This fall several growers in the Panhandle and South Georgia contracted with a company out of Canada called Agrisoma to grow Carinata. Carinata is an oilseed crop that can be used for producing jet fuel, that also has potential for being grown in the South. See Dr. Jim Marois’ post titled Ethiopian Mustard: a New Crop for the Panhandle.
A few weeks ago, we worked with a couple growers on calibrating the small seed box on their grain drills (see picture below). Since the seed are so small, the planting rate is only about 6 pounds per acre. In order to plant rows 14 inches apart, the grower had to block every other hole.The rate is similar for canola, so after a few test runs, the planter was set right. For specific instructions on how to calibrate a grain drill see: Drill Calibration.
Calibrating the small seed box on a grain drill.
Several growers planted right before a 4 inch rain back in November, resulting in crusted soil and a poor stand. Those growers replanted and now the crop is just starting to come up. Driving by on the highway you still can’t see anything growing. Its not until you stand in the field and look straight down that you can see the carinata starting to come up. The crop still has a long way to go, but if farmers can get a good stand, there’s still time to produce a good yield.
Carinata just starting to come up
Variety selection is one of the most important decisions in small grains production. Growers should choose varieties with a high yield potential and good disease resistance. Seed weights vary from year-to-year among varieties because of the variations in growing conditions, however, planting seeds with low test weights can significantly reduce yields.
Table 1. Excerpts from the UGA, 2013-2014 Wheat Performance Test — Tifton, GA.
Wheat should be planted into a well prepared seedbed or, if using a no-till drill, may be directly planted without tillage. Small grain roots can be easily inhibited by hardpans or plow layers, so deep tillage may be necessary if hardpans exist in a field.
The optimum time to plant small grains for grain production in North Florida is November 7 – December 15. It is important to plant full-season varieties in the early part of the range to ensure the crop receives enough cool weather to properly vernalize. Insufficient vernalization will reduce seed head formation. Additionally, do not plant early season varieties at the beginning of the planting window as they may head out too early and be damaged by a late frost.
Seeding rates for various small grains are similar, however there are large differences in how much a bushel of each crop and variety within a crop, weigh.
The old rule of thumb was to plant wheat at 2 bushels per acre. However, because of the major differences in seed weight among varieties, it is better to plant based on the number of seeds per square foot.
The recommended rate is to plant 30-35 seeds per square foot. If you are using a grain drill with 6 – 8 inch row spacing, this would be 18 – 23 seeds per foot of row in order to plant 30 seeds per square foot. The optimum planting depth is between 1 and 1.5 inches. Seeding rate can be increased by 10-15% if planting in December.
Table 2. Seeding rate per square foot.
||Seeds per square foot
||Seeds per linear foot
Adapted from 2013 Alabama Winter Wheat Production Guide
Nitrogen (N) is a key nutrient for grain production. A pre-plant application of 20-30 lbs. N per acre followed by 70-90 lbs. applied around Feekes 3 (generally occurs between the last week of Jan. and first 10 days of Feb.) produces good yields. On sandier soils it may be beneficial to use split applications, applying 60 lbs. of N in late January, followed by another 40-60 lbs. in mid to late February.
Late applications of N (stem elongation or later) generally do not increase yield but can lower test weights and increase foliar disease. Total N applications over 120 lbs./acre have not been shown to be beneficial and can increase lodging, reduce grain quality, and delay maturity.
Sulfur (S) applications may increase yields on sandier soils, where S is not as available. Top- dressing 15-20 lbs./acre with N should be adequate.
Phosphorous (P) and Potassium (K) are essential for high grain yields. A soil test is the most accurate method to determine P and K requirements. The majority of plant uptake for these nutrients occurs early in the plant’s development, therefore, it is important that these nutrients be applied at planting.
Lime should be applied prior to planting to achieve the target pH of 6.0.
Planting into a weed-free seed bed is essential to establishing a stand of small grains. The best way to accomplish this is with tillage or burn-down herbicide applications. Additionally, there are several herbicides that can be used once the crop has emerged, but most must be applied early in the season, before jointing occurs.
Wheat and other small grains can be injured by some herbicides if they are not applied during the correct growth stage or at the correct rate. See the table below for the effectiveness of various herbicides on winter weeds (click on the table to enlarge).
Table 3. Weed Response to Broadleaf Herbicides Used in Wheat.
The Feekes scale of wheat development is a common tool used to describe the growth stage of a wheat crop. This illustration is credited to University of Kentucky Ag Extension. See below
For more information on wheat production contact your local UF/IFAS Extension Agent.
It’s the beginning of November, and so far the weather conditions have been great for harvesting peanuts and cotton. In Jackson and surrounding counties, peanut harvest is wrapping up and cotton harvest is in full swing. Yields have been variable across the region. Irrigated crops have had good to excellent yields, while some non-irrigated fields have been very poor, with a few having to be abandoned.
Overall this would have been a good year for peanut and cotton farmers, if the prices had not been so depressed. Although the economic outlook does not look good for commodity prices, farmers are doing what it takes to get the crop in and are staying optimistic about what the future holds.
Take a look at some harvest video from the variety trials at MacArthur Farms and J&G Farms in Jackson County. We appreciate their support!
The white sugar cane aphid is new, devastating pest this year in Florida sorghum. It has moved in from Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and has been a major problem in Alabama and Georgia as well. For more information about the aphid, see White Sugarcane Aphid Spreading Across North Florida.
The only labeled treatments up until this week have been dimethoate and Lorsban (chlorpyrifos), neither of which have been providing adequate control of the white sugarcane aphid.
The EPA recently issued a Section 18 Emergency Exemption for the use of Transform WG (sulfoxaflor) in forage sorghum in Florida. Growers must follow the Transform Section 18 label guidelines for the product. Farmers may be familiar with Transform because it has a label for use in cotton for aphid control. The Section 18 will expire in December of this year, however, there is a chance there will be a supplemental label for continued use of this product in sorghum.
The use rate for Transform is 0.75 – 1.5 oz./acre with a max use of 3 oz./acre/year. Some extension specialists are recommending 2 applications of 1 oz. to adequately control white sugar cane aphids in sorghum.
Much thanks to Mace Bauer, Columbia County Extension and Dr. Gregg Nuessly, IFAS Entomologist, for spear-heading the effort to obtain the Section 18 exemption. For more information on controlling white sugar cane aphids in sorghum, contact your local UF/IFAS Extension Agent.
White Sugarcane Aphid damage in sorghum in Columbia County. Photo credit: Mace Bauer
A field in Jackson County with root-knot nematode damage all the way across. Photo: Josh Thompson
A hot and dry summer for many Panhandle farmers has given no relief from pests this year. Peanut root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne arenaria) are no an exception. Damage from nematodes has been severe in many areas of Jackson County where the fields are very sandy.
Root-knot nematode damage is more apparent in hot and dry years, and in fields where their numbers are highest. Growing peanuts 2 or more years in a row greatly increases the populations of root-knot nematodes. However, nematodes can still be severe even with good crop rotation, as is the case this year in Jackson County.
Sometimes, affects from nematodes go unnoticed, since they can look similar to and occur at the same time as some diseases like white mold and rhizoctonia. See the pictures of nematode infection that follow.
When peanuts are on at least a 3 year rotation, the only other effective control is to fumigate with Telone II or to plant Tifguard, a root-knot nematode resistant variety. For more information: Peanut Nematode Management.
Combination of white mold and root-knot nematode damage. Photo: Josh Thompson
Galling from root-knot nematode on pods and pegs. Photo: Josh Thompson
White mold sclerotia at the base of a peanut plant. Photo: Josh Thompson