Category Archives: Forages

Grazing Conference & Dairy Tours A Success


UGA Extension Forage Specialist Dr. Dennis Hancock and UGA Dairy Specialist Dr. Jillian Fain did a great job with the Mid-Atlantic Dairy Grazing Conference. The conference featured dairy tours which brought around 80 participants through Brooks and Thomas County. The tours were followed by a program at the Expo. Participants from Idaho, New Mexico, New York, Wisconsin, Michigan, and all across the Southeast came through the county on November 12th. The tours began at Brook Co Dairy outside of Quitman, then proceeded to Jumping Gully in Pavo. They stopped for lunch in Thomasville then visited Sweet Grass Dairy on their way out. Here are some of the photos above and below:



Additionally, the Progressive Forage Grower Magazine did an article on the program called New Directions for Grazing Dairies: Using Silage as a Supplement, which features photos from Sweet Grass Dairy and Dr. Hancock’s “dirty underwear” demonstration which illustrates the effects of organic matter in the soil.

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Forage Seeding & Inoculant Considerations

SoybeansDry-Rye 007

We are now planting oats, rye, clover and other forages now. These are generally planted during the month of October for grazing.We are a little early to plan for grain since heads can be damaged by cold later on. This field has been broadcasted with rye after peanuts were harvested which will be used for grazing here soon. We need to be aware of our seeing rates and planting depths. Below is a chart of seeding rates of grasses and legumes:



For legumes, it is important to have innoculants put out with them for nitrogen fixation. Inoculants are live bacteria so they need to be kept cool and moist until planting to get good root nodulation. In some situations were a legume like Crimson Clover is planted in a field which has had clover many seasons, we may not need the inoculant if there is plenty of organic matter. Below is a list of inoculants from the Georgia Forages website.


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Mid-Atlantic Grazing Conference

Mid-Atlantic Grazing Conference set for November 12-13 in Moultrie, GA.  The program is packed with information to improve management on pasture-based dairying in the Southeast. The program includes in classroom material, on farm discussions, and demonstrations with simulators and equipment.

  • Grazing management
  • Genetic selection
  • Branding and marketing
  • Herd management
  • Building soil organic matter
  • Rainfall/runoff simulator
  • Equipment demonstrations
  • Incorporation of Corn Silage

The conference is also offering an optional tour for November 14th.

The attached flyer has the event’s website.  The website has up to date information regarding the agenda as well as how to register and where to stay.  If you register by November 1 and use the promotional code “EARLY2014”, you’ll receive a 10% discount.


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Leaf Spot & Dry Pastures

Pasture (2)


Bipolaris Leaf Spot

We were looking at a pasture in Boston last week that was needing to be cut. It turned out it was just really dry in some spots and needing some rain. This pasture is predominately Bahiagrass but also plenty of bermudagrass. Both grass species were showing decline symptoms resulting from drought. On the bermudagrass I could see some leaf spots. The leaf spots on Bermuda are caused by either rust or Helminthosporium fungus. Here is what UGA Extension Pathologist Dr. Alfredo Martinez has to say:

Leaf spot caused by Bipolaris is observed on the leaves of this grass. It is a common disease this time of the year. Low potassium and high nitrogen are usually the culprit in addition to other stresses. Dry soils and wet foliage by dew can be problematic.

Information on leaf spot diagnosis and control is located at Leafspot Diagnosis and Management in Bermudagrass Forages.

Santos-Pasture (3)

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Filed under Disease, Forages

Armyworms In Hayfields


Armyworms026Fall armyworms are in our hayfields now. This is a Bermuda hayfield that is down to the stems. You can see the damage has caused the pasture to look dry with a silver tint. The foliage feeding caterpillars are also feeding on other grasses like this vasseygrass. Just last week, this field was getting close to being cut. The caterpillars move very fast and can do the damage in just a few days. Here is a link to the 2014 UGA Pest Control Handbook Pasture Section.


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Filed under Entomology, Forages, Pasture

Pyricularia Leaf Spot

PearlMillet 001

We were looking at some pearl millet on a plantation that has some leaf spots. Its planted next to soybeans which they thought may have been some spray drift. The browntop millet on the left is not affected. It’s actually a leaf spot disease. I once saw this in rice on a plantation a few miles away. The lesions on the leaves are elliptical or diamond shaped. Pyricularia leaf spot is also called rice blast on rice and is the same as grey leaf spot in turfgrasses. This is actually just grown for cover crop. The armyworms are causing more damage in other areas on the plantation than the leaf spot will do in this situation. Here is a link to Fungal Diseases of Pearl Millet.


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2014 Row Crop Planted Acres

UGA Economist, Dr. Nathan Smith, has information on our reported acreage at Georgia’s Crop Acreage Shifts Back to Rotation.

Corn and grain sorghum acreage is down with the acres shifting to more cotton, peanuts and soybeans.

Peanut acreage for Georgia is reported at 590,000 acres. This is up 37% from 430,000 in 2013. Cotton is shown as rising to 1.45 million acres with an increase of 6%. Soybean acreage is pegged at 280,000 up 50,000 over 2013 for a 22% increase. Sorghum acreage is down 10,000 acres to 45,000 in 2014.

Looking at the five major spring planted crops in terms of acres, corn, cotton, peanuts, sorghum and soybeans, there are 150,000 more acres planted to these crops than in 2013. That suggests acres shifted out of somewhere else into these crops or there will be adjustments later in the year.

This table shows 2013 and 2014 as well as 10 year crop averages:

2014 Crop Acreage



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Filed under Corn, Cotton, Economics, Forages, Grain, Peanuts

Watch Out For Stinging Nettle


If you have ever touched a stinging nettle, you would know it. One got me for the first time last year. I was looking for a wasp after I was stung it hurt so bad. I’ve been getting reports of some stinging weeds in pastures this past week. We looked at a pasture last week where this weed (above) was in pastures and horses got into it. Not all plants of this species sting, but in this picture you can almost see some of the stinging hairs called trichomes. This nettle was growing close to the ground. They are commonly seen along fence rows growing taller. UGA Extension Forage Weed Scientist, Dr. Patrick McCullough, said this photo this is a young stinging nettle plant or closely related species. Weed control options include anything with picloram (Grazon P + D) or aminopyralid (Milestone, Surmount).

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Poor Forage Quality Issues

It has been a trying year for cattlemen and their forage quality.  Several producers have shown concern about their cattle with respect to the quality of forage that we were able to put up last season.  This is also an issue statewide and our UGA Forage and Beef Team specialists have combined to help us understand some  key concerns we should focus on. This link provides information concerning the issue of Poor Quality Forages.




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