Upcoming Events

Row Crop and Auxin Herbicide Meetings Scheduled

Contributed by: Rudy Yates, Regional Extension Agent

Two meetings are scheduled for February offering farmers access to the latest research on row crop production and auxin herbicide training.

On Tuesday, February 19, 2019, 9:00 a.m. – Noon, farmers may attend a free Row Crop Production Meeting (Corn, Cotton and Soybeans) to receive updates on production of these crops. Discussion will focus on cotton and soybean insect pests, cotton diseases, nematodes, and weed management. This free row crop meeting will be held at the Black Belt Research & Extension Center, 60 County Road 944, Marion Junction, AL 36759.

On Tuesday, February 19, 2019, 1:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m, an Auxin Herbicide Meeting will be held at the Black Belt Research & Extension Center, 60 County Road 944, Marion Junction, AL 36759. 

The Auxin Herbicide Meeting has a $15.00 fee per person attending. ***Please note that only certified applicators may apply dicamba over the top (those working under the supervision of a certified applicator may no longer make applications).***

To register to attend these meetings, please contact Regional Extension Agent Rudy Yates at 334-295-5959 or 334-422-1135.

Cold Weather Considerations for Cattlemen

Contributed by Josh Elmore, Regional Extension Agent

An animal’s energy requirement increases in cold weather, and this often means supplemental energy is needed in the diet. Providing additional hay to cattle during cold weather is certainly a good practice. Research suggests that cattle will increase forage intake by as much as 30% under cold conditions. This increase in intake means that the animal is using most of this energy for one thing… increased maintenance requirements.

Cattle with a full rumen generate heat and energy that can help the animal achieve a more desirable body temperature. However, remember that forage quality is key every time! Depending on the quality of the forage and the magnitude of the cold, hay alone may or may not meet this increase in animal energy requirements. The best strategy for helping the cow meet her energy needs is to make sure that moderate to good quality hay (> 52% TDN) is available free-choice and provide a 20 to 30% increase in any energy supplement being fed during cold, wet weather to help overcome losses.

Even with increased forage consumption during cold weather, it is likely that feeding low quality forage (< 52% TDN) alone will not meet the higher energy requirements of the animal. As cattle consume more low quality forage, the risk for compaction of the digestive tract increases, and can lead to serious health issues. If low quality hay is the only source available, it is important to provide a fiber-based energy supplement to help address nutrient deficiencies (i.e. soyhulls, corn gluten feed, and whole cottonseed). Consider feeding cattle in the late afternoon or early evening. Increased heat production by the animal occurs 4 to 6 hours after forage and feed is consumed. Therefore, providing feed before temperatures reach their lowest point for the day can help combat some loss from the cold as well.  Keep in mind the only way to know the quality is to TEST YOUR HAY!

Upcoming Animal Science and Forages Programs for Central Alabama

February 1- 7:00 am       Beef Breakfast at the Montgomery County Extension Office

February 1- 11:30 am     2019 Cattle and Timber Outlook at the Sawmeal Restaurant in Brent, AL

March 2 – 9:00 am          Starting From The Ground Up: Know Your Soil Central Alabama! Chilton  Research and Extension Center in Clanton, AL

For more information and registration regarding any of these upcoming programs contact the Lowndes County Extension Office, 334.548.2315, or Josh Elmore, Regional Extension Agent Animal Science and Forages.  205-646-3610 or 334-850-7859

Farming in the New Year

Contributed by: Kevin Burkett, Regional Extension Agent

As we get started in a new year, resolutions abound and we set our sights on making improvements over the previous year. In conjunction, the mission statement of Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES) is to “enable people to improve their quality of life and economic well-being”. One main goal of the farm management Extension team is to reach more producers and help them to improve the quality of their financial records. In 2018, we met with a number of producers and were encouraged by both the feedback and progress we made.

One question that’s always important to answer is: why? Why would a producer care to maintain their financial information? There are several reasons but one major factor is simply being able to make good decisions for the farm. It’s hard to fully understand a situation with incomplete information. In this regard, how could an owner know if the business is doing well or making money without an accurate record of what is happening? Other benefits include: having information necessary for other parts of the business, knowing the value of the business, support in case of an audit, and the ability to see and make changes over time.

Profitable producers generally are the ones who are able to make incremental changes to their business from year-to-year. This means, for example, that a small reduction in cost and a small increase in revenue from last year could end up being the difference between making money or not. Good record keeping enables producers to see areas where changes are possible and likely ways that the business can improve upon what they are currently doing. If you think you or someone you know could benefit from improving their farm financial records, reach out to your local Extension office.

