Farm Monitor – January 18, 2020


[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]
ALRIGHT, WITH THAT WE BEGIN ANOTHER 30-MINUTES OF ALL THE AG NEWS AND INFORMATION
YOU CAN HANDLE. WELCOME TO THE LATEST INSTALLMENT OF THE FARM
MONITOR, I AM RAY D’ALESSIO [KENNY]
AND I’M KENNY BURGAMY, YES! WE’RE GLAD YOU’RE HERE AND YOU’LL BE HAPPY
TOO WHEN YOU SEE WHAT WE HAVE IN STORE FOR YA TODAY. COMING UP, SO WHAT IS ON THE HORIZON NOW THAT
PRODUCERS HAVE GATHERED TOGETHER FOR THE ANNUAL SOUTHEAST REGIONAL FRUIT AND VEGETABLE CONFERENCE. DAMON JONES WITH A FULL RECAP…. [RAY]
PLUS, HAVE SHOVEL, WILL TRAVEL. RANGER NICK DIGS DEEP TO UNEARTH THE TRUTH. WHY SO MANY ANT MOUNDS THIS TIME OF YEAR? WELL, THE ANSWER IS QUITE FASCINATING. [KENNY]
AND THEN LATER, SOMETHING ELSE WE’RE SEEING A LOT OF RIGHT NOW, AND THAT’S PINECONES. WE’RE GONNA TAKE YOU INSIDE A SPECIAL FACILITY
USED BY THE GEORGIA FORESTRY COMMISSION TO EXTRACT THE SEEDS FROM THOSE PINECONES AND
HOW THEY/RE USED FROM THERE. THESE STORIES AND SO MUCH MORE STARTING RIGHT
NOW ON THE FARM MONITOR. [KENNY]
It’s a proven fact that whenever growers get together to share thoughts and ideas, good
things are sure to happen. That’s exactly what the Monitor’s Damon Jones
witnessed when he traveled to the annual Southeast Fruit and Vegetable Conference on Georgia’s
coast in Savannah. As Damon explains, everyone walked away with
some new ideas to make their farm operation a little bit better. [Savannah, Georgia/Damon Jones-Reporting]
With Georgia being one of the top blueberry and peach producing states in the country
as well as growing more than 30 different varieties of vegetables, it’s no wonder
that the Southeast Fruit and Vegetable Conference is held annually right here in Savannah. It gives growers a three-day crash course
on the growing trends within the industry as well as an opportunity to network. [Charles Hall – Executive Director]
From the grower’s perspective, I mean, this is considered one of the premier conferences,
fruit and vegetable conferences in the nation, So, we’ve got a lot of people that are
coming here for that education, for that technology, and for the fellowship, to see their friends
and neighbors again that they might not have seen since last January. [Damon]
Unlike the previous two years, growers were able to avoid any major storms, which in turn
resulted in increased yields. However, what to do with that added production
has created a new set of problems. [Charles]
In some ways it was a bounce back year. But we continue to have problems with trade. We still continue to have imports coming in. And one of the major challenges is to get
the consumer to realize, to look at where their produce comes from. Are they buying American grown produce or
are they buying imported produce? [Damon]
While there is plenty of planning and preparation put into each and every crop, the big piece
of advice for vegetable producers remains the same. [Stanley Culpepper – Extension Weed
Specialist, UGA] It is complex. And our growers are amazing individuals that
have a lot of things they have to learn and think about every day. And when you work with herbicides, keep in
mind, we’re killing plants right, hopefully the weed. But if you don’t know what you’re
doing, you can really damage your crop. Never plant a vegetable crop with a weed emerged
in your field. We can use cover crops. We can use tillage. We can use herbicides. We have a lot of options making sure that
that weed is not there. [Damon]
As for what they can do during the winter, getting a head start on this year’s
crop is essential. [Stanley]
In the next two to three weeks they can go ahead and get those fumigates out. We want to get the fumigates out because we
need to give them time to get out of the bed before we transplant. Because if there’s still fumigates still
in the bed, it could hurt our plant. And the microbes under are degrading those
fumigates over time and we really need to be efficient and timely with that. [Damon]
Growers looking for new opportunities within the industry need look no further than citrus,
as it has seen a major rise in popularity in recent years. [Lindy Savelle – President, GA Citrus
Association] It has continued to double every year. We’re about at 1000 acres right now
and we anticipate next year it will be close to 1900 acres if not 2000. So, it is every year doubling. So, I guess that’s exponentially growing. [Damon]
One of the major reasons is the loss of nearly two-thirds of the crop in Florida due to citrus
greening. It’s a problem grower here in Georgia
can help prevent by starting out with healthy trees. [Lindy]
