Making A Difference in Our County
We're working hard for the citizens we serve. Here are some examples of successful projects from the past year:
COTTON EDUCATION AND RESEARCH
Dooly County leads the state in cotton production, with approximately 70,000 acres planted each year. UGA Extension in Dooly County provided five education meetings on cotton production in 2016, reaching 201 farmers. The meetings focused on variety selection, physiology, insect and weed control, defoliation and auxin herbicide safety training. Three on-farm cotton research trials were conducted, including two high biomass cover crop trials and a large cotton variety trial.
FARM SAFETY TRAINING
To address farm accidents, the Dooly County Extension staff conducted a Farm Safety Training on Aug. 30 for area farmers and their employees. The primary focus was on operating tractors and equipment safely. Emphasis was placed on the operation of rotary mowers, hay balers, highway safety and methods to avoid tractor overturns. Fifty-two people attended the training.
FERAL SWINE CONTROL
Dooly County Feral Swine Control Project members have conducted research to find more efficient and effective methods of controlling feral swine populations. Growers in Dooly County have reported that feral swine damage increases with each crop season, and that traditional methods of control, such as shooting, box traps and dog hunting, are no longer effective. Although most are aware that current control methods are not effective, they are unsure whether a viable option exists. In cooperation with the Georgia Feral Swine Working Group, we have conducted an applied research study comparing feral swine control methods. Traditional control methods, such as box trapping and intensive shooting, were used, along with a system-style method, which involves intensive reconnaissance, animal conditioning and nontraditional traps. This study was conducted on farms that had active feral swine populations. The comparison showed box trapping to be completely ineffective in this particular situation. Intensive shooting, while more effective than box trapping, was 380 percent less effective than the system approach. Shooting was also more labor intensive, removing one pig for every 6.4 hours of labor as opposed to one pig for every 13 minutes of labor. With the help of the Georgia Feral Swine Working Group, U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services has earmarked approximately $30,000 for the Dooly County project for fiscal year 2016. The overall goals are to acquire and compare feral swine crop damage assessments, as well as intensively remove feral swine to reduce the population and associated damage.
4-H YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
Dooly County 4-H had approximately 316 youth enrolled for club meetings in 2016. The 4-H staff and Agriculture and Natural Resources agents presented members with classes in agricultural production and financial management. Dooly County 4-H members participated and placed in various Georgia National Fair youth contests and State 4-H Council. State council participation increased by 10 percent for the county. Dooly Junior and Senior District Project Achievement participants competed in several areas of interest and placed in each of those projects. Cloverleaf Area Project Achievement was attended by fifth- and sixth-grade 4-H’ers. Dooly County 4-H increased DPA participation by 10 percent. Members of 4-H attended Cloverleaf Camp at Rock Eagle 4-H Center for a fun week of canoeing, swimming, crafts and classes on entomology, herpetology and lake ecology. Dooly County 4-H camp participation increased by 60 percent in 2016.