As is typically the case, appointments and training received are at no-cost to anyone, part of the Extension mission of helping citizens without regard to compensation, ability / income of producers, or any other characteristic. Training can come in the form of a one-on-one meeting set up at a preferred date and time, or with enough interest classes can be held to accommodate up to 10 farmers in one meeting. Producers should leave with enough knowledge and know-how to set up a simple and effective system for tracking financial information.

Again, if you think you or someone you know could benefit from improving their farm financial records, reach out to the Lowndes County Extension Office and ask to speak with Kevin Burkett, Regional Extension Agent who specializes in farm and agribusiness agent.     To reach Agent Burkett, call 334.548.2315 or follow this link for more contact information REA Kevin Burkett

Factors Affecting the Nutrient Content and Composition of Poultry Litter

The poultry industry in Alabama is comprised primarily of broiler production. Hence, broiler litter is the number one poultry waste generated in the state. Land application of litter to forages and row crops are a viable option for utilizing this valuable resource.

caked poultry litter

With escalating fertilizer prices, farmers are developing a renewed interest in litter for its nutrient value. The litter is also considered a soil builder because it helps to improve soil organic matter content of highly weathered soils. Furthermore, it improves soil microbial activity and helps to increase overall soil health. However, the nutrient content of litter can be extremely valuable.

Poultry Mega House

This publication provides an overview of poultry litter and the factors that cause variations in litter nutrient content.  Read more of this article by clicking this link:  Nutrient Management Series

Workforce Development Program Held in Hayneville

Dozens of Lowndes County residents participated in a Small Business Workshop on Thursday, December 13, 2018.  The program, hosted by BancorpSouth and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System’s Auburn and Tuskegee University offices, targeted entrepreneurs.

John Lyon, Community President BancorpSouth, speaks to attendees about business banking fundamentals.

11th and 12th grade students from Central and Calhoun High Schools learned about the basics of financial management for small businesses and business banking fundamentals.

Regional Extension Agent Kevin Burkett, who specialize in Commercial Horticulture and Farm and Agribusiness Management, discussed some of the start-up situations facing small business owners.

Lyons said of the program, “I hope that the attendees learned that there are a wide array of products and services that are tailored to meet the needs of small business owners (as well as businesses of all sizes), so the most important thing to remember is to develop a good relationship with a banker of their choice who will help guide them through the process of choosing the right products and services for their specific needs.”

Regional Extension Agent Kevin Burkett shares information about managing small businesses.

Areolate Mildew Observed in Central AL Cotton Fields

Contributed by: Regional Extension Agent Rudy Yates

Areolate mildew has been observed in some cotton fields in Central AL.

Areolate Mildew on a cotton leaf
Areolate Mildew on cotton leaf

The  links below may be of some help in understanding this disease and making management decisions if you find it in your cotton:





Products with azoxystrobin or pyraclostrobin are listed for its control in cotton.  Please click IPM-0415  to read the 2018 IPM Guide (some products listed on page 15).Please make sure cotton is on the pesticide label.

On the insect side, I’ve had an increase in moth counts for soybean loopers and fall armyworms in my traps (near peanuts and cotton).

Loopers on leaf
soybean looper

Cotton bollworm moths numbers have increased in my trap near corn and cotton.

Cotton bollworm moth
Cotton bollworm moth

Moth numbers have been up as well for cabbage loopers and beet armyworms (traps next to peanuts).

The Central Alabama Crops Tour will be held August 30, 2018 at the E.V. Smith Research Center at 8:30 a.m. For more information and to registers, please call 334.422.1135.

Please click below for a printable version of the Central Alabama Crops Tour Flier:

2018_0830_Central AL Crops Tour Flier


Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Alabama A&M University and Auburn University) is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity and the diversity of its workforce.  Educational programs serve all people regardless of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, marital status, family/parental status, religion, sexual orientation, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or a part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program.



Systems 360 Program: Beef Producers

What is the Systems 360 Program?


  • A group of beef producers who meet periodically to discuss success stories with beef systems related to forages, nutrition, water, herd health, animal management, and economics.
  • Hands-On Education – Producers will have the opportunity to “get their hands dirty” by participating in demonstrations related to land and animal management in beef operations.
  • On-Farm Learning – We have all heard the saying “Seeing is believing”. In this program, we plan to visit producer farms, Auburn research units, and industry partners to view and discuss management strategies in practice.
  • Group Defines Future Times/Locations – Groups will meet periodically over a series of five meetings at various locations to discuss the topics listed above.

