Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What a Day

I came up to my lake house last night to get a jump start on some serious yard work and cleaning up. Trying to get things ready for a visit in a few weeks from my Sunday School Class.

Yesterday I picked up sticks and pine cones and changed the oil in two lawn mowers and my weedeater. This morning I picked up more sticks and pine cones which fell in the wind last night. I trimmed and mowed, planted a few plants to replace some I killed with herbicide, I dug my fire pit out some more, watered plants, all this while swatting gnats and sweating like...ran the boat motor to keep it charged and ready, listening to more thunder and there were already some more sticks and pine cones down from an earlier storm which had a lot of wind and three drops of rain.

While I was working in the yard a song or at least part of it got stuck in my head. It is a country song and frankly I am not a big country music fan but there have been some really good super groups like Alabama, of course Waylon and Willie and the boys, you get the idea...Country music imitates life in an amazing way. The guy who penned the words "the girls all get prettier at closing time" has been in a bar late at night.

The particular song today is a Diamond Rio song and it talks about a pine tree. If you have been to my lake house you know i have some PINE TREES. Old, big, productive, pine trees.

Boom there goes the thunder and soon the pines will be pruning themselves and dropping pine cones faster than a herd of squirrels at feeding time.

The lyrics of the chorus of the song are,"I'd start walking your way, You'd start walking mine, We'd meet in the middle, 'Neath that old Georgia Pine...We'd gain a lot of ground, 'Cause we'd both give a little, There ain't no road too long, When we meet in the middle."

That is a life lesson put to music. Thanks to those big and I do mean BIG old aggravating Georgia Pines.

This afternoon and tonight I have been doing dusting, cleaning, vacuuming, mopping, but no gnats. Woohoo.

Tomorrow it is our yard in town and then pack to go to celebrate my Mom's 80th birthday in South Alabama. We are leaving after work because little boys travel well at night.

Friday, July 24, 2009

July 24, 2009, What Will the Peanut Crop Be?

I spent some time this morning with my video camera and digital camera on a 40 mile trek through Crisp, Turner, and Tift Counties. I think this is at least a snapshot of the condition of the Georgia Peanut Crop this year at this time. Last week I was through the Southwest corner of the state and earlier in the week through Dougherty and Worth Counties and I am seeing a lot of this everywhere. I am hearing much the same as what you will see in these pictures from farmers across the state. I think the farmers who may be in the best shape in the end will be in one of two categories, either the guys who contracted but have a superior handle on cost of production or the average and above producer who did not contract peanuts. Save a miracle I personally have to believe that prices have to move upward once the 2008 surplus is out of the loan. USDA reduced the repayment rate significantly this week and this should help the situation a lot. I had the opportunity to visit with Scott Sanford after his presentation at the Southern Peanut Growers Conference and I am well convinced that his heart is for the farmers and he wants to find a way to make this program work for them.

Click here to view the video on crop progress.

Here are a few pictures:

Strip tilled in a cotton/corn field with a skip by the yellow bucket.

Same field but looks good just very late. Good farmer with good weed control.

Planted at more normal planting date but weedy and still not lapping the middles.

This field was planted partially and then a delay and the rest planted. Drown outs, skips, kind of the rule.

Same field...note the lack of uniformity in the field and these rows were planted at the same time. Also look at how late we are.

Same field, skips, variation, just a tough situation right now.

A clean field but notice even the best producers have skips and drown outs and especially a late crop to contend with. I have to wonder if we could measure the skips and down outs what that would further reduce acres in Georgia.

This is a late planted soybean field but pretty clean and demonstrates how when the planting season passed peanuts by farmers shifted to beans because the risk was less and the perceived reward greater. Plus they have Roundup Ready Technology.

A more mature, early planted soybean field. You can see the weeds are a bit more of a problem here as they are in all of our crops this year it seems.

This part of this peanut field drowned out and had to be re-planted. Notice he dropped in the middle of the row on part of it. How will he decide what to do at harvest on those 8 rows? Uniformity is a big issue in a lot of fields this year.

This is how peanuts should look in late July. What a beautiful field of peanuts but this is far and away the exception rather than the rule in Georgia this year. The weather has not been terribly kind to us. It is amazing what the combination of rain and irrigation can do. I truly believe we are less than 40% irrigated in peanuts this year.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Southern Peanut Growers Conference

The Southern Peanut Growers Conference for this year is now history. It was a great program with speakers from government and industry.

The government speakers ran a bit long but the researchers in the next session got us back on track and still did a great job with their presentations. I think next year we will discuss a bit more time for the research update. I loved the frankness of our researchers as they talked to growers about things like resistant pigweed and disease and nematode. One thing is for certain you cannot afford to cut corners and still remain profitable. It was also nice to see our soil fertility guy speaking on calcium. There is a lot new there and so we needed the update.

Our industry speakers also covered a lot of ground. It was nice to see how the salmonella outbreak was handled successfully, to hear about the great news on nutrition and childhood obesity, to see the promotional efforts currently underway, to learn more about government programs and food aid efforts in other countries.

The entertainment on Sunday and Tuesday was great and everyone had a good time. And the food....it was magnificent. That is not always the case for large group functions but the Executive Chef at Edgewater is a master at his occupation and loves doing it, too.

The prayer breakfast was one of the best we ever had and the message was one of music and not of words. Gina Lawhon is a master on even a cheesy electronic keyboard with a silly grand piano facade. I must have had 30 folks tell me how great the program was and how she inspired them. God truly is good.

One announcement came out of the final general session...the Peanut Advisory Board has a brand new name to reflect the grower ownership and to more closely compliment its relationship to the sister group the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation. PAB is now "Southern Peanut Growers" and is presenting the flavor standard of the world, southeastern grown runner peanuts.

I really appreciate all of our sponsors and we were especially happy to add a new sponsor this year with the National Peanut Board. Their participation was a nice addition to our conference.

If you weren't there you missed a great meeting at a great location.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Southern Peanut Growers Conference

The Southern Peanut Growers Conference starts this Sunday in Panama City Beach. We have a great program lined up and a lot of fun things, too. Beach, golf, a redfish seminar, and great entertainment Sunday and Tuesday nights.

I am also excited about the prayer breakfast and the inspiration which Gina Lawhon will provide for us as she shares her gift of her musical talent on the Grand Piano.

We have sessions on activities in Washington, cutting edge research, government feeding programs and feeding the hungry, promotion of peanuts, and a premier panel of experts who will tell us how to use the media to tell our story.

There is still time to register.