Well, one thing you need to do is make sure you find high quality trees that have, you
know, been produced in a nursery that has been certified and has good bud wood and so
forth. You know, it’s costly to grow a good,
high quality, disease free tree. And if you’re buying one for a very
low cost, more than likely it’s suspicious. [Damon]
Reporting from Savannah, I’m Damon jones for the Farm Monitor. [RAY]
Alright Damon, great job. Well thanks to the USDA and NRCS, farmers
in the U.S. have been conserving and preserving the land they work to make sure it can still
be worked for years to come. Our John Holcomb recently sat down with Terrance
Rudolph, state conservationist with the NRCS, and discussed the importance of conservation
compliance. [Athens, GA/John Holcomb – Reporting]
Every year, every season, farmers work to cultivate their land to produce the food and
fiber of our world, which is why it’s so important to conserve and preserve the land they work. Thankfully, US farmers have agencies like
the NRCS that help them preserve the land and the resources it provides. [Terrance Rudolph – State Conservationist,
NRCS] We are one of the many agencies under the
United states Department of Agriculture. Our mission is to help people help the land. We work with landowners, forest landowners
or ranchers to help them conserve and preserve all of the natural resources on the land. We utilize Farm Bill programs to do that. We also provide technical assistance, which
is all free service. [John]
One of the things they work to conserve, and preserve are things called “wetlands”, which
are great benefits to the environment and are protected by the army corps of Engineers. Wetlands are defined as areas of land that
exhibits soils formed under wet conditions, plants adapted to wet soil conditions, and
lastly, sufficient surface water and/or groundwater to support hydrophytic vegetation. [Rudolph]
By having a wetland in the event of flooding, it serves as maybe a filtering source to contain
or filter all the water before it go downstream or even create more flooding. If you were to say … If you didn’t have,
let’s say a wetland in a particular area and you get a heavy rain, then it could cause
flooding to our major rivers, streams, municipalities,
cities, towns, so on and so forth [John]
They work alongside farmers to make sure they’re in compliance with government standards with
these wetlands. [Rudolph]
All of the services that NRCS provides, whether that is technical assistance and/or financial
assistance, one of our primary responsibilities is to make sure that service or those services
does not violate Wetland Food Security Act. It’s our responsibility to make sure that
we notify the landowner if he or she is potentially in violation of Wetlands or to make sure that
they don’t violate Wetlands. [John]
If someone is found to be out of compliance, they can lose Farm Bill benefits to programs
that the USDA offers and can even face fines, but the good news is that the NRCS is on your
side. [Rudolph]
We’re more of a, I guess I said mediator, you know, sort of like a resource. We provide technical assistance; we also provide
financial assistance. At the same time, we’re making sure that you
are in compliance with local, state and federal regulatory agency. That’s the hot cut that we want to make sure
that everyone understands. [John]
For more information regarding wetlands and conservation compliance, contact your local
NRCS office or go online to USDA.gov. Reporting in Athens for the Farm Monitor,
I’m John Holcomb. [RAY]
AFTER THE BREAK, RANGER NICK CHECKS IN, AND THIS MONTH HE’S GETTING ANTSY! NO, SERIOUSLY! HE’S LITERALLY DIGGING FOR FIRE ANTS AND SOLVING
THE MYSTERY OF HOW THESE TINY CREATURES ARE ABLE TO BUILD THOSE IMPRESSIVE MOUNDS. [Upbeat Music]
[Dr. Nick Fuhrman/UGA Professor, “Ranger Nick”] Well as we start this new year off, maybe
the holidays have you driving around maybe across the interstate looking out across some
farm pastures and seeing what look like little mounds of soil, maybe fire ant mounds, and
it had you wondering, “Why am I seeing more of them right now? What is the deal with that?” I thought I’d explore that with you this month
and introduce you to somebody who knows quite a bit about this, and that’s Dr. Will Hudson. Dr. Hudson, so nice to meet you. [Dr. Hudson]
Good to see you Nick [Ranger Nick]
I appreciate you spending some time with us today. I want to talk about fire ants, and I want
to talk specifically about a particular mound that we’re standing in front of today. I often see that maybe after a rain at night
or after the temperatures have been maybe a little cooler, I’ll walk out in my yard