How Do I Sign Up? 

Contact Your Local Extension Agent  for Information on How to Enroll this Fall – Deadline August 15, 2018

Visit the link here for contact information:

Systems 360 Program – Fall 2018 Locations 


http://Auburn Beef Producers Program

Slug Management in Vegetables

Frequent rainfall and excessive soil moisture in the fall and early spring can bring some unusual problems for vegetable gardeners and farmers – slugs are one of them (pictures show slugs infesting cabbages in Central Alabama). Slug build-up is also favored by the presence of high organic matter in heavy (clay) soil; organic matter not serves as a food source but also provides shelter from the environment and natural predators.

slug on cabbage leaf
Slug on cabbages in central Alabama

While slugs are invertebrate animals with soft bodies, snails have a hard shell that covers most of the body. Attack from slugs seem to occur at various stages of vegetable crops with high intensity in the late stages of crops that can lead to direct feeding damage and crop contamination. Slugs are very common on brassica crops grown during cooler weather in Alabama and several slugs may hide inside the maturing crop. Many crops have zero tolerance for slug contamination which may lead to crop disaster. In recent years, we have experienced slug activity in cabbage fields along with the yellowmargined leaf beetles resulting in complex pest outbreaks. Literature suggests that female slugs lay eggs in soil in small batches in damp areas; immature stages seem to have a limited foraging distance with repeated feeding in certain areas over several days.

Slug monitoring:  Some publications suggest using upturned plastic pots baited with chicken feed or other cereal based food (including malted beverages) as a way of attracting slugs early in the season for general population assessment. Unfortunately, using a number of slug traps with baits is often a cumbersome process and producers often get surprised when slugs appear on the crop. BioCare Slug Trap is a commercial vegetable-extract based slug trap that may be sufficient to monitor or trap out slugs in small areas.

Cultural tactics:  Manage surface residues and till the soil when necessary to prevent slug buildup. Drain waterlogged areas in and around crop fields when possible, or use abrasive materials such as sand in wet areas not under crop production. Limit irrigation or overhead watering during weather with frequent rainfall – use a soil moisture meter or other devices to accurately determine crop irrigation needs. Since slugs seem to like certain crops (e.g., soft-leaf brassicas), crop rotation, early planting, and timely harvest may help reduce the overall population levels.

Natural enemies:  Ground-dwelling carabid beetles are aggressive predators of slugs, but not sufficient to provide control in the environmental conditions that favor slugs in the first place. Nemaslug, sold commercially by BASF in the Eurpoean market, is an organic control option that uses endoparasitic nematodes to destroy slugs.

Molluscicides: Slugs are not insects; so many insecticides do not provide control. Commercial snail and slug-control materials typically contain:

  • Iron phosphate (e.g., Sluggo by Montery, OMRI-certified; Bonide Slug Magic for Gardens),
  • Volatile oil blend (Monterey All Natural Snail & Slug Spray),
  • Diatomaceous earth with amorphous silica (Perma-Guard Crawling Insect Control)
  • Bait premix of iron phosphate and spinosad (Bug-N-Sluggo by Certis, Monterey Sluggo Plus)
  • Sulfur (Bug-Geta by Ortho)
  • Metaldehyde (Southern Ag Snail & Slug Bait, Deadline Mini-Pellets)

    slugs on cabbage - ayanava majumdar.JPG
    cabbages infested with slugs


    The drawbacks for some of the listed formulations is the high cost, low availability, and restricted crop uses. Multiple applications of products may also be needed for sustained effect. Always read the product label and/or consult the manufacturer before using molluscicides on high-value crops, since field research-data is very limited for many products. Check the OMRI symbol for organic farming use. Contact Alabama Extension Regional Extension Agent for correct pest identification and development of IPM plan.  


Ayanava Majumdar,

Extension Entomologist & State SARE Program Coordinator

Young Anglers Funshop to be held Thursday, June 23, 2016

young man learning to remove fish from hook
From 2015 Young Anglers Funshop

Have fun while learning about Types & Parts of Fish, Lures, Baits, Knots & Hooks, Casting, Fishing Ethics and Action Fishing at the 2016 Young Anglers Funshop.  Click this link for more information and download the registration form.  Young Anglers Education Workshop – June 2016- Flyer and Registration Form (new)