The 2015 UGA Cotton & Peanut Field Day was held September 9th and showcased many projects funded by the Georgia Cotton Commission and the Georgia Peanut Commission. This annual half-day event was well attended this year and gave producers a chance to see exactly how their checkoff dollars are spent on research. Many of the projects provide essential and timely data to the grower regarding production practices of both cotton and peanuts.
For cotton, a wide range of topics were covered at the field day. Dr. Jason Schmidt, the newest cotton researcher in Tifton, discussed his ongoing biological control studies. His main focus is to gain a better understanding of the role border areas and cover crops play in managing insect pest in a cotton crop. Early findings suggest that certain types of cover crops contain higher levels of beneficial insects that feed on stinkbug eggs. Dr. Mike Toews, a research entomologist in Tifton, discussed his research project focusing on chemigation. He is looking at stinkbug management from a systems approach and therefore has started testing the idea of chemigation for stinkbug control.
Dr. Bob Kemerait, a plant pathologist, gave an overview of his disease and nematode research. Some of his research is to continue looking at new products for target spot management and continue to test new commercial varieties for root-knot nematode (RKN) resistance. Dr. Peng Chee gave a brief overview of his cotton breeding program based in Tifton. Chee’s focus is on finding desirable traits in exotic cotton varieties and introducing those traits in commercial varieties adapted for the southeastern climate. Chee and his lab have also been pioneers in the area of breeding for RKN resistance. He briefly discussed how they identified a gene that prevents root galling and another gene that suppresses nematode egg production.
Irrigation and water use is always a hot topic at field days. Dr. John Snider, a cotton physiologist, discussed his research on cotton water use efficiency. One of his projects uses pre-dawn water potential to schedule irrigation. This method is tested against the traditional UGA Checkbook method and a dryland scenario. Snider is also working with soil fertility specialist Dr. Glen Harris investigating how to manage nitrogen in a cotton crop when the goal is to produce 4 bale yields. Also doing irrigation research is Dr. George Vellidis. He explained his ongoing project that pertains to variable rate irrigation for both cotton and peanuts. His wireless sensor-based approach to monitor soil moisture and schedule irrigation enables a producer to fully utilize variable-rate irrigation. This is achieved by making the irrigation system dynamic and flexible to the conditions in the field.
Dr. Jared Whitaker discussed several topics such as cotton variety selection, seeding rates, plant growth regulators, and defoliation. Given the time of year and that defoliation decisions are rapidly approaching, Whitaker gave a quick overview of the various products and recommended application rates of those products used in defoliation.
For more information about projects funded by the Georgia Cotton Commission please visit http://www.GeorgiaCottonCommission.org. or visit the UGA Cotton Team webpage at http://www.ugacotton.com. For more information about projects funded by the Georgia Peanut Commission please visit http://www.gapeanuts.com.