat the problem, she said.Stress management is helpful in reducing hypertension. Beneficial practices include deep breathing, yoga, tai chi, meditation, exercise, prayer or reducing responsibilities, Crawley says.
Fifteen Georgians were among the hundreds who lost their lives last week in the deadly string of tornadoes that tore through the Southeast. Thousands more escaped with little more than their lives as storms left cities in ruins from Texas to Virginia. The life and strength of the tornadoes led to the massive destruction, according to Pam Knox, Georgia’s assistant state climatologist. “Most tornadoes travel for about a mile. Some of these tornadoes had tracks that were 80 miles or longer,” she said. “All of the ingredients were perfect for building tornadoes. We had temperatures in the 80s and high humidity. Warm temperatures and moisture act as energy for storms.” Southern tornadoes tend to be deadlier than those occurring in other regions because of the large amount of forestland in the South (Georgia is 70 percent forest). And many residents live in mobile homes or don’t have adequate sheltered protection. Georgia is in a La Niña weather pattern right now, Knox said. As La Niña fades, the threat of tornadoes should ease, but more outbreaks are still possible. In the event of a tornado, quickly seek shelter in a sturdy building. The lowest level away from windows is the safest place. If a sturdy building isn’t around, lie down in a ditch or low spot where cars or trees won’t blow on top of you. Don’t stay in a car.Bad weather affects everyoneSevere weather can be a threat any time, said Lt. General Russel Honore, who coordinated the military relief effort for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. But “preparedness is a hard sell,” he recently told a group of UGA Cooperative Extension agents meeting at the Rock Eagle 4-H Center. “Disaster can happen anywhere,” Honore said. “Prepare an evacuation kit, have an emergency plan and put a weather radio in your bedroom. It can save your life.” Get a weather radioA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, radio sounds an alarm and broadcasts up-to-date details about impending major weather. “More people lose their lives at night when they are unprepared for changing weather,” Honore said. “It could give you the 8 to 10 minutes you need to save your life.” Buy one with the Specific Area Message Encoding, or SAME, technology. It can be programmed for particular counties. Weather radios are available at electronics stores and at some grocery stores. Purchase a regular battery-powered radio, too, for up-to-date news and weather reports during a crisis. “The late-April storms were very well forecasted,” Knox said. “We knew on Sunday strong storms would be moving through on Wednesday. But power outages in Alabama led to some notification issues, and some people may not have been aware the storms were coming through.” Prepare a survival kitIt may take days for help to arrive after a natural or man-made disaster, especially if roads are hazardous. And major events, like the tornadoes that ripped through multiple states, can cut electrical power for days. Prepare an all-hazards kit with supplies that will allow you and your family to survive for three to seven days without electricity and clean running water. The most critical supply is at least one gallon of drinking water per person per day for at least three days. More water is needed for cooking and hygiene.The kit should include nonperishable foods, a hand-cranked can opener, first-aid kit, important papers, battery-powered radio, NOAA weather radio, flashlight and extra batteries. A recommended detailed list is available at www.ready.gov/america/getakit/index.html.Georgia’s state climatologist David Stooksbury, an engineering professor with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, says it is important to remember that severe weather can hit Georgians year round.“Tornadoes are always a risk in Georgia,” Stooksbury said. “While they are more common in the spring and fall, they can occur at any time.”The recent severe weather outbreak hit rural areas hard. Farmers who suffered damage from the storms can receive recovery assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency. They must file reports with the agency within 30 days of the event. People with storm losses may be eligible for Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance as well. Register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, call 800-621-FEMA or go to one of the assistance centers established across north Georgia.For questions about reporting damage or available recovery programs, contact your local UGA Extension county office at 1-800-ASK-UGA1.
