New Tobacco Variety May Curtail Black Shank Disease

University of Georgia Cooperative Extension research on new tobacco varieties could help farmers reduce black shank disease in their fields to 15 percent, says Tony Barnes, agriculture and natural resources extension agent in Atkinson County. If the research proves successful, Georgia tobacco farmers who plant these new varieties could save as much as $1,463 per acre as compared to farmers who grow varieties hit by black shank disease. “We are seeing success in some of the newer varieties, but in a severe year it doesn’t matter what the variety is; black shank will eat it up,” Barnes says. “We are getting better responses from these varieties, though.” Black shank is a fungus that turns the tobacco plant yellow as it slowly wilts and dies. The disease spreads through the field and to other fields through water and equipment. Chemical treatment must be applied to ensure older tobacco varieties withstand the disease, which can wipe out a crop under the right conditions, Barnes says. UGA scientist Paul Bertrand, who studies tobacco diseases on the UGA Tifton campus, recommends growers plant varieties such as CC-143, NC-925, NC-938, CC-1063 or GL-925 in fields with a history of black shank disease. “A farmer generally makes about $4,180 per acre. If the farmer takes a 50 percent loss due to black shank, which is not uncommon with some of our older varieties, the financial return is reduced to $2,090 per acre. That is just not profitable after input costs are calculated,” Barnes says. UGA Extension’s research goal is to reduce the loss from black shank disease to 15 percent. Farmers can sustainably produce tobacco with low levels of black shank disease, Barnes says. The weather plays a role in treatment applications in severe years. Since black shank moves upward through the tobacco plant, chemical applications must be made to the base of the roots. The roots must then absorb the treatment before it leaches out. If it rains, farmers can’t get into the field to apply the treatments, leaving their plants vulnerable. Georgia tobacco farmers are learning more about black shank disease during the Georgia-Florida Tobacco Tour this week. Participants will learn about tobacco research when the tour visits the UGA Tifton campus on Tuesday and Wednesday, June 13 and 14.

