Category Archives: Grain

Cool Season Pasture Establishment Tips

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It’s been very dry for planting our grazing. Some grazing has been planted like this one but many growers are waiting for the rain. The rain is predicted for this week. This field was planted the first week of October. It’s Horizon 306 variety of oats. They harrowed, spread chicken liter, dressed again, then drilled in seed. Here is some information from UF Soil & Nutrient Extension Specialist Dr. Cheryl Mackowiak:

Preparing Land

Prepare land for winter grazing by closely grazing or mowing down the existing pasture in the fall, prior to planting. This results in less water, nutrient, and light competition with the emerging cool-season forages. You can also till an area for producing cool-season forages. Forages started in tilled soil will grow faster and often outperform over-seeded forages. A prepared seedbed minimizes competition for resources and during cooler periods, the exposed soil will warm more than soil under residues.


Target soil pH to a range from 5.5 to 6.5. If you find that your soil is near the low (acidic) end of the scale, consider applying lime. However, do not apply lime within a month of your fertilizer application, as you may increase nitrogen volatilization (N loss) and tie-up more soil phosphorous (P), leading to less available fertilizer for the plants. If you have not limed yet, you might consider waiting until winter, or before the spring transition into summer forages.


For cool-season grasses in Florida & SW Georgia, 30 lbs N/acre is recommended at or near planting, then another 40 to 50 lbs N/ac after the plants have established (beginning to branch or tiller). If you want greater clover competition, apply less N (30 to 50 lbs near planting and no additional application). Under grazing, you might find that applying another 30 to 50 lbs N/acre in early spring is required, particularly if there are leaching rains, or livestock are not redistributing excrement uniformly across the pasture. If El Nino conditions prevail through the 2016 winter/spring, you may find yourself under flooded conditions. Annual ryegrass and white clover survive saturated soils better than most other Florida cool-season forage options. Saturated soils will also lose N via denitrification (gaseous loss). Do not apply additional N fertilizer until the soils have adequately drained.

FaithPittman-Weed 031Planting Dates

Planting now through mid-November ensures well-established plants with deep root systems to capture nutrients that may leach during large rain events. Also, managing grazing to retain adequate forage (3 inches or more stubble height or grazing to remove only half of your canopy height) will insure adequate rooting mass and depth, in order to capture soil nutrients deeper in the soil profile and promote stronger, more resilient plants and faster regrowth.

Keep in mind that the fertilizer investment made for cool-season forages will be returned in animal gains and a healthier pasture. The root mass from winter forages decomposes in early summer, contributing organic matter and slow-release nutrients to the soil that will help support the summer pasture.

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Filed under Fertility, Grain

2015/2016 Wheat Weed Control

Here is the 2015 Wheat Weed Control program for ryegrass and wild radish from UGA Extension Weed Scientist Dr. Stanley Culpepper.



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Planting Browntop Millet

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Here a picture of planting browntop millet. Browntop millet (or dixie signalgrass)  is grown for several different things, here for wildlife attraction (dove fields) with many plantations in Thomas County. It is also used in erosion control, straw production, and forage production. It is occasionally used for grazing or hay production. Browntop typically grows only to two to five feet tall and produces only 60 to 70 percent of the dry matter of pearl millet or sorghum x sudan hybrids.

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Browntop millet can be planted from mid-April until mid-August in most locations, though later plantings will result in lower yields. To establish browntop millet, broadcast 20 to 25 lbs of seed per acre on a prepared seedbed in spring. Seed should be covered to a depth of 1/2-inch in a firm seed bed.

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Here is a link to more info on warm season forages: Georgia Forages: Grass Species

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Wheat Closer To Harvest – Fusarium Head Blight A Concern

Wheat 011Here is a field in the northwest part of the county that is getting close to harvest. This field started with a less desirable stand, but you wouldn’t notice now. It is at milk stage progressing towards Feekes 11.3 where the kernel is hardening. There was a fungicide applied at heading, which has helped with disease. Rain in this part of the county is also much less than average, so this helps when disease is present.

