Tag Archive: Pastures

Fall Herbicide Applications are Best for Blackberry Control in Pastures

Fall Herbicide Applications are Best for Blackberry Control in Pastures

Fall is the best time to apply herbicides for blackberry briar control. Credit: Brent Sellers

Brent Sellers and Jay Ferrell, UF/IFAS Weed Extension Specialists

There are numerous briar or Rubus species (blackberry and dewberry) in the Southeastern U.S., many of which are found in Florida. Blackberry is common in most Florida pastures and can be overlooked for extended periods of time. However, lack of management can give rise to thickets that are difficult to control.

Control

Blackberries are difficult to control, because they are deep rooted, creeping perennials – meaning that as the roots grow, they create new above ground shoots.  The shoots, or canes, are biennial as they emerge during the current growing season followed by flowering and fruiting the following season. Their extensive root system stores massive amounts of energy, and must be entirely killed to prevent resprouting.  Controlling this large root system is very difficult, so most herbicides provide only marginal control with single applications. In order to maximize herbicide performance, a few precautions should be made.

During fruit development, energy transport is shifted away from the roots, so the herbicide will not be carried down to the roots, resulting in poor control. Credit Brent Sellers

Application Timing

Mid-summer, while most weeds are actively growing, is the time most everyone thinks about pasture weed control.  However, blackberry control can be tricky and can fail if not timed properly.

Blackberry is most sensitive to herbicides when blooming or late in the fall.  This is because the plant is actively loading energy from the leaves into the root system at these times.  Therefore, a herbicide will enter the leaf and immediately be transported to the roots where it is most effective.  However, blooming is a relatively short process that soon leads to fruiting.  During fruit development, energy transport is redirected away from the root to the fruit.  Applying a herbicide at this stage will result in the product staying in the leaves and buds with very little of it ever finding its way down to the root system.  A herbicide applied at fruiting will generally cause rapid leaf brown-out, and respouting from the root-stock will typically begin to occur within 2 to 3 months.

Another factor to be aware of is the overall weather conditions during blooming.  Dry weather causes the plant to grow more slowly.  Therefore, drought will reduce the amount of energy flow into the root system.  If herbicides are applied during drought, it is common that the leaf will die before the herbicide can be transported.  This means that as the leaf desiccates and falls to the ground, it takes much of the applied herbicide with it.

As stated previously, blackberry control in the spring can be tricky.  It is important that you spray at bloom when there is adequate soil moisture.  If conditions are dry, or plants are fruiting when you are prepared to spray, it is best to delay the application until the fall, or poor control will result.

Mowing

It is also common to mow blackberry thickets a few weeks or months prior to the herbicide application.  Mowing improves the look of the pasture, stimulates grass growth, and causes the blackberry to put on fresh new leaves prior to the herbicide application.  However, as stated earlier, it is essential that the herbicide be loaded into the rootstock to achieve effective control.  Mowing blackberry stimulates the roots to mobilize stored energy to form new canes and leaves.  This naturally causes the energy to travel from the roots to the top of the plant. Therefore, a herbicide application made at this time will not travel downward from the leaf to the roots.  Again, a top-kill, or leaf burning will occur, followed by vigorous resprouting.

If mowing has occurred, it is best to delay herbicide application for at least six months.  This allows the plant ample time to regrow and restore energy flow from leaves to roots.

Herbicide options

The most commonly used herbicide for blackberry control is triclopyr, which is the active ingredient in several herbicides, including Remedy and Pasturegard.  For years the standard use rate of 2 pt/acre of Remedy was recommended. Research at the University of Florida, however, has documented that 1 pt/acre provides similar long-term control of blackberry as 2 pt/acre. The reason for this is that a single herbicide application rarely results in complete control of the creeping root system. Since more than one application is usually necessary for complete eradication of a blackberry infestation, it is best to reduce your application rate of triclopyr to 1 pt/acre to save money for the next application that will likely be necessary. Equivalent control of blackberry with Pasturegard HL can be achieved with 24 oz/acre. An additional option in pastures not planted to bahiagrass is 0.4 oz/acre metsulfuron. Metsulfuron is a slow-acting herbicide that is extremely effective for blackberry control in Bermudagrass fields, but its use is somewaht limited as it causes severe bahiagrass injury.  Chapparral is a premixed herbicide blend of metsulfuron and aminopyrilid that also provides good control of briars in Bermudagrass fields.