and find fire ant mounds that were not there a day or two ago, and I think that maybe I’m
just seeing things. What is the deal with that? Why are we seeing more of those like this
one after a rain at night, after a cooler night? Why is that? [Dr. Will Hudson/UGA Professor of Entomology]
Well, particularly if the conditions have been real hot and dry before that, the rain
provides the ants with the perfect conditions to rebuild their mound. The colony’s always been there, well not always,
but it was there before. [Ranger Nick]
Oh, okay. [Dr. Hudson]
The dirt that you see suddenly pop up is just the dirt that they moved out of the tunnels
and the chambers that are underground where they live, and that’s why suddenly they have
a mound built that wasn’t apparent to you before. The colony itself has been there for months. [Ranger Nick]
Under the soil. [Dr. Hudson]
Under the soil. [Ranger Nick]
I can’t see them, okay. [Dr. Hudson]
They had a mound, but then either they got rained on, or it got stepped on, or it got
so dry that the soil wouldn’t hold its structure, and as soon as the soil conditions are right
they can build that mound back up. [Ranger Nick]
Interesting. And sometimes in South Georgia or the southeast
where there’s more sandy soils, maybe those mounds aren’t as high I guess because the
clumping ability of that soil is not there. [Dr. Hudson]
Right, you can pile clay up higher than you can pile sand. [Ranger Nick]
Yeah. [Dr. Hudson]
That’s the bottom line on that. [Ranger Nick]
Now let’s look at, if you don’t mind, let’s look at this one together. And I just happen to have my son’s little
shovel with me today. Here’s this mound. I’m noticing in this mound all of these little
particles of sand and clay are the same size. You’re saying, thinking to us, that they are
pushing these particles up out of the ground after it rains. They’re cleaning out what has washed down. Is that what you’re saying? [Dr. Hudson]
Right, and they’re not pushing, they’re carrying them one at a time in their jaws. They’ve got no other, they’ve got no pockets,
so they’re carrying them one at a time up there. [Ranger Nick]
Yeah and this, and I can kind of see some holes in there, and I just kind of want to
dig in and see what … and look at this, look at what we’re able to see with these
smaller holes and these tunnels. Now these guys must be down low because it’s
been cooler at night, and they’re down low getting warm. Is that what you’re saying? [Dr. Hudson]
Right, they’ll be up at the top of the mound. If it were a bright, sunny day today they
would probably be up there basking not on the outside but just inside. You can see the tunnels, all of these right
in here are places where they can come up. As the sun warms the soil, they warm up too
because they’re cold blooded. They’re trying to get to a place where the
temperature is most comfortable for them. [Ranger Nick]
Which that’s so interesting, and that dynamic of those ants under the ground, that’s what
I want to talk with you about next is going and looking at the culture of these ants. And I promise I won’t put my hand in there,
but I do want to kind of move some things around with you and see some of those areas
of work. So let’s go there next. [Ranger Nick]
Okay, so we’ve had a cooler night. We’ve had a rainy night. The mound is now showing up outside of the
ground, and I’m looking at this. And Dr. Hudson, we’re looking at this together,
I’m going to just kind of dig into this a little. Before I disturb it too much … Oh my gosh,
and the beautiful caverns. First of all, these little guys with wings,
are they ants? I’ve never seen an ant with wings. [Dr. Hudson]
Well yes. They are ants. Those are the ones that are the, what we call
reproductives. That’s the males and females that will mate. Then the new queens will start the next colony. [Ranger Nick]
Wow, so and they’re mating, but they have to fly to mate? I mean, that’s why they have the wings? [Dr. Hudson]
They fly up into the air. If you see it, it’s usually late in the afternoon,
it looks like a little plume of smoke coming up. [Ranger Nick]
Wow, okay. [Dr. Hudson]
And they mate in the air, and they fall back to the ground. Males die. [Ranger Nick]
Okay [Dr. Hudson]
The females lose their wings and go into the ground and create a small chamber, start laying
eggs, and that becomes the next colony. [Ranger Nick]
Wow, okay. [Dr. Hudson]
That why I say if you’re talking about fire ants, you need to think of it as a colony
not as individual ants. [Ranger Nick]
Interesting. So now okay, so I’m looking at this, and I