Here is a brown stink bug on a head.  Sometimes wheat is infested with stink bugs during grain fill. The brown and southern green stink bugs may reproduce and have a complete generation in wheat before harvest. However, according to UGA Extension Entomologist Dr. David Buntin, they almost never require control. As wheat dries down, stink bug adults disperse to nearby summer crops. We would only treat if 1 or more stink bugs per square foot are present at milk stage. Treatment is not needed in the dough stage.

However, when wheat harvest gets underway, we need to pay close attention to the corn crop as stinkbugs will move to corn. UGA Extension Agronomist Dr. Dewey Lee says this could be a problem particularly around VT/R1 stage.  Corn is very susceptible to stinkbug damage at this stage. Dr. Lee recommends applying an a labeled insecticide by airplane rather than through the pivot.

Brown Stink Bug

Brown Stink Bug

Fusarium Head Blight – Dr. Dewey Lee, UGA Grain Agronomist (5/11/15)

The last four weeks, I have answered lots of questions about fusarium head blight, stagonospora glume blotch, tan spot, rust and even the possibility of cold damage on pollen from frost and loss of pollination.  All of these are potential causes of yield and test weight losses in small grains.  The biggest ‘killer’ though is fusarium head blight (FHB)…It will produce a vomitoxin called deoxynivalenol, more commonly called DON which in high enough concentrations will cause the grain to be rejected from the market. Over the last two + weeks, I’ve received a lot of samples or pictures which have demonstrated widespread infection of FHB.  As I stop and look at fields, it is evident that FHB is the major cause of our problems and the yield loss appears to be substantial.  Additionally, rye, barley and triticale are also affected by the disease.

Fusarium Head Blight

Fusarium Head Blight

The wheat fields that I have visited appear to have a 50+% loss. it is easy to see the shriveled, affected grains. Upon separation, the shriveled grains accounted for 50 to 65 % of the total grain set on the heads.  In most cases, even where growers applied two fungicide applications, yield loss from FHB is still high. I had hoped that we got by without much infection, but rain saturated the fields that flowered earlier as well as those that were still flowering, leading to considerable infection rates. Unfortunately, we can’t spray by air when it’s raining, misty or foggy…..which is the time we see high rates of infection.  You may read that Prosario , Proline , and others listed as preferred fungicides however, they are not 100% effective and by some accounts only 60 to 70%.

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Stagnospora Glume Blotch

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Here are the symptoms on heads are from stagosnospora (formely known as Septoria) glume blotch on triticale. We will see dark brown or purple lesions form on the heads. Lesions are often more intense at the top of the flume, with brown blotches or streaks going down to the base of the spikelet. The central stem is often not affected. UGA Extension Grain Pathologist Dr. Alfredo Martinez says, “Stagonospora  usually diminish as temperatures warm up drastically or if dry periods occur. Strobilurin and triazole fungicides are highly efficacious in controlling the disease.”

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Stagnospora Glume Blotch

I also saw spores from Pyrenophora or Helminthosporium causing Tan Spot (Yellow leaf spot or Blotch). Dr. Martinez says , “This disease is more problematic in susceptible varieties, poor fertility and in fields with wheat residue left on soil surface. Initial infections come from diseased crop debris in the soil, or from diseased grass hosts. Usually the lower leaves are infected first, and the disease progresses to the upper leaves and leaf sheaths if conditions are favorable. This disease develops over a wide range of temperatures and is favored by long periods of dew or rain. Crop rotation with non-host crops reduces the severity of tan spot. Seed treatment seem to be effective in reducing the disease. Fungicides applied timely are effective in reducing the disease severity and improving yield.”

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Grain Development In Wheat

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All wheat in Thomas County is heading and most if not all has been sprayed with fungicide. We want to protect the head and the flag leaf for disease, especially rust. Our wheat is in the Feekes 11.0 growth stage where the kernel is ripening. The grain fill period can last from 30 – 50 days depending on stress of environment. A low stress and high yield environment, it will take closer to 50 days.

