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!
Josh Thompson, Regional Crop IPM Agent, provides a corn yield check at a farm in Jackson County this week. Photo credit: Doug Mayo
Combines began picking through corn last week, and this week the harvesting continues. Jackson County has a corn yield contest that several growers participate in. Having a yield check allows for a friendly competition, but also provides a yield comparison between different fields and hybrid variates.
Test plots of 1.25 acres or larger are harvested, weighed, and analyzed for moisture content at local peanut buying points to determine yields for the competition. Additionally, we can use this information to calibrate yield monitors in the combines. There can be quite a large difference between what the yield monitor says and what the true yield is out in the field.
Check out the video below for some of the activity this week.
The relentless rain in July had many corn growers in the Panhandle wondering if it would ever stop long enough to harvest their corn crop. Finally, growers in Jackson County have gotten some relief and have started to harvest their earliest planted fields.
Irrigated corn yields are doing very well despite the dry weather in May, however, growers don’t get too excited about potential yields until the corn is out of the field.
Dr. David Wright, UF/IFAS Agronomist reminds growers to pay attention to the moisture content prior to harvest. Grain moisture content over 24% will take considerable time to dry, depending on the type of drying system they may have. Additionally, corn left in the field is susceptible to shrinkage and weather losses.
For more information on corn grain harvest, see UGA’s website on Post-harvest Grain Management.