know we’re looking up close on the camera too. So we’ve got the ones with wings which we
now know are reproductive ants, but there’s other ones that are bigger, and I see one
moving a little granule of soil. Bigger ones and then there’s smaller ones. Is that an age difference, or do they have
different hierarchy in their family there, their colony? [Dr. Hudson]
Ants as all insects, once they become adults they don’t grow anymore. Their skeleton is on the outside so they can’t
grow anymore, so. [Ranger Nick]
I’ve got to do this. Sorry, I just have to look in here. I have to see what’s going on. [Dr. Hudson]
No, that’s fine. [Ranger Nick]
Look at this. Look at that. [Dr. Hudson]
There are different sizes of individuals. Some of that is related to the jobs that they
do in the colony, and some of it is just variation in size just as people are different sizes. [Nick]
Okay [Dr. Hudson]
So you get some variation that way. [Ranger Nick]
Interesting. Now I would have loved to have talked to some
of these ants today, Dr. Hudson, to find out their perspective on what they think of us
humans disturbing their mounds and everything, but I’ve got to tell you. With a little boy at home and a little girl
at home as well that will soon be walking, we go out in the yard, and we have a thing
of that ant spray that we buy from the local hardware store. Miles and I spray that stuff all over the
mound, and we say, “We have killed the ants.” Then a couple of days later we see them again. What are we doing wrong? [Dr. Hudson]
Well, you saw the structure of the mound. It goes a long way down into the dirt, and
if all you do is spray the surface you’re not beginning to get down to the area where
the money is. [Ranger Nick]
Yeah, yeah. [Dr. Hudson]
Which is you’ve got to kill the queen. If you don’t affect the queen, you can’t control
the colony. So you’ve got to put that insecticide, if
you’re going to treat an individual mound, you have to put it in enough water that it
carries the insecticide all the way down to the bottom of the mound where the queen is. [Ranger Nick]
And how much water are we talking? [Dr. Hudson]
At least a gallon of water per average size mound. [Ranger Nick]
Wow, okay. [Dr. Hudson]
Because there’s a lot of volume of soil in there, and you’ve got to get all the way down
through it. [Ranger Nick]
Okay. Now what if I’ve got a bigger area of land
I’m going to tackle? Maybe the bucket isn’t going to be enough. What do you do then? [Dr. Hudson]
If you’re up to, if you’re over an acre, for sure over an acre, then you need to be using
a bait. If you put it out twice a year … There used
to be a guarantee on some brands that you would have no mounds. [Ranger Nick]
Okay. [Dr. Hudson]
Right? That’s pretty good. [Ranger Nick]
All right, yeah. [Dr. Hudson]
If you’re in smaller than an acre then if you’re treating mounds individually, that’s
a thing for retired people. [Ranger Nick]
Okay….”Laughing” [Dr. Hudson]
Because you’re going to be doing that constantly, and you never win that. [Ranger Nick]
Yeah. [Dr. Hudson]
So you need to treat the whole area. [Ranger Nick]
Excellent. [Dr. Hudson]
And if you treat the whole area with a broadcast spray or spread granules out you can suppress
ants, and suppress is all you’re going to do with that sort of treatment for anywhere
from a few weeks to a couple of months. [Ranger Nick]
Interesting. [Dr. Hudson]
And that’s it. [Ranger Nick]
Well I got to tell you, I don’t know about the folks at home, I have learned so much
about what I’m doing wrong. I’ve learned so much about the culture of
the ant colony. Dr. Hudson, thanks so much for today. I so appreciate it. Such an interesting topic. I can’t wait for the folks at home to see
it. You all know what to do. When you’re at home checking things out online
maybe about fire ants in your area, hop on over to the Farm Monitor Facebook page and
check that out. While you’re on Facebook, check out the Ranger
Nick Facebook page and see what I’ve got going on in my world. Until next time, as I always say Dr. Hudson,
for the Farm Monitor I’m Ranger Nick reminding you that enthusiasm is contagious. So pass it on. You all, thanks so much for watching. We’ll see you right back here again next month. See you. [Fast paced music]
[KENNY] NICK, THANKS SO MUCH. UP NEXT, UNLOCKING THE SECRETS, DEEP INSIDE
OF PINECONES. IT’S A UNIQUE LOOK AT HOW THE GEORGIA FORESTRY
COMMISSION CONTRIBUTES TO SUSTAINABILITY IN AGRICULTURE. [Intro with upbeat music]
[Narrator] Pollination is the transfer of pollen from
the male parts of a flower to the female parts of the same or a different flower. This is necessary for the production of seed