Fusarium Head Blight

Last year was a bad year for Fusarium Head Blight. It infects during the flower stage, and we had wet conditions during that time last year. Wheat flowers 4 – 5 days after heading and lasts a few days. We are past flower stage now so possibility of head blight may only be for later planted or later blooming wheat. However, we are having the weather conditions that favor it, which you can see at the Fusarium Head Blight Prediction Center.


UGA Plant Pathologist Dr. Alfredo Martinez says about the use of chemical control:

“Control using fungicides can be difficult due to the specific time the fungicides need to be deployed and because selection of fungicides labeled for FHB is limited. Timing of fungicide applications is crucial for the control of FHB. Foliar sprays must be applied at the first sign of anthers extruding from the wheat (anthesis). Triazoles work best when applied right before or at early flowering on the main stem heads. The use of nozzles that provide good coverage of the spike is essential for proper disease management. The fungicides labeled for FHB disease-suppression only are listed in Table 3.″


Leaf And Glume Blotch

This is another disease wheat can have during grain development. I wanted to share some pictures from Terrell County Ag Agent Nick McGhee he has seen on the Alabama line. Here is an excerpt from the UGA Wheat Production Guide:

Lesions (spots) are initially water-soaked and then become dry, yellow, and finally brown. Lesions are generally oblong, sometimes containing small black spore producing structures called pycnidia. The lesions are often surrounded by a yellow halo. Lower leaves are generally more heavily infected, with lesions joining together to cause entire leaves to turn brown and die. If pycnidia are present on lower leaves when the uppermost leaf and the head begin to emerge, infective spores will move to the top of the plant in splashing rain even after a brief shower. Symptoms may not appear for 10-15 days on the top leaves or glumes on the head. By the time lesions are seen on the head, it is too late for effective fungicide use. Therefore, it is important to examine the lower leaves for lesions when making decisions about fungicide application, not just the top leaves. Lesions are first tan or brown on the upper portion of the glume while the lower part remains green. As the head matures, it becomes purplish to black in appearance from glume blotch. Leaf and glume blotch can reduce yield as much as 20% and reduce test weight due to grain shriveling even when disease severity is low.

Leaf & Glume Blotch - Photo by Nick McGhee

Leaf & Glume Blotch – Photo by Nick McGhee

Leaf & Glume Blotch - Photo by Nick McGhee

Glume Blotch – Photo by Nick McGhee


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Wheat Rust In Mitchell County

Today, Mitchell County Ag Agent Andy Shirley discovered wheat rust in Mitchell County.Wheat leaf rust is caused by the fungus Puccinia triticina. Wheat rust has the greatest effect on yield of any disease because of its ability to develop quickly in the right environment. Rust pathogens must be re-introduced each year; they do not overwinter. The detection is by scouting. We have both leaf rust and stripe rust. Leaf rust has reddish postures on the leaves that you can rub off on your finger. Stripe rust postures coalesce to form stripes between the veins of the leaf blade.

Photo by Andy Shirley

Rust postules – Photo by Andy Shirley

We will have to treat with fungicides to manage rust disease. The most important thing is to protect our flag leaves. However, wheat is only in the jointing phase now. It is best to wait as close to flag leaf to spray – if rust is not in the field. At this time, we need to be scouting our fields for rust. If rust is found, then a spray is needed – regardless of crop maturity.

A good option is to mix our chemistries for a curative and protective effect and help manage for resistance. We have triazole and strobilurin fungicides available. UGA Extension Pathologist Dr. Alfredo Martinez says, “When leaf rust has become established in a field, triazole fungicides tend to be most effective. Strobilurins have a more preventive activity and tend to be weaker if rust is already in the field. Remember that protection of the flag leaf is of essential importance for yield preservation.” A complete list of wheat fungicides, rates and specific remarks and precautions can be found on page 60 of the 2014-15 Wheat Production Guide. More information on ID and control can be found at Identification and Control of Leaf Rust in Wheat in Georgia.

Rust spores - Photo by Andy Shirley

Rust spores – Photo by Andy Shirley

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