Threatened by another year of continued drought, farmers are relishing the timely relief that recent rains provided most of Georgia’s major row crops. Overall, experts say this is the best crops have looked in three years.Weed and disease control are the main issues facing peanut farmers right now. But that’s not necessarily bad, said John Beasley, an Extension Service agronomist with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.”Anytime those two situations occur early on in the season, it’s indicative of good growing conditions (for the crop),” Beasley said.Disease, Weeds Sign of Rain Disease pressure early in the season means the crop is getting wet with rain, something farmers haven’t had in great supply over the past few years, he said.”The past week to 10 days, we’ve gotten a lot of rain,” Beasley said. “That has certainly helped growing conditions considerably.”According to the Georgia Agricultural Statistics Service, 96 percent of the peanut crop is in good to excellent condition.Not every acre has had above-normal rainfall. But a good portion of the peanut belt has gotten adequate to above-adequate rain. The eastern part of the state hasn’t had as much as the middle and southwestern parts.Most of the peanut crop was planted in mid-May. But early-season dry weather forced some farmers to plant their crop later than normal. Most of the crop, though, is growing at a good pace, he said.”Right now, we’re in better shape than we were at this time last year,” he said.The rain has helped the crop recover from the earlier dry conditions. But in a few weeks, most of the peanut crop will have reached a stage of growth that requires the highest amount of water. Then, fields will need about 2 inches of water each week.Good for Corn, Bad for Wheat Overall, the corn crop is the best farmers have seen in the past three years, particularly for dryland farmers, said Dewey Lee, a UGA Extension Service grains scientist.Georgia’s corn crop was planted late because of heavy rainfall in March. Despite the setback, the crop has grown at a steady pace, Lee said.The dryland crop was hurt by dry weather April and May, but irrigated corn is in good shape, he said. About 94 percent of the corn crop is in good to excellent condition.Because corn was planted late, the recent rain has fallen at a critical growth stage, Lee said.”This rain has come at a time when the crop is about ready to go through its reproductive stage of tasseling and silking,” Lee said.Some corn is in the early stages of kernel development, a time when the corn plant needs extra water, he said. “This has been a most timely rain.”Corn harvest will start in August.Wheat farmers aren’t as happy with the rain. Heavy rain has interrupted the last part of the harvest and has reduced the quality of the crop left in fields, Lee said.Other Georgia crops, though, have benefitted from timely rain. About 94 percent of the cotton and tobacco and 95 percent of the pecan crop are in good to excellent condition.Many farmers hope the rain their crops didn’t use will find a way to streams, ponds and groundwater to be used later in the season for irrigation, Beasley said.
Tottenham Hotspur defender Federico Fazio Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino faces a couple of tough choices in defence as in-form Manchester United rock up to White Hart Lane on Sunday.Centre-back Federico Fazio’s form is extremely inconsistent alongside Jan Vertonghen and with Leonardo Ulloa beating him for Leicester City’s goal in Spurs’ 2-1 Boxing Day victory, his time could soon be up.Danny Rose, who came in for Ben Davies at left-back, may also find himself out of Pochettino’s starting XI following a mediocre display against the Foxes.Meanwhile, Ryan Mason could find himself back in the team after replacing Benjamin Stambouli at half time in Tottenham’s victory at the King Power Stadium.Here’s how Tottenham Hotspur could line up against Manchester United…GoalkeeperA clash with Leicester City forward Jamie Vardy left Hugo Lloris battered and bloodied on Boxing Day but the Frenchman is made of strong stuff and will start between the sticks for the 19th time in the Premier League.DefendersIn recent weeks the form of Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen has seen Spurs bailed out of some tricky situations and, having only kept one clean sheet in 11 games, Pochettino could see fit to make a change to his backline.Fazio appears, at times, a mistake waiting to happen and against Man United’s fearsome forward line could come unstuck in spectacular fashion, so recall for Younes Kaboul would not be a massive surprise.Davies could also return having looked impressive in recent matches before being deposed by Rose for their win over Leicester. Kyle Walker, who scored against Man United back in 2013 and Vertonghen should continue in the back four.MidfieldersTottenham finally seem to have found their rhythm in forward areas so the triumvirate of Erik Lamela, Christian Eriksen and Nacer Chadli are likely to continue their good work against the Red Devils.In Pochettino’s holding pair there could be a change with Mason returning in place of Stambouli, although the Frenchman could still start if Nabil Bentaleb is given a rest by his boss.ForwardsHarry Kane’s blistering run of form continued as he hit his fourth goal in four games against Leicester City and this is likely to be enough for him to start ahead of Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor. 1