Category Archives: Forages

Forage Sampling

HaySample-2

Just like we do soil sampling to check pH and other basic plant needs, we need to think about hay sampling to check the quality of our hay. In one case where a cow has died, the veterinarian may want to check nitrates. Nitrates can be a problem especially when we end the season in a drought. This was something we worried about last season. So far, we have seen moderate nitrates this year, but not high. We’ve done a few samples the last three weeks. Here is one from yesterday. It’s time for me to have a picture since I take pictures of everything else. If it looks like I’m trying hard, I am. I may need to sharpen this probe.

Forage Lots

We want to pay attention to how we do our sample.  One of the first things I ask is where the hay is from. We want to make sure to take samples by “lots” of hay or silage. This is hay from the same cutting, field or stage of maturity. Most cattleman purchase hay, and it is more difficult to differentiate “lots” in these samples. We separate it as best we can, and not represent more than 200 tons of dry matter.

Sampling Equipment

Another important procedure is bale sampling. We need to get as much from the middle or core of the bale that we can. A hollow probe is best to use for this. I have a probe here in the office with a drill I can bring out to help sample. Here is a more detailed write up of Taking a Good Forage Sample.

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2015 Southeastern Hay Contest

2015SoutheasternHayContest

Hay and baleage producers in the Southeast could earn major prizes in this year’s Southeastern Hay Contest at the Sunbelt Ag Expo. The 2015 SE Hay Contest is presented by Massey Ferguson. As a result of Massey Ferguson’s sponsorship and major support from sponsors for each of the seven categories in the SE Hay Contest, category winners can win cash and, in some cases, free use of Massey Ferguson hay equipment.

Since 2004, the SE Hay Contest has been spotlighting high quality hay and baleage production in the Southeast. The Cooperative Extension programs in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina have organized the SE Hay Contest since its inception. Dr. Dennis Hancock, Extension Forage Specialist from the University of Georgia, is this year’s director of the SE Hay Contest. “We hope every high quality hay producer from Texas to Virginia will enter for a chance to win,” says Hancock. “Our goal is to demonstrate the potential to produce high quality hay and baleage in the Southeast. Just as important, we want to highlight the technology that makes it all possible.”

Forage growers in the SE have increased the quality of their forage because of unprecedented prices in most livestock sectors, great demand for their products, and a need for efficiency due to high input costs. “The key to success has always been timely management,” says Hancock. Dr. Hancock also points out that good management has been made more efficient with the use of improved forage varieties, advanced harvest equipment, and other technologies that have come to the market during the last decade. “It is hard to recall a more exciting time in the hay and forage industry.”

Massey Ferguson has joined the effort by being the title sponsor for the SE Hay Contest. They will be providing the Grand Prize of a new Massey Ferguson RK Series rotary rake for the 2016 hay production season and a $1000 cash prize. Additionally, Massey Ferguson will be providing the winner of 1st Prize in the Warm Season Perennial Grass Category with the use of a new DM Series Professional disc mower for the 2016 hay production season.

Each of the 7 categories has been sponsored by additional industry partners. These sponsorships will provide cash awards to the top 3 places in each category, including $125 for 1st prize, $75 for 2nd prize, and $50 for 3rd prize.

Dr. Hancock encourages producers from all 13 southeastern states to check out the rules and entry forms and enter. The deadline for entry into the SE Hay Contest is 5 p.m. on Monday, September 28, 2015. More information about the Contest, including the rules and entry forms, is available at bit.ly/SEHayContest2015. Also follow the Southeastern Hay Contest on Twitter (@SEHayContest) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/SEHayContest) for periodic articles, updates, and timely information on producing high quality hay and baleage.

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Gray Leaf Spot On Pearl Millet

PearlMillet

Gray leaf spot

Gray leaf spot

Here is a field of Leafy 22 Pearl millet used for grazing. Pearl millet is also used for hay and silage. We need to have 20 – 24 inches in height before cows start grazing. However, leaf spots showed up this past week. The spots are more pronounced in certain areas of the field, but mostly all leaves are covered in spots. The spots turned out to be Pyricularia Leaf Spot or Gray Leaf Spot. This is caused by the fungus Pyricularia grisea. This is a very common and important disease of Pearl millet. I have seen Pyricularia before on Pearl millet. UGA Extension Grain Pathologist Dr. Alfredo Martinez says newer dwarf varieties may have some resistance to Pyricularia. Usually fungicide applications are not recommended for pearl millet. Below is some more information on Pearl millet.

Diseases of Pearl Millet

Georgia Forages: Pearl Millet

Pearl Millet: Overview & Management

 

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Jefferson County Cool Season Field Day

Rye 016Jefferson County Livestock Agent Jed Dillard has put together a Cool Season Annual Field Day on Saturday April 11th from 10:00am to 1:00pm at Ashville, Fl.