Comparison of Fall versus Spring Herbicide Application for Blackberry Control

Credit: Sellers and Ferrell, UF/IFAS Research

Conclusion

Blackberry is a deep-rooted perennial that is difficult to control under the best circumstances.  Therefore, it is critical that steps be taken to maximize herbicide effectiveness.  Proper application timing and delayed mowing will not guarantee 100% blackberry control, but it will greatly improve your odds for success.  Also, it usually takes several years for a blackberry patch to become noticed as a problem. Therefore, it usually takes more than one herbicide application to eradicate blackberry in any given pasture.

For more information on this subject, use the following fact sheet link:

Blackberry and Dewberry: Biology and Control

 

PG

Author: Brent Sellers – sellersb@ufl.edu

Brent Sellers

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/09/22/fall-herbicide-applications-are-best-for-blackberry-control-in-pastures/

Perennial Peanut, A Great Choice for Panhandle Pastures and Landscapes

Perennial Peanut, A Great Choice for Panhandle Pastures and Landscapes

perennial_peanut

Figure 1: Perennial Peanut Field. Credit: Ray Bodrey, UF/IFAS.

Driving through rural parts of the Panhandle this time of year, one will find pastures with thick green canopies, exploding with the yellow-gold flowers. Perennial peanut is in bloom. This is a highly nutritional forage option for livestock, but also makes for a beautiful urban groundcover.

Perennial Peanut was introduced from Brazil in the mid 1930’s. Though a non-native, the perennial peanut has not been shown to be a nuisance nor an invasive. The plant is in the same genus as the peanut that humans consume, however, this plant is a true perennial, living year to year. Perennial peanut, Arachis glabrata, does not reproduce by seed. Therefore, wildlife, specifically birds, are unable to disburse the plant into unintended areas.

As a side note, a few perennial peanut cultivars, such as Arachis pintoi or “pinto peanut,” can be planted by seed. This species has stolons or “runners” and will produce advantageous roots at the nodes. The pinto peanut has become confused in the nursery trade with the Florida-developed perennial peanut. There has been limited research to date on how well pinto peanuts perform as groundcover. The pinto peanut is more susceptible to winter kill, insect damage, and nematodes than the cultivar Arachis glabrata.

The Florida developed perennial peanut is used mostly for hay or grazing by livestock such as horses, beef and dairy cattle, sheep and goats, as well as wildlife such as deer, rabbits, and turkeys. The most common cultivars for pastures are “Florigraze” and “Arbrook.” These cultivars were released by UF/IFAS and USDA in 1978 and in 1985. Since the release, these cultivars have also has been used in citrus groves as a cover crop as well as a ground cover in roadway medians. In Florida, it has been planted on approximately 30,000 acres.

Perennial peanut is high in nutritional value and is easily digestible by forage animals. It’s also a nitrogen fixer. Like all legumes, perennial peanut obtains its nitrogen from a bacteria associated with the plant’s root system. Therefore, it naturally adds nitrogen to the soil, reducing the amount of nitrogen fertilizer needed, if used with other crops or plants in a landscape.

Perennial peanut will reach ½ – 1 ½ feet in height. The plant is propagated using rhizomes and can be purchased as mats of sod or in containers. With its extensive root system, rhizoma perennial peanut spreads across the ground as a sod grass would perform. Perennial peanut grows best in sandy to sandy loam soils with a target soil pH of 6.0. Although, a soil range of 5.8 – 7.0 is adequate. It does require at least 30 inches of rain per year.