Source: Tifton Grapevine

How To Raise A Reader Article Recommended by The Margaret Jones Public Library

From the moment you’re expecting your first child, you are bombarded with messages about the importance of reading. For good reason: The benefits of reading at every stage of a child’s development are well documented. Happily, raising a reader is fun, rewarding and relatively easy. First, Reacquaint Yourself With Reading. If you’ve let reading slide to the margins of your life, now is the time to bring it back. Make the space, and time, for books you read for yourself, and books you read with your child. If you want to raise a reader, be a reader. Baby Books Are a Necessity. You may think you’re off the hook with books until your baby is at least vertical, but not so. Even newborns benefit from the experience of hearing stories (and they can’t complain about your taste in books). So take advantage. Here’s how: Read out loud, every day. Any book. You can read anything to a newborn: a cookbook, a dystopian novel, a parenting manual. The content doesn’t matter. What does matter is the sound of your voice, the cadence of the text and the words themselves. Research has shown that the number of words an infant is exposed to has a direct impact on language development and literacy. But here’s the catch: The language has to be live, in person and directed at the child. Turning on a television, or even an audiobook, doesn’t count. Sure, it’s good to get started reading aloud the children’s books that will be part of your child’s library. But don’t feel limited. Just be sure to enjoy yourself. Use your senses. Babies who are read to are learning that reading is fun and can involve all the senses: the feel of the pages, the smell of the glue (don’t go crazy), the visuals of the illustrations, the sound of the parent’s voice. Try it: Texturized books are especially good for your child’s tactile experience. Mind your audience. Make eye contact, but don’t look for a particular reaction. It may seem like babies are not listening, but they are absorbing the experience. And the patterns, routines and attentive habits that are set now will last a lifetime. Get your baby talking. Babies may start making sounds in response to your reading. This is why many books for this age contain nonsense words or animal sounds — they’re easier to mimic. Try it: If your child makes a noise, respond. It may make no sense to you, but it’s communication. There’s a straight line from this moment to your first parent-child book club. It’s hard to overestimate how important reading is to a toddler’s intellectual, social and emotional development. When you read with toddlers, they take it all in: vocabulary and language structure, numbers and math concepts, colors, shapes, animals, opposites, manners and all kinds of useful information about how the world works. What’s more, when you read out loud, your toddler connects books with the familiar, beloved sound of your voice — and the physical closeness that reading together brings. You are helping build a positive association with books that will last a lifetime. Keep in mind: Reading happens throughout the day. Nightly bedtime reading is a familiar routine for parents of toddlers — what better way to get your little ball of energy to relax before bed? Make sure the atmosphere is soothing and not rushed, and choose some of the many books that end, strategically, with a peaceful going-to-bed scene (though friskier books about sleep-avoiding children are fun, too). But read with your toddler during the day, as well. Offering to read books with toddlers is one of the best ways — some days, it can seem like the only way — to get them to slow down and focus. Sit close, and enjoy these moments of connection while it’s still light outside. Introduce your own taste. You’ve been reading a long time, and you have a sense of what you like in grown-up books. As a parent, you have the chance to rediscover your taste in children’s books. Pull out your old favorites, and find what’s new that catches your eye when you’re in bookstores, libraries or friends’ homes. The good news is that the best authors and illustrators of children’s books aim to please their grown-up audience, too. Try it: Tweak the text when you’re reading out loud. Many classic children’s books are now considered sexist, racist, outdated and, in certain ways, downright awful. Feel free to make them better. Respect your child’s preferences. Your child is already surprising you with independent tastes and opinions. Just as your child doesn’t like your kale salad, he or she may not appreciate the exquisite black-and-white crosshatching of Robert McCloskey’s “Make Way for Ducklings” as much as you did as a child. You may not be all that excited about fairies or talking trucks, but your child might be. Encourage children to express what they like about their books, and find more books like those. The parent-child pas de deux. The more you can make reading mutually satisfying, the more it will be associated with pleasure and reward. If your child doesn’t like your silly ogre’s voice, don’t use it. Remember, it’s your child’s story time, too. Try it: Let your child turn the pages, to control the pace. (It’s also great for developing fine motor skills.) It’s O.K. to interrupt. Don’t get so caught up in your own reading that you ignore your child’s comments and queries. Interruptions show that your child is engaged. Try it: If you find yourself saying, “Just let me finish this page,” stop and ask your toddler to repeat the question. If children don’t seem engaged by the words, ask what they see in the pictures. Point at things and invite them to explain or narrate the action. Expand your toddler’s world. Sometimes toddlers seem “stuck” on a certain book you’re not crazy about. Don’t deny them the books they like, but try to actively steer them toward other books as well. Most important, don’t be afraid to expose toddlers to subjects they don’t have any context for. All topics — even geology, the history of art, and life in different cultures — can be broken down into small parts and made interesting by a great children’s book. Try it: At a certain age, children may start to gravitate exclusively to stories that feature a protagonist of their own gender. This is not true for toddlers. Take advantage of this time to expose them to a balanced menu of characters. Choose diverse books. All children need to see themselves reflected in the picture books around them. If your child is a member of a racial or ethnic minority, seek out books that feature children who look similar to yours — they are getting much easier to find. White children also benefit from books that show children with different skin tones and ethnicities. All children need to encounter books that present the variety of cultural traditions and family structures that coexist in our communities. Exposing children to diversity in books will prepare them for life in a diverse world.

Source: New York Times

Keep Your Library Card Handy

This Summer, many children are getting their library card for the first time. The Margaret Jones Public Library is excited that so many children are ready to read. Did you know that your library card can be stored on your smart phone? It’s so easy and convenient to save your library card on your phone using the Key Ring App. Just download the app from the app store or Google play. Create your mobile wallet and never leave home without your library card. If you have any questions, please feel free to give them a call at the library. Their number is 229-776-2096.