Atlanta architect Amy Stankus has spent years creating beautiful buildings, but lately she’s turned her sights to some smaller — albeit more delicious — creations. Her Atlanta-based chocolate shop won the grand prize of the 2013 Flavor of Georgia Food Product Contest. Chocolate South’s Peach Tea Bonbons were one of 24 products sampled and judged by a panel of food brokers, buyers and other food industry experts. In addition to winning the overall grand prize, Chocolate South took home first place in the competition’s confections category. Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black and Gov. Nathan Deal were on hand to announce the winners on March 12 as part of Georgia Agriculture Awareness Day at the Georgia Freight Depot in downtown Atlanta. “The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in the state of Georgia,” Black said at the awards ceremony. “If you don’t believe that than you should see what these outstanding business people are bringing to the table.” The annual contest, conducted by the University of Georgia Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, is a chance for food businesses to showcase new products. “We had so many great contestants this year,” said Sharon P. Kane, Flavor of Georgia contest coordinator. “It really highlighted the high caliber of the food products created by Georgians.” Peach Tea Bonbons win over judgesA licensed architect specializing in medical buildings and avid “I Love Lucy” fan, Stankus started making her hand-crafted chocolates in her home kitchen for friends before launching an online shop. She opened the Chocolate South chocolate shop on Marietta Street in Atlanta in June 2012. “I love talking to people about chocolate,” Stankus said. “I love sharing good chocolate with people … I hope (being in the Flavor of Georgia Contest) showcases some interesting flavor combinations with chocolate. We have great products here in Georgia to pair with chocolate.” Peach Tea Bonbon features a ganache infused with the flavor of Georgia Peaches Tea, created by Atlanta-based small-batch tea maven Brandi Shelton. The tea was also a finalist in this year’s contest. Flavor of Georgia is a boon for food entrepreneurs and grocery merchants alikeFood industry experts — including chefs, grocery buyers, food service personnel and agricultural marketing executives — rated the contest’s products based on qualities like innovation, use of Georgia theme, market potential and flavor, said James Daniels, a UGA CAED food business development specialist. Showcase events like the Flavor of Georgia competition help entrepreneurs get the word out about their products. Many have landed spots in regional and national grocery chains, like Whole Foods, Fresh Market, Harvey’s and Piggly Wiggly, after the contest. Other category winners were: People’s Choice: Georgia Buffalo, Inc.; Georgia Buffalo N.Y. Strip Steak; Troy Biven; Townsend, Ga. Jams & Jellies: MiDi Blueberry Farm: Spiced Blueberry Peach Jam; Mike & Diane Stafford; Byron, Ga. Sauces: Chinese Southern Belle; My Sweet Hottie Homestyle Sweet & Sour Sauce; Natalie and Margaret Keng; Smyrna, Ga. Barbecue and Hot Sauces: Atlanta Bee Company; Hotanta Honey: Honey with a Sting; G. Giddens; Atlanta, Ga. Dairy: Flat Creek Farm & Dairy; Georgia Red; Ryan and Spice Burger; Swainsboro, Ga. Snack foods: Byne Blueberry Farm; Burke Bar; Richard Byne; Waynesboro, Ga. Meat: Hunter Cattle Company; Hunter Cattle Company Pork Sausage; Del and Debra Ferguson; Brooklet, Ga. Miscellaneous products: Gayla’s Grits; Gayla’s Grits; Gayla and Kevin Shaw; Lakeland, Ga. For more information about these products visit www.flavorofgeorgia.caes.uga.edu. Winners and finalists earn the right to have their products stamped with the 2013 Flavor of Georgia logo. Flavor of Georgia is only a starting point for many of the category winners, Kane said. Kane followed up with the 2011 winners and found that between 70 and 80 percent experienced increased interest in their products, sales and business contacts as a result of the contest. This contest is sponsored by the UGA CAES Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development in partnership with the Center of Innovation for Agribusiness, Office of Governor Nathan Deal, Walton EMC, the Georgia Department of Agriculture, the Georgia Agribusiness Council and the UGA Department of Food Science and Technology.
