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Crop update

first_imgRain has been localized for the past several months and hasn’t provided widespread relief. With the exception of a few coastal plain counties, the entire state remains in drought. According to the Georgia Agricultural Statistics Service, 85 percent of Georgia’s cotton is in fair to excellent conditions. This year, farmers planted 900,000 acres of the crop, which is now blooming and entering a critical period for water. “We are hitting on an average cotton crop,” Roberts said. “It is still a little too early to make any predictions. The next six weeks, rain wise, will make or break the crop.”The peanut crop right now is “a mixed bag,” said John Beasley, a UGA Extension peanut agronomist. “In some parts of the state, peanuts look tremendous, but we do have some that are very dry.” Peanut farmers planted 650,000 acres this year; almost all of it is in fair to excellent conditions, according to the GASS report.Farmers won’t produce record yields like they did in 2003, when the average was 3,450 pounds per acre, Beasley said. But it shouldn’t be a disaster, either. “We don’t have any that are devastated beyond hope, that I am aware of,” he said. “But, we are a long way from bringing this crop home. There is so much that could go bad or good.”Damage from the tomato spotted wilt virus, a disease that has plagued peanuts in the past, has been minimal, he said. Insect damage, on the other hand, has been bad. Farmers have treated the crop two or three times and the bugs continue to feed on the foliage. “We have never seen it (bug damage) this bad,” he said, “not in 40 to 50 years.” Peanut harvest will start in September and hit full stride in October.Non-irrigated corn has suffered from the hot, dry days of July. Irrigated corn is in good shape, though, said Dewey Lee, a UGA Extension corn agronomist.“Any time you have the dry weather we’ve had, it affects the corn,” Lee said. “Last year, we had enough rain early in the season, but the eastern and southwestern parts of the state are extremely dry this year.”Roughly 75 percent of the corn is in fair to excellent condition, according to GASS. Farmers planted 370,000 acres of corn this year, 100,000 acres less than last year.Overall yields could still be high, he said, due to the fact that 55 percent of farmers have switched to irrigation and higher-yielding hybrid varieties. “For the most part, we are beginning the harvest of a normal season,” he said.The soybean crop looks OK, but needs August rain to fill out pods. This year farmers planted 420,000 acres of soybeans, almost twice the amount planted last year. Most of the crop is in fair to excellent condition.More concerning than the drought is the spread of an herbicide-resistant weed called Palmer amaranth, or pigweed, said Eric Prostko, a UGA Extension weed specialist. Farmers have fought the weed for years, but the resistant one is now popping up in record numbers in cotton, soybeans, peanuts and corn. Residual and timely post-emergence herbicides can help keep the prolific and fast-growing weed in check, he said. But it’s tough. Some farmers are using equipment, or even hands, to dig the weed out of their fields. (April Sorrow is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.) By April SorrowUniversity of GeorgiaGeorgia row crop farmers aren’t expecting a record-setting harvest this fall. But yields should be good despite drought. Tropical rain, though, could help, say University of Georgia crop experts. “This has been a year where it is all about rainfall,” said Phillip Roberts, a cotton expert with UGA Cooperative Extension. “We’ve been living on scattered showers.”last_img read more

Hampshire teenager is England Golf’s Young Volunteer of the Year

first_img14 Apr 2016 Hampshire teenager is England Golf’s Young Volunteer of the Year A disabled Hampshire teenager who inspires new golfers has been named as England Golf’s Young Volunteer of the Year. Warren Clark received a standing ovation when he was presented with his award last night at a gala dinner at England Golf’s annual conference. The event celebrated golfers and clubs which make the game great and inspire others to play. The 15-year-old said: “I like playing golf because it’s good for my special needs. In the past I used to be shy but now I am not because I like talking to everyone at the golf club and also to whoever I teach. “I love volunteering because I can help others to develop the benefits I have achieved through my golf. Warren, who has disabilities including autism and dyslexia, volunteered with the professional staff at Paultons Golf Centre in Hampshire for over three years and is now volunteering at his new club, Southwick Park. He is also a junior ambassador for the Disabled Golf Association, encouraging children and adults to get into the game and running taster sessions as a SNAG –Start New At Golf – coach. Warren’s head teacher, Andy Evans of Great Oaks School in Southampton, commented: “Because Warren has learning difficulties and struggles with learning himself, it has given him real empathy and understanding of other young people.” Warren is also a member of the England Golf Partnership’s Youth Panel and the Youth Sport Trust panel. His mother, Dawn Osborn, said: “Warren is a very inspirational young man, despite his disabilities, and his dream is to become a qualified golf pro.” Warren Clarke (left) receives his award from Foulf Foundation Chief Executive Brendon Pyle (Image © Leaderboard Photography)last_img read more

