Any time you walk through a park, play a recreation-league soccer game or enjoy an afternoon on the golf course, you are using the products of the multibillion-dollar turfgrass industry. In Georgia alone, turfgrass covers 1.8 million acres, making it one of the largest agricultural commodities in the state, employing more than 100,000 people with a maintenance value of $1.56 billion.
For Scotty Raines, the best part of farming is watching the fruits of his labor — witnessing those tiny seeds crack through the ground, bursting with life. Awe and dedication have paid off for Raines, who was just recognized with the title of 2022 Georgia Farmer of the Year by the Georgia Agribusiness Council.
Using proven production practices to fight disease in the field, Georgia farmers produce half the peanuts grown in the U.S. each year. Modern peanut varieties carry few genetic defenses against some of the more devastating diseases, so peanut farmers carefully consider when to plant, whether to irrigate and when to apply fungicide and insecticide to keep those diseases from infecting the plant.
While the old song “Tiny Bubbles” lauds the happy effervescence of a glass of sparkling wine, new University of Georgia research on nanobubbles seeks to discover whether the tiniest of bubbles can hold beneficial properties for turfgrass.
For most row crop producers in Georgia, corn, cotton and peanut are planted in the spring and harvested in late fall. After harvest, the ground is left relatively bare, with the residue of the harvested crop the only organic material left on the ground. This is where cover crops come in.
Alfalfa, once a dominant forage in Georgia, is the third-highest crop for economic returns in the United States. Combined with cheap nitrogen prices, difficulty growing the desirable forage crop in Georgia’s challenging climate led to a decline in alfalfa production in the state after its peak in the 1960s.
When University of Georgia peanut pathologist Bob Kemerait does something, he does it wholeheartedly. A passionate advocate for producers both near his academic home at the University of Georgia Tifton campus and around the world, Kemerait describes himself as “a field guy,” most comfortable among the rows detecting, diagnosing and addressing the myriad diseases and pests that threaten Georgia’s second-largest row crop.