Tifton Gazette

Local News

February 15, 2013

Cantaloupes, cotton getting along well

TIFTON — Cantaloupes and cotton might seem like an odd couple but they’re actually proving to be a perfect pair.

Planting the two together is proving to reduce planting time and costs while generating the same, if not more profit for some Georgia farmers.

Tift County Extension Coordinator Brian Tankersley had has been studying the planting method, called intercropping since 2010 and has seen positive results in some of his farmers’ fields. He has also found that management and yields from intercropping cantaloupes and watermelons with cotton are comparable to planting the melons alone.

William Dillard, who farms in Excelsior, approached Tankersley about the intercropping strategy after seeing the process in another farmers’ field.

“You prep your land one time for the melons. All you’re doing is going in and seeding so you don’t have as much cost as far as re-prepping your land,” Dillard said.

Intercropping also saves valuable time during the growing season.

Once you get through the melons, it’s very hard to get a second crop and get it to where it can grow before frost. This way you’re able to get it planted in a timely manner,” Dillard added.

One of Dillard’s intercropped fields produced 1,200 pounds of cotton without affecting the cantaloupe yields and the other produced 800 pounds of cotton without affecting the cantaloupe yield.

“The difference was he ran out of water in the cotton crop on that second field,” Tankersley said.

In 2011, five growers participated in an evaluation study led by Tankersley. The study consisted of 12 fields, totaling 385 acres. The farmers intercropped 1,000 acres but only collected data on 385.

The 385 acres yielded between 840 to 1,579 pounds an acre with an average of 1,216 pounds, or about two and half bales of cotton per acre. Georgia farmers produce an average of about 90 to 950 pounds an acre when cotton is grown alone.

According to the study, intercropping allows farmers to make better use of what could be limited resources. Cotton fertilizer costs are reduced because the crop shares the same fertile soil used earlier in the season by cantaloupes or watermelons. The young cotton plants and the meloncrop also share the same irrigation systems, so the cost of having to irrigate a second field is eliminated. Also, because the land is already tilled for the melon crop, land preparation costs for the cotton are eliminated.

Though intercropping has proven to be beneficial, it is not recommended for all. For those who have limited water supplies, too little irrigation on the intercropped field will have adverse effects. Also, intercropping won’t work on the late cucurbit crops that some farmers plant with plans to harvest watermelons in late July. That’s too long to hold back cotton crops, Tankersley said. Farmers should also consider the market. Grain sorghum is sometimes planted after cantaloupes so farmers must determine how the grain and cotton prices compare. Heavy weed pressure is another concern. According to the study, in 2012, 75 percent of fields had some weed pulling following the harvest of cucurbit crops.

 “It’s hard to fight those weeds for that long of a period of time,” Tankersley said.

He cautions farmers not to do anything that would potentially harm their cantaloupes and watermelons, especially considering the expense that goes into growing both.

“The primary crop is the cantaloupes and watermelons,” Tankersley said. “This is where they have to spend so much money.

“You don’t want to jeopardize your primary crop trying to grow the secondary crop.”

Tankersley recommends farmers, who are interested in intercropping, move forward cautiously and try it on a limited number of acres first.

“I tell people, don’t grow watermelons and cantaloupes just to plant cotton in it,” he said. “Don’t do that because you can lose a lot of money, and we’ve got enough watermelons and cantaloupes being grown. We don’t want to flood the market with melons.”



 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Hulsey.tif Accident claims life, driver arrested

    A motor vehicle accident involving a pedestrian early Friday morning resulted in a local man's death.
    According to a motor vehicle accident report filed at the Tifton Police Department, shortly after 8 a.m., a female witness said she was eastbound in the right lane on U.S. Highway 82 behind a white 2008 Chevrolet Silverado, which was being driven by 26-year-old Riley Jake Hulsey of Alapaha, when they stopped for a red light at U.S. Highway 41 (South Main Street).

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • TTG_1830.tif Having some ‘egg-celent’ fun

    April 16, 2014 4 Photos

  • Benefit cookout to be held in Omega

    South Georgia Banking Company's Omega branch is hosting a cookout fundraiser during lunch Friday to benefit Tift County's Relay for Life.
    Jane Justice, assistant vice president, said lunch will be available for purchase from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the bank, located at 5515 Alabama Ave. in Omega. The price will be $5 for a hamburger and chips or two hot dogs and chips, $1 for a canned drink and $1 for homemade goodies for dessert.

    April 16, 2014

  • summer camp.tif Museum to offer summer camps for kids

    Children from four to 11 years old can explore southern Georgia’s rich history and natural resources through hands-on activities, games, and crafts this summer at the Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Special Olympics Friday

    The community is invited to join in the "Olympic spirit" Friday morning to cheer on this year's local athletes of the Tift County Special Olympics. This annual event is scheduled to take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Eighth Street Middle School track. However, in case of inclement weather, the rain date is May 2.

    April 16, 2014

  • Barthell.tif Drinking leads to arson

    A Tifton man was arrested Friday for arson after he tried to set a house on fire.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tifton Police focused on shootings

    The Tifton Police Department was busy Friday night responding to several reports of a shooting that occurred on East 13th Street.
    According to an incident report filed at the TPD, Officer Jasmine Carden reported that at approximately 11:45 p.m., she was sent to Tift Regional Medical Center in reference to a gunshot victim. Upon arrival, she made contact with the victim, a 21-year-old male.

    April 15, 2014

  • MAIN ART.tif Special Olympics set for Friday

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • EMA Director discusses 911 with City Council

    The Tifton City Council heard from Tift County Emergency Management Agency Director Jason Jones at a recent city meeting. He briefly discussed 911 dispatch protocol — how they receive and dispatch calls.
    He said they answer about 80,000 calls a year. When they receive a call, they try to get as much information as they can in the shortest amount of time possible. The main questions they focus on include the type of call, location  and name of caller.

    April 15, 2014

  • keesee, marianna  6.10.jpg TCFEE announces addition of new academic chair

    According to Executive Director Mike Brumby, the Julian Cannon Chair of Reading and Writing Skills Enhancement was established in 2014 as a gift from his wife, Janet Bowen Cannon.  The goal of the chair is helping students improve language, grammar, reading and writing skills to ensure their future success in the work force.
    This is the 12th academic chair of the foundation.  The purpose of the program is to provide exceptional opportunities for Tift County public schools to strengthen and enrich education in specific disciplines.

    April 15, 2014 2 Photos

AP Video
House Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Seasonal Content
Business Marquee
Weather Radar
Video
SW Ga. Sacred Harp group at Folklife Festival in Tifton
Balloons released in Fitzgerald honoring fallen balloonist
Riding the Steam Train at Ga. Museum of Agriculture
Poll

Do you plan to watch any of the Republican National Convention?

Yes
No
     View Results
Poll

Are you better off now than you were four years ago?

No
Yes
     View Results
Poll

Do you plan to watch any of the Republican National Convention?

Yes
No
     View Results
Poll

Do you plan to watch any of the Republican National Convention?

Yes
No
     View Results
Poll

Are you better off now than you were four years ago?

No
Yes
     View Results
Poll

Are you better off now than you were four years ago?

No
Yes
     View Results