Program speakers include Dr. Anne Blount, UF Forage specialist; Joel Love, FDACS BMP specialist, Mac Finlayson, cattleman and Jed Dillard, Jefferson County Livestock Agent. Steve Tullar of USDA NRCS will also be on hand to discuss cost share programs through EQUIP.

You’ll see 33 plots of oats, rye, triticale, rye grass, clover, medic, winter peas and vetch, plus some blends. Old standards to new releases were all overseeded on an Argentine Bahia pasture. The plots have been rotationally grazed and provide a side by side comparison through a winter that has been less than perfect for cool season grazing.

The event is free to all, but please contact Jed Dillard at dillardjed@ufl.edu or 850-342-0187 to register and get more details. We want to make sure we have enough materials and refreshments for all of you. Please share this as you see fit, but don’t forget to spread the need for registration as well.

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Forage Conference

ForageConferenceWhen we have slow grazing winters, we rely heavily upon hay during the winter. If you are looking at increases hay production on your farm, here is a good meeting to find some good forage and hay production information. Go to the UGA Forages website and click on UPCOMING EVENTS on the right hand side.

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Aphid Numbers Increase

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Aphids in Oats

 

Yesterday I looked at three triticale fields that are also grown for seed to check aphid presence. We’ve been talking a lot about the Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus (BYD) – a virus of small grain vectored by aphids. According to UGA Extension Grain Entomologist Dr. David Buntin, planting date is the most most important management practice of BYD. Small grain fields planted early (October 1-15) are more susceptible to BYD than later planted fields. Of small grains, oats are most susceptible to BYD. If we’re growing for yield, seed, etc, we need to be aware of aphids.

Generally, now is the time to apply insecticide for a treatment of aphids. Nonetheless, we still want to check for aphids 25-30 days after planting.

Young Greenbug Aphid

Young Greenbug Aphid

There are about five species of aphids present in our fields: bird-cherry oat, rice root aphid, greenbugs, corn leaf aphid, and English grain aphid. The aphids I am seeing are bird-cherry oat aphid and green bugs. The bird-cherry oat aphids are the most common vector of BYD, even though any species can vector the disease. The green bug is the only species that can damage leaves. Although this is minimal damage, it shows up as small purple/red marks on the leaves (below).

Aphid Feeding

Aphid Feeding

In wheat, our threshold of aphids during tiller stage is 6 per row foot. You can use this same threshold for other small grains. However, many fields were broadcasted, so check square footage instead. In all fields I checked I saw adult aphids and young, which means they are reproducing. I could also see aphids while standing up (usually I have to get down on the ground and hunt them.) I was also seeing many fat, red-orange aphid. This is a mummy aphid that was parasitized by a wasp (below, left).

Mummy And Live Aphid

Mummy And Live Aphid

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Avoiding Grain Loss When Grazing

Oats 003

Here is some Coker 227 oats grown for seed but are also grazed. A critical decision that is make this time of year is when to stop cows from grazing so plants can produce seed. This decision is somewhat influenced by planting date but mostly by growth stage.

Oats Jointing

Oats Jointing

Small grains germinate and grow as seedlings before tillering. Following the tiller stage, the plant will begin the stem elongation phase. During this phase, the a node, or joint, will form at the base of the stem. This is a thickened area on the stem and is the growing point. If cows graze below the joint (growing point), this plant will not produce seed.

The first thing we want to do is look for joints. The decision to remove cows is based on grazing height and joint position on the stem. If joints are seen on stems but low to the ground and below the grazing height, cows do not need to come off the field yet. If joints are higher position and grazing is lower than joints, it is time to remove the cows. It would be a good idea to avoid grazing on a small area to observe growth the growth stage.

This field was planted in mid-November and is still in the tiller stage. Plants are 4-5 inches in height. We only found a joint on one stem, so this field can be grazed much longer removing cows.

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Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus?

 

In our forage crops, we started with bad stands from dry weather at planting . Cold weather in early November and after Christmas has not helped in growth rate. Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus is vectored by aphids and could also be causing some of our issues. UGA Extension Forage Scientist Dr. Dennis Hancock says reports of BYD are coming in from South GA.

In some oats, I noticed an abundance of aphids last week. We’re used to counting aphids for grain crops, but we have to also think about forage crop management too. BYDV can severely damage wheat and barley, but oats are more susceptible. UGA Extension Grain Entomologist Dr. David Buntin says, “The best treatment time usually is at full-tiller stage in early to mid-February. But, scout fields for aphids at 25 – 35 days after planting and during warm periods in January.” Especially if these fields were planted earlier, which Dr. Buntin says is more likely to get BYD. Could we may be seeing issues with BYDV earlier than normal? Something we need to keep in mind.