Taking Control of Nematodes Cotton Grower – May/June 2017 – Beck Barnes

Any number of factors can drive a cotton producer’s decisions from year to year. For Johnny Cochran, one of those factors has remained consistent on his Sylvester, GA cotton and peanut operation: Nematodes. Located amid the picturesque pine forests of South Georgia, Cochran’s operation is a pleasant place. His wife prunes a lush rose garden not far from his farm shop. At harvest time, his fields are flush with showy cotton. But don’t be fooled by the aesthetics. In addition to its beauty, South Georgia also has a reputation for harboring yield-robbing pests like resistant pigweed and, most notably to Cochran, nematodes. The microbial pests impact any number of Cochran’s in-season decisions. They’ll even dictate what crop he should plant in a given field. “Cotton root knot nematodes, on these sandier soils we have, have been our number one problem,” Cochran says. Like countless cotton producers across the country, Cochran was forced to re-evaluate his crop protection program when Temik was phased out of use in the cotton industry due to Environmental Protection Agency regulation. In the year immediately following the loss of the aldicarb product, Cochran knew he had a serious problem on his hands. “We would see nematode numbers just going up, with our soil sampling, so we knew we were going to have to do something,” he says. “We were seeing hotspots develop. That first year we planted a small plot of DP 1558NR B2RF, and we saw a significant reduction in root knot nematode population. So I knew then that this had a lot of potential for – not replacing aldicarb – but helping deal with the loss of aldicarb.” As a participant in the New Product Evaluator program, Cochran is able to get a first look at pre-commercial Deltapine varieties. In 2014, that meant he was able to plant what would eventually be named DP 1558NR B2RF on his own farm, one of the earliest nematode resistant varieties from Deltapine. He soil sampled for nematode populations the year prior to planting the variety, and then again after he had harvested it. “We saw drastic reductions in nematodes,” he says. “So we know that the technology works.” Still, the loss of Temik caused significant challenges. Like many other cotton producers across the Cotton Belt, it’s hard to overstate how heavily Cochran relied on the nematicide to help control an often rampant root knot nematode population. He says he used the aldicarb product in both his cotton and peanut fields, year in and year out. “We were keeping them suppressed with Temik,” Cochran says. Without that tool in his toolbox, he was forced to get creative in how he dealt with the pest. Cochran developed a crop rotation system that helped keep the nematodes in check. “We grow about 2/3 of our acreage in cotton and 1/3 in peanuts,” he says. “And we’re on a two year rotation with our peanuts. That’s where the nematode-tolerant varieties fit into my program – in the second year of my cotton rotation, we try to put in a variety that will withstand the nematode pressure. “The first year a particular field is in cotton, we expect the nematodes will be suppressed from the peanut rotation the year prior,” Cochran says. “So we’ll grow one year of whatever cotton variety we want to plant there, regardless of the nematode resistance. Then the second year is when we try to put in a nematode tolerant cotton variety in the field.” Of course, a key to that system working was the development of high-yielding varieties that also happened to feature nematode resistance. Raising the Yield Bar. Mercifully, a staple of Deltapine variety advancement, the company’s representatives say, is that the new varieties must yield on par with, or better than, their existing offerings. So the nematode resistant varieties the company developed also featured improvements in yield potential. “These nematode varieties were moving along in the research and they were coming up with varieties that were nematode resistant that would still yield and grade,” Cochran says. “So we opted to use these nematode varieties to help control our problem.” Much of Cochran’s farm is dryland acreage, so he is always on the lookout for a variety that will yield well in occasionally stressful irrigation conditions. When planting dryland cotton behind peanuts, a scenario where he doesn’t expect to encounter high nematode populations, he turns to DP 1555 B2RF – “a good high yielding variety” he says. The result has been that Cochran has had to raise his expectations for what he could accomplish on dryland. “I’ve been growing cotton for 25 or 30 years,” he says. “I can remember when you wanted to average two bales with irrigated cotton – you thought you were burning the barn down with that. We now look for three bales on irrigated land and two bales on dryland.” The fickle nature of Georgia rainfall from year to year has made it hard for Cochran to gauge what a normal crop should be in recent years. “2011, 2012 and 2013 really spoiled us, where we had some really good growing seasons,” Cochran says. “We were yielding three bales on irrigated and three bales on dryland, and that sort of changed our yield goals there.” Of course, conditions aren’t always ideal. Cochran says 2016, which featured a long dry spell, forced him to once again re-evaluate what a successful dryland yield number should be. Ground Zero for Resistance. Glyphosate resistance was first discovered in Cochran’s corner of the Cotton Belt, and pigweeds still pose a serious threat in this area. But just as he’s done with nematodes, Cochran has developed a successful strategy for dealing with resistance weeds. “We’ve been able to maintain our Roundup-based program,” he says. “We do a lot of hand pulling. As we go through the field, we try to reduce our seed bank from Palmer amaranth. That’s been the biggest thing to help us maintain our system. Any time we see a Palmer amaranth weed, we stop what we’re doing, no matter what it is, and go out there and pull them. Unless there’s a large population out there in a given area, then we’ll come back with an ATV and haul the weeds out.”