In home landscapes, several cultivars are available and have limited maintenance issues. “Ecoturf” and “Arblick” are the most popular cultivars used due to their lower growth and profuse flowering. These cultivars thrive in coastal areas as they are considered salt tolerant. Salt spray, drift and short term salt water flooding have little effect. Mowing is not required, but edging may be needed as the plant spreads. Weed control is the most concerning, especially during establishment. For pest management, peanut stunt virus cases have been reported. The symptoms are leaf mottling and yield depressions, but are rarely diagnosed unless the plant is under drought or nutrient stress.

All information considered, perennial peanut is a great option for Panhandle livestock producers or home landscape enthusiasts. Contact your local county extension office for more information.

Supporting information for this article can be found in the UF/IFAS EDIS publications:

Guide to Using Rhizomal Perennial Peanut in the Urban Landscape”, by Robert E. Rouse, Elan M. Miavitz and Fritz M. Roka

Rhizoma Perennial Peanut”, by M.J. Williams, Y.C. Newman and Ann Blount

Perennial Peanut: A Quick Reference”, by Yoana C. Newman, Cheryl L. Mackowiak, Ann R. Blount and Jason Ferrell

Rhizoma Perennial Peanut (Arachis glabrata) – The Perennial Peanut for Urban Conservation in Florida”, by USDA NRCS

 

PG

Author: Ray Bodrey – rbodrey@ufl.edu

Gulf County Extension Director, Agent II Agriculture, Natural Resource & Community Development

Ray Bodrey

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/09/17/perennial-peanut-a-great-choice-for-panhandle-pastures-and-landscapes-2/

Perennial Peanut, a Great Choice for Panhandle Pastures and Landscapes

Perennial Peanut, a Great Choice for Panhandle Pastures and Landscapes

Driving through rural panhandle counties this time of year, one finds pastures with thick green canopies, exploding with yellow-gold flowers. Perennial peanut is in bloom. This is a highly nutritional forage option for livestock and also makes for a beautiful urban groundcover alternative to turfgrass.

perennial_peanut

Perennial Peanut Field. Photo credit: Ray Bodrey, UF/IFAS.

Perennial peanut was introduced from Brazil in the mid 1930’s. Though a non-native, the perennial peanut has not been shown to be a nuisance nor an invasive. The plant is in the same genus as the peanut that humans consume. However, this plant is a true perennial, living year to year. Perennial peanut does produce a small seed pod. But rhizoma perennial peanut, Arachis glabrata, does not reproduce by seed. Therefore, wildlife, specifically birds, are unable to disburse the plant into unintended areas.

As a side note, few perennial peanut cultivars, such as Arachis pintoi or “pinto peanut”, can be planted by seed. This species has stolons or “runners” and will produce adventitious roots at the nodes. The pinto peanut has become confused in nursery trade with the Florida-developed perennial peanut. Limited research to date has shown how well pinto peanuts perform as groundcover. The pinto peanut is more susceptible to winter kill, insect damage and nematodes than the cultivar Arachis glabrata.

The Florida developed perennial peanut is used mostly for hay or grazing by livestock such as horses, beef & dairy cattle, sheep and goats, as well as wildlife such as deer, rabbits and turkeys. The most common cultivars for pastures are “Florigrazed” and “Arbook”. These cultivars were released by UF IFAS and USDA in 1978 and in 1985. Since the release, these cultivars have also has been used in citrus groves as a cover crop as well as a ground cover in roadway medians. In Florida, it has been planted on approximately 30,000 acres.

Perennial peanut is high in nutritional value and is easily digestible by forage animals. It’s also a nitrogen fixer. Like all legumes, perennial peanut obtains its nitrogen from a bacteria associated with the plant’s root system. Therefore, it naturally adds nitrogen to the soil, reducing the amount of fertilizer needed if used with other crops or plants in a landscape.

Perennial peanut will reach ½ – 1 ½ feet in height. The plant is propagated using rhizomes and can be purchased as mats of sod or in containers. With its extensive root system, rhizoma perennial peanut spreads across the ground as a sod grass would perform. Perennial peanut grows best in sandy to sandy loam soils with a target soil pH of 6.0 although a soil range of 5.8 – 7.0 is adequate. It requires high moisture, with at least 30 inches of rain per year.