Know the Signs of a Sick Bird:A sudden increase in deaths, a clear-sign of the N5N2 strain of the virusA drop in egg production, or eggs that are soft, thin-shelled or misshapenA lack of energy or poor appetiteWatery and green diarrheaPurple discoloration of the wattles, combs and legsSwelling around the eyesNasal discharge Keep CleanWear clean clothes when coming in contact with your birds; scrub your shoes with disinfectant.Wash your hands thoroughly before entering the chickens’ pen.Clean cages, and change food daily.Keep stored feed in enclosed containers and protected from wild birds and vermin.Clean and disinfect equipment that comes in contact with your birds or their droppings, including cages and tools.Remove manure before disinfecting.Properly dispose of dead birds.Use municipal water as a drinking source instead of giving chickens access to ponds or streams. (The avian influenza virus can live for long periods on surface waters.) Avian influenza is not a problem in Georgia, yet. Commercial chicken producers are prepared to fight the virus that kills birds, and backyard chicken flock owners should prepare, too.While the commercial poultry industry in Georgia has the greatest risk in terms of potential for loss, it also has multiple safeguards in place and has limited exposure to migratory birds. Avian flu can more easily be introduced into Georgia through backyard chicken flocks. There have been no cases of human infection by birds because the H5N2 strain of the virus is not zoonotic, meaning it cannot pass between humans and animals.To protect backyard chickens, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension offers small flock owners these recommendations.Keep Your DistanceRestrict access to your property and your birds.Consider placing the birds inside a fence, and only allow those who care for the birds to come in contact with them.If visitors have backyard chickens of their own, do not let them come in contact with your birds.Game birds and migratory waterfowl should not have contact with your flock.Keep chickens inside a pen or coop, and do not let them run free. Don’t Borrow the Virus Do not share tools, equipment or supplies with other bird owners.If you do bring borrowed items home, clean and disinfect them before you bring them home. Don’t Bring Disease HomeIf you have been near other birds or bird owners, at a feed store or bird hunting, for instance, clean and disinfect your vehicle’s tires and your equipment before going home. Shower and put on clean clothing before approaching your flock.Keep any new birds or birds that have been off-site separate from your flock for at least 30 days. Early detection is critical to prevent the spread of avian influenza. If you suspect your flock is infected, call the Georgia Poultry Laboratory Network at (770) 766-6810. For more information on avian influenza, call the Georgia Department of Agriculture at (404) 656-3667. To learn more about how to care for backyard flocks, see the UGA Extension publications on the topic at extension.uga.edu/publications.
Household radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S., but the hazards of this dangerous gas are still relatively unknown to many Georgia families.That’s why the University of Georgia Radon Education Program asks students to share the program’s message: Radon testing is easy and could save someone’s life.Radon is a gas released by the natural decay of uranium deposits contained in Georgia’s granite bedrock. The gas seeps up through foundations and accumulates in homes. Radon can be a problem throughout the state, but residents typically see higher levels in the upper third of Georgia due to the soil conditions and granite bedrock.The good news is that radon problems can be fixed, and testing for radon couldn’t be easier. Test kits are available statewide at some UGA Cooperative Extension offices or online at www.ugaradon.org.The key is to raise Georgians’ awareness of this potential hazard in their homes, said Pamela Turner, a healthy-housing specialist for UGA Extension and associate professor in the UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS).“Radon is just not on enough people’s radars,” Turner said. “Working with students, we hope to raise their awareness, and maybe they’ll carry the message home with them to their parents. Testing for radon is easy but it’s a matter of getting people to take that first step.”To help get the word out, the UGA Radon Education Program asks 9- to 14-year-old students across the state each year to design a poster to help alert the general public about the dangers of radon and steps they can take to keep their families safe. The top three winners receive prizes, and they’re entered into the national contest. Their art may be used in future public awareness campaigns.During the 2017-18 school year, nearly 200 students submitted posters. Charlotte Moser, a seventh-grade student at Clarke Middle School in Athens, Georgia, won first prize for her horror-movie-inspired poster of a radon cloud enveloping a castle.Exact dates for the 2018-19 school year contest, submission forms and instructions will be sent out in August. The deadline for entries is Oct. 5, 2018.Students should first research the dangers of radon on the FACS website at www.ugaradon.org. They can then create a poster on one of five themes:What is radon?Where does radon come from?How does radon get into homes?Radon can cause lung cancer.Test your home for radon.State winners will be notified in November, and national winners will be notified by December. Winners will be honored in January 2019 during National Radon Action Month.For more information and contest promotional materials, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 706-542-9165.