Pirates, Volquez fall flat in wild-card loss to SF

first_imgPittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Edinson Volquez throws against the San Francisco Giants during the first inning of a wild-card playoff baseball game Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)Resilient Giants rock Pirates to earn spot in NLDSPITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Pirates believe they’re building something special. The San Francisco Giants provided a reminder that much work remains to be done before a contender becomes a champion.Geared up for another run at “Buctober,” Pittsburgh’s postseason journey lasted all of 3 hours, 12 minutes, just long enough for Madison Bumgarner and the Giants to overpower the Pirates for an 8-0 victory in the NL wild-card game Wednesday night.Bumgarner tossed a four-hitter while striking out 10, and Brandon Crawford hit the first grand slam by a shortstop in postseason history as the Giants put an abrupt end to Pittsburgh’s second straight postseason appearance.“We got outplayed tonight,” second baseman Neil Walker said. “Bumgarner went out there, he did what he wanted to do. He put up the strike zone and he made it tough on us. When they got up early on us we were trying to scratch and claw our way back, and he was good from the first pitch until the last pitch.”The ones in between, too.Pittsburgh was unable to duplicate last year’s victory over Cincinnati in the wild-card game that followed a 21-year playoff drought. Playing before raucous crowds at PNC Park, the Pirates pushed St. Louis to a decisive Game 5 before losing their NLDS.This year, Pittsburgh went 17-9 in September while taking the Cardinals to the final day of the season in an attempt to win the NL Central.The chase included a decision to start budding ace Gerrit Cole in the regular-season finale in the hopes of catching the Cardinals and avoiding the wild-card game. Cole struck out 12 in a brilliant performance but the Pirates lost, putting Pittsburgh’s hopes for extending its season on Edinson Volquez’s excitable shoulders.The former All-Star — in the midst of a mid-career renaissance after winning a team-high 13 games — navigated three innings in the biggest start of his career before it all unraveled in the fourth, when a pair of singles and a walk loaded the bases with no outs.Crawford followed with a drive that kept carrying all the way to the seats above the 21-foot high Roberto Clemente wall to quiet the largest crowd in the 13-year history of PNC Park.“I tried to bounce it down, back foot, and the ball just kept going,” Volquez said. “Bad spot.”Bumgarner did the rest as San Francisco won its eighth consecutive postseason game and seventh in a row when facing elimination.Overpowering one of the NL’s best lineups, Bumgarner walked one and threw 79 of 109 pitches for strikes in his latest stellar October performance. The big left-hander, who allowed only four singles, has thrown 15 scoreless innings in two World Series starts.Brandon Belt drove in three runs as San Francisco added on. That was more than enough for Bumgarner, who mixed his fastball with a slider the Pirates couldn’t seem to figure out.Pittsburgh, fourth in the majors in extra-base hits this season, rarely hit the ball hard.“A professional, well-pitched game by him,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “We tried to counter-punch, we just couldn’t muster up anything.”Bumgarner was helped by his defense, too. Third baseman Pablo Sandoval — all 245 pounds of him — flipped over the railing in front of the Pittsburgh dugout to track down a foul popup off the bat of Russell Martin.Sandoval landed on his feet, a perfect symbol of San Francisco’s seemingly endless resiliency this time of year. Back in the playoffs after winning the World Series in 2010 and 2012, the Giants are looking to continue their every-other-year success.“We thrive in these situations,” Crawford said. “I don’t know what it is. We just keep fighting no matter what the circumstance.”It’s a path the Pirates insist they’re on after winning 94 games last season and backing it up by going 88-74 this year despite a series of obstacles, including extended stays on the disabled list for Cole and Francisco Liriano, and an offense that didn’t start to click until utility man Josh Harrison found a spot in the everyday lineup in mid-May.“Not to take away from this year, we know it was a good season,” Harrison said. “But these losses right here hurt. It’s not anything anybody would ever get used to. At the end of the day we still know that we are fortunate enough to be in this situation. There were a lot of teams that were eliminated on Sunday. And we had a chance to win tonight and play more.”Instead the Pirates could only watch as San Francisco piled on against Pittsburgh’s normally reliable bullpen. A sizable portion of the crowd — most of the fans dressed in black — remained until the bitter end. There was a standing ovation after the final out even as the Giants poured onto the field in celebration.An important offseason lies ahead as Pittsburgh tries to re-sign catcher Russell Martin and figures out how to address potential holes in the rotation with Volquez and Liriano becoming free agents.Owner Bob Nutting says the normally frugal Pirates will do what they can to keep Martin and build around a nucleus that includes Harrison, Cole and Andrew McCutchen. If last fall’s success was a breakthrough following 20 years of misery, this fall’s failure revealed the gap between the Pirates and a championship team is narrowing, but not quite closed.“It’s not like we’re 90-plus wins saying we’ve got work to do,” McCutchen said. “We were in the wild card again and there are things we need to improve.”last_img read more