In home landscapes, several cultivars are available and have limited maintenance issues. “Ecoturf” and “Arblick” are the most popular cultivars used due to their lower height and profuse flowering. These cultivars thrive in coastal areas as they are considered salt tolerant. Salt spray, drift and short term salt water flooding have little effect. Mowing is not required but edging may be needed as the plant spreads. Weed control is the most concerning, especially during establishment. For pest management, peanut stunt virus cases have been reported. The symptoms are leaf mottling and yield depressions, but are rarely a problem unless the plant is under drought or nutrient stress.

All information considered, perennial peanut is a great option for panhandle livestock producers or the home landscape enthusiast.

 

Supporting information for this article can be found in the UF/IFAS EDIS publications:

“Guide to Using Rhizomal Perennial Peanut in the Urban Landscape”, by Robert E. Rouse, Elan M. Miavitz and Fritz M. Roka.

“Rhizoma Perennial Peanut”, by M.J. Williams, Y.C. Newman and Ann Blount.

“Perennial Peanut: A Quick Reference”, by Yoana C. Newman, Cheryl L. Mackowiak, Ann R. Blount and Jason Ferrell.

“Plant Materials Fact Sheet: Rhizoma Perennial Peanut (Arachis glabrata) – The Perennial Peanut for Urban Conservation in Florida”, by USDA NRCS.

 

PG

Author: Ray Bodrey – rbodrey@ufl.edu

Gulf County Extension Director, Agent II Agriculture, Natural Resource & Community Development

Ray Bodrey

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/09/08/perennial-peanut-a-great-choice-for-panhandle-pastures-and-landscapes/

Grazing Weaned Calves on Bahiagrass Pastures – Key Points to Consider

Photo credit: Mariana Garcia-Ascolani

At NFREC supplemental feeders are stationed near shade to encourage feed consumption even in the heat of summer months. Photo credit: Mariana Garcia-Ascolani

Nicolas DiLorenzo and Darren Henry, UF/IFAS NFREC Beef Research Unit, Marianna

Producers across the Southeast are having to make some tough decisions this summer. The calf market has fallen off considerably, so should you sell at weaning, or should you keep your calves grazing on good pasture and sell later with some added weight? You need to consider both your resources and also your risk. If you decide to hold on to your calves after weaning, there are some things to consider before making this decision.

Cattle ranchers in the Southeast are blessed to have mild winters that allow cattle to graze winter forages that provide more than sufficient protein and energy for adequate feeder cattle weight. A considerable number of stocker operations take advantage of this opportunity to follow summer row crops with high quality annual winter forges for cattle grazing. Perennial summer pastures, however, are not as suitable for putting weight on weaned calves. There are some key points to consider with regards to the nutritional requirements of young, growing cattle.

Cattle prices are falling and that means you need to tighten your belts, so every pound you can add is important. Common pasture grasses, such as bahiagrass and Bermudagrass, are resilient and provide growing cattle a good percentage of the nutrients required for growth, but in general will not meet their total requirements.  Commonly, bahiagrass has around 8% crude protein and approximately 50% digestibility . This can make it difficult for calves, who are already stressed due to weaning, to grow and perform to their potential. Furthermore, weaned calves may face extra weather stress this summer as El Niño is moving out and La Niña is moving in.

So what are some solutions?

Supplemental feeds for growing animals are a good place to start. Growing cattle gaining two pounds per day will need a minimum of 10% crude protein (CP) and 65% total digestible nutrients (TDN). Bahiagrass provides 8% CP and 50% TDN, so supplemental feeds will be necessary to fill the deficiencies, so these weaned calves will continue gaining weight. Secondly, producers may want to consider planting some type of higher quality forage such as pearl millet or sudangrass. For more information on summer annuals, see Picking a Summer Annual Forage or