Purpling of leaf is associated with lack of P

Purpling of leaf is associated with lack of P

Nutrient

Also, oats are also more susceptible to cold, and nutrient symptoms may look similar to BYD. When we have cooler temperatures, this slows P movement into the root and we’ll see a purplish color which is textbook phosphorus deficiency. Plant roots have to be in direct contact with P for uptake. This is called “root interception.” Cold temperatures slow the growth of roots and we see this deficiency.  Nutrient take up is different in nitrogen, called “mass flow”.  This is because N is mostly taken up as nitrate in water.

BYD Management

The virus is present in most fields throughout the winter and once we get it, there is nothing that can be done. Here is an excerpt from Dr. Buntin about management of BYD:

“Systemic seed treatments, imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, and clothianidin, are available for controlling aphids in the fall and winter and may reduce infection rates of BYD. These seed treatments are more effective in the northern half of the seed treatments have been inconsistent in control and are not recommended for routine use. A single, well-timed insecticide application of the insecticide lambda cyhalothrin, or gamma cyhalothrin also can control aphids, reduce the incidence of BYD and increase yields… A lambda cyhalothrin or gamma cyhalothrin treatment at full tiller can be applied with top-dress nitrogen. OP insecticides, such as dimethoate and methyl parathion, also will control aphids but are not effective in preventing barley yellow dwarf infection.

Planting date is the single most important management practice, with early plantings generally have greater aphid numbers and greater BYD incidence than late plantings.”

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Grain/Forage Update

We were out yesterday doing some soil samples before the cold and were in and out of some forage fields. It is still really wet, we even bogged the gator down in one field. Almost all of our grain and forage fields were planted late this year. Here is some rye planted for grazing. It is coming up and looking good, however low temperatures will unfortunately slow it down and take it more time before the cows can graze.

Rye-CW

We also have wheat planted into December. If we’re planting late, we want to use an early maturing variety that has shorter vernalization requirements. When planting early maturing varieties, we have to also watch planting too early are since they can enter jointing phase before cold and have winter damage.  Therefore, with our grain crops, we’re mostly pushing back our weed control timing. This is usually a month after planting.

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Wheat tillering

 

Henbit Seedling

Henbit Seedling

Here is some wheat I looked at before Christmas that is starting to tiller now. It has 2-3 tillers. This is important in terms of weed control. This field is okay for MCPA but not yet for a 2,4-D application. The weeds in the field right now are henbit, annual bluegrass and very little chickweed. We’re not used to seeing as much annual bluegrass, so what about its impact on wheat? UGA Extension Weed Scientist Dr. Stanley Culpepper says if annual bluegrass is thick and emerges with the grain then it can be concern. In this case, it did not emerge with wheat and is not the same size.

Annual Bluegrass

Annual Bluegrass

There are no raddish weeds yet, so this field could stand to go another week/week and a half before we do post-emergent treatment.

I did see an aphid here and there. Populations are very low and not close to treatment threshold. We need to see 6 aphids per row foot when plants are 6-10 inches before we consider treatment.

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Forage Crop Progression

Nelson Ryegrass & Crimson Clover-Forage 020

We were out looking at some forages planted for grazing and hay yesterday. Here is some Nelson ryegrass drilled with Crimson clover into a dormant bermudagrass pasture. These fields are coming along well with little to no issues. With clover, the seed depth is so shallow, you basically just set the seed on the ground since settings are not that shallow. When broadcasting clover, seed depth is usually not an issue onto dormant warm season sod. If drilling, you have to make sure the seeds are not planted more than ¼ – ½ inches deep. Much of the clover is coming up but some is coming up in more spots than others.

Nelson Ryegrass & Crimson Clover

Nelson Ryegrass & Crimson Clover

The only issue so far is weeds. We have mostly chickweed, but also carolia geranium too. We wondered about a pest emergent herbicide, but since clover is still in seedling stage, UGA Extension Weed Scientist Dr. Patrick McCullough says no herbicides are safe enough on seedling clover. With such few options of herbicides on clover, we were worried about ryegrass. Dr. McCullough says ryegrass would be tolerant, but selective weed control with clover is difficult enough with established clover.

 

In another field oats has been planted for grazing. This field has been typical of some issues in the county this year. Planted around October 20th, we went through such a dry spell and had a hard time getting a stand. We wondered about fertility being an issue since oats are less tolerable to pH below 6.0 then rye. Even with grid soil sampling, you can see small spots of low pH. Those spots were not evident here, just bad stand. In the very coverer of the field, the stand is much better. It was clear that low spot is much wetter and seed was able to germinate.

Oats 011

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