Troup extension agent: Learn how to candle eggs, map soil

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 29, 2016

By Brian Maddy

Contributing columnist

How do you tell if an egg is fresh or if it’s fertilized? Candling is the age old method of looking inside an egg and figuring out what’s going on. In the days before electricity they used candles to illuminate the eggs.

Farmers initially candled eggs to determine if there was a viable embryo with in the egg and also to check the development of the baby chick. Incubating an egg that is not growing wasn’t economically efficient for a farmer.

Candling eggs also helps farmers to determine the quality of eggs for human consumption. The amount of air detected inside the shell is a good indicator of the freshness of eggs. Candling an egg will allow you to examine the air cell, the egg white or albumen and the yolk. These factors influence whether they will be graded AA, A, B or inedible.

Small poultry flocks have become very popular in Georgia. Some folks are very interested in supplementing their income by selling farm fresh eggs. Anyone selling eggs to individuals or at a farmer’s market must hold an Egg Candling Certificate. Additionally, anyone aiming to sell eggs to a grocery store, bakery or restaurant must have their candling facilities licensed by the Georgia Department of Agriculture’s Consumer Protection Division.

The license can be obtained by successfully taking and passing a written examination and candling examination. Troup County Extension will be offering a candling class to teach those skills on May 13 at the Ag Center in LaGrange.

Mr. Ben Pitts, agriculture compliance specialist, consumer protection field forces with GDA, will be teaching the class. There is no cost for the license and it’s a lifetime license.

The class is open to any Georgia resident and is not age restricted.

There is no charge, but registration is required by May 11.

The class is two sessions: training 10 a.m.–noon and candling exercise 1–3 p.m.

Class will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

You will need a photo ID when you come to the class.

The Ag Center is located at 21 Vulcan Materials Road in LaGrange.

You may register for the class by contacting the Troup County Extension at 706-883-1675 or email

soil mapping: Using the web soil survey to map your land

Have you ever wondered if you could match up your best land with the crop that provided the greatest return?

Over the past 100 years, soil scientists have mapped 95 percent of all the land in the United States. Starting in the 1920s, soil scientist fanned out over the United States and started taking soil samples in every county in every state. They came up with names for each type of soil, cataloged its characteristics and rated its ability to produce crops and timber.

The University of California Davis took all this information and put it online. The Natural Resource Conservation Service developed a web-based program to map this information for farmers and timber growers.

If you would like to learn how to do this call the office and register for this class which will be held May 5 at 7 p.m. at the Ag Center in LaGrange. Dr. Ben Jackson will teach a presentation on using this software.

You may register for the class by contacting the Troup County Extension at 706-883-1675 or

What’s going on in Extension?

Saturday, April 30,: MGEV Plant Sale, 9 a.m.–2 p.m. at the Ag Center. They will have a wide variety of plants for sale. Come and see!

May 5: Timber Growers. Guest speaker Ben Jackson, “Soil Mapping.”

May 13: Egg Candling Class for all those who sell eggs in Georgia. 10 a.m.–3 p.m. at the Ag Center. No cost, but must pre-register! Only 50 slots available.

Brian Maddy is the ANR Agent for Troup County Extension. The Troup County Extension office is located at 114 Church St. in LaGrange and may be reached at 706-883-1675, Monday–Friday 8 a.m.–noon and 15 p.m.