Atlanta Braves Home Run Readers Summer Reading Program

The Atlanta Braves, SunTrust and the Georgia Public Library Service are teaming up to encourage students to read this Summer. Students in grades K-12 can earn a ticket to a Braves Games this Summer by reading just one book on sports. Print your “Home Run Readers” certificate at and take it to your library to receive a code to redeem a free Braves ticket. The remaining game dates for the tickets are Sunday, June 25th at 1:35 pm vs. the Brewers; Wednesday, July 5th at 7:35pm vs. the Astros; Tuesday, August 1st at 7:35pm vs. the Dodgers and Sunday, August 27th at 1:35pm vs. the Rockies. Register one week before the game date to receive a ticket for that game. For more information please contact the Margaret Jones Public Library at 229-776-2096.

GA Tech President Visiting South Georgia

Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson and his wife Val Peterson are headed to South Georgia next week to visit Georgia Tech alumni, Regents, business leaders, lawmakers and other friends of the Institute. This year’s tour — Peterson’s ninth as Tech president — will be June 19-21 and will cover stops in Jekyll Island, Brunswick, Waycross, Douglas, Tifton, Valdosta, Thomasville, Camilla, Albany, Americus, and Columbus. Each year, the Petersons dedicate time during the summer to visit a different area of the state to meet with stakeholders. Through the past eight tours, the Petersons have traversed the entire state, covering more than 6,000 cumulative miles. This year’s tour will cover nearly 1,000 miles, the most ever in a single tour, and hit 44 counties. For updates along the way, visit

Source: Tifton Grapevine

Peanut Calendar Seeks Peanut Photos

The Georgia Peanut Commission (GPC) is hosting a photo contest open now through Oct. 1 to fill the pages of its 2018 Georgia Peanut Calendar, “Photos from the Field.” Photographs will also be selected to be used in GPC promotional projects throughout the year. Peanut farmers from across Georgia are encouraged to submit their best high-resolution photo of peanut production on their farm. Winning entries will be selected for each month of the calendar, as well as the cover. Below are tips to consider when selecting a photo to enter: Make sure the photo is not offensive and avoid photos with large, easy-to-read corporate logos; Think about the months of the year and select photos that represent them; Photos need to be taken in horizontal format. If they are vertical, most likely they will not fill the entire page of the calendar; Select a photo that showcases your family or what being a Georgia peanut farmer means to you and Choose a photo you feel helps others understand more about how you care for the crop they love. Photo entries must be taken during the 2016 or 2017 peanut growing season and feature peanut production. Entries must also be high resolution (300 dpi), horizontal and not taken with a phone. If photos do not meet these requirements, they may be disqualified. Submit photos in jpg format and email them with an entry form o by Oct. 1. Visit for details and entry forms.

Source: Tifton Grapevine

Tifton Actress Names A Top 5 Child Star TV Character

A television entertainment news web site, TVOvermind, has named Tifton native Caitlin Carmichael as one of “The Five Top Child Star Characters on Television Right Now.” Carmichael, 12, was recognized for her acting work as the voice of Alma Dinky Doo on the Disney Junior Channel’s  “Doc McStuffins” animated TV series. “She is known for her recurring role as Alma in the poplar children’s television series ‘Doc McStuffins.’ In addition to her successful career in television movies, she has also appeared other TV series including ‘Z Nation,’ ‘The Loud House,’ ‘Agent Carter,’ ‘The Legend of Korra,’ ‘Suburgatory,’ ‘Chosen,’ ‘Criminal Minds,’ ‘Vegas,’ ‘The Neighbors,’ ‘Retired at 35,’ ‘Daybreak,’ ‘Badgirls’ and several other television series. Caitlin is a child star who has already risen to the status of veteran actor,” the web site wrote earlier this week. Dottie “Doc” McStuffins is a six-year-old girl who communicates secretly to toys and heals plush animals in her backyard clinic. The show is aimed at teaching children how to take care of themselves and others, along with living healthy lifestyles. Carmichael’s recurring character Alma is the younger sister of Doc’s best friend Emma.
Source: Tifton Grapevine

Easterseals Honors Tift Board Members

Easterseals Southern Georgia this week presented Distinguished Service Awards to outgoing officers on its Tift County Board. President James L. Montgomery, Vice President David Hetzel and Secretary Veronica Graydon, who was absent, were honored for 11 years of service. “Their leadership built our board to 20 members, developed a great local fundraiser that provides the funds needed for our local day program participants to enjoy field trips and outings, Wild Adventures and so much more,” says Executive Director Beth English. “Our entire board understands the importance of advocacy and supports disability issues at the Capitol.”

Source: Tifton Grapevine