South GA farmers watch out for three new crop killers - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

South GA farmers watch out for three new crop killers

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THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) -

South Georgia farmers are used to dealing with pests and diseases, but three new crop killers have infiltrated the area.

Experts say soybean growers need to watch out for the Kudzu Bug, Tropical Spider Wort, and Asian Soybean Rust.

The left side of this soybean field in Pavo was sprayed with fungicides, the right side was not.

"We actually came to our cooperating informer here because he had the problem and it's an unusual problem. We're trying to gather information to not only help this grower, but help growers in the southeast in general," said Dr. Phillip Roberts, Entomologist

Experts say this soybean field, along with fields across the state, are vulnerable to three main annoyances.

"The Kudzu bug is coming, the Tropical Spider Wort is here, and the Asian Soybean Rust that comes and goes depending on the weather, last year we had very little, but this year we've got a bunch out there," said Dr. Bob Kemerait, Pathologist.

"It's going to be an economic pest of soybeans. It's something our soybean growers here in South Georgia need to be aware of. This winter we'll spend a lot of time on managing that pest," said Roberts.

Agricultural experts from UGA spoke with growers this morning about why it's important to spray.

"You know in agriculture, no matter what crop we're talking about, we always have new challenges. In extension our roles as educators is to prepare growers for what to expect," said Roberts.

"If you're making a trip across the field, and you value your soybeans, around the bloom stage, why wouldn't you mix a fungicide around there," said Kemerait.

"It's certainly going to cost more dollars to get more weed control, but with a higher priced bean, you can probably justify spending a little more money on weed control for soybeans than maybe in the past," said Dr. Eric Prostko, Weed Scientist.

And experts say external factors will increase the need for the soybean.

"Based on the current prices and the issues that are coming up with peanuts, in terms of the supply that we will have in the market, we are probably going to see more soybeans planted," said Prostko.

Experts say growers need to spray the fungicides early in the growth stage, because if a disease does form later, not much can be done.

Growers are encouraged to contact their local extension agents if they have any questions on plant pests or diseases.

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