and fruit in many crops. The annual value of pollination to Georgia
agriculture is over three hundred and sixty million dollars. While many insects such as flies, beetles,
moths, butterflies and wasps can be important pollinators, bees outperform them all because
of their dietary need for pollen and nectar. Their hairy bodies that carry pollen grains
easily and their rapid flight from flower to flower. When we think of bees most of us think of
managed honeybees kept in hives. Honeybees certainly contribute to pollination,
but they cannot match the volume of pollination provided free of charge
by the hundreds of species of wild bees that live unnoticed in hollow stems or underground
burrows. Homeowners, farmers and honeybee keepers can
all play a major role in pollinator conservation. For homeowners, even the smallest landscape
when thoughtfully managed can aid pollinating insects. Bees need a season-long unbroken succession
of blooming flowers. Since many plant species bloom in the spring,
homeowners should focus on planting summer and early fall bloomers such as asters, sunflowers
and goldenrod. Homeowners are able to preserve undisturbed
property for our wild bees. Sun-drenched patches of bare soil, ditch banks
and woodland edges are prime bee habitats for all of our native bees. To protect our pollinator populations, think
of pesticide as the last step in combating a pest problem, not the first. Your local UGA Cooperative Extension agent
can assist you in finding non-chemical options. Farmers should consider creating bee sanctuaries
out of unused farm spaces. In certain cropping systems the benefits of
enhanced pollinator conservation from bee forage and nesting sites a exceeds the cost
of land diverted from production. Honey beekeepers are important partners in
bee conservation. Beekeepers are encouraged to join their local
beekeeping organization and to attend beekeeping classes to stay up to date on best practices
for keeping their bees healthy and safe from pesticides. For Georgia to lead the way in pollinator
conservation, homeowners, farmers, honeybee keepers – all
of us must take an active role. For more information contact your local UGA
Cooperative Extension office [upbeat music] [RAY]
WELL YOU KNOW, THIS TIME OF YEAR, WE SEE PINECONES EVERYWHERE. ON TOP OF HOUSES, IN THE STREET, ON WREATH’S,
IN YOUR YARD. AND ALTHOUGH THEY CAN BE SOMEWHAT ANNOYING,
THEY ACTUALLY SERVE A PURPOSE. THINK OF THEM AS A PROTECTIVE SHIELD. A SUIT OF ARMOR IF YOU WILL. [KENNY]
THAT’S RIGHT, INSIDE THOSE CONES ARE VALUABLE SEEDS THAT HELP REPLENISH SOME OF GEORGIA’S
MOST CHERISHED SPECIES OF TREE’S. AND EXTRACTING THOSE SEEDS IS NO EASY TASK
AS THE MONITOR LEARNED FIRSTHAND RECENTLY WHEN WE TOOK A TRIP TO THE GEORGIA FORESTRY
COMMISSION HEADQUARTERS [Upbeat Music]
[David Veal/Seed Extractory Mgr. – Georgia Forestry Commission]
We have been extracting seed from the cones and fruit for wanting to say the early 50s. We extract the seed for most of the States
in the area. Typically, we start running at the end of
October and by Thanksgiving we try to have the cones already extracted the seed from
them. It comes in crates of 14 to 20 bushels at
a time. I take the crates and put them into racks
that we’ve got. They hold roughly five bushels per rack. We’ll take and put them in there and let the
cones naturally open up. Years ago there was quite a few people in
this particular department. Now it’s broken down as compared to the way
it used to be. Used to be there were, I’m wanting to say
close to 28 people, but that was throughout the entire department. We still sell and produce a lot of seed for
a lot of companies around. They buy a lot of seed from us. Depending on the year, you yield maybe higher
than … It’s just like any other crop, you may have a better yield this year than you
did last year. It’s just interesting to me how many seeds
there are in a single pinecone. I would’ve never thought they were 128 seed
in one cone. [RAY]
ALRIGHT DAVID, THANK YOU SO MUCH, AND… THANK YOU FOR WATCHING THE FARM MONITOR. [KENNY]
BEFORE WE GO, A FRIENDLY REMINDER THAT FOR ALL THE LATEST AG INFO REGARDING FOOD, GREAT
RECIPES AND WHAT’S HAPPENING DOWN ON THE FARM. BE SURE YOU CHECK OUT OUR TWITTER, FACEBOOK
AND PINTEREST PAGES. YOU‚ÄôLL STAY INFORMED AND SEE WHAT’S
UP IN THE WORLD OF FARMING AND WITH US HERE ON
THE SHOW. [RAY]
TAKE CARE EVERYBODY. WE WILL SEE YOU NEXT WEEK, RIGHT HERE ON THE
FARM MONITOR. [KENNY]
HOPE YOU HAVE A GREAT WEEK

One comment on “Farm Monitor – January 18, 2020”

  1. Walsh Farms says:

    Thank you for your hard work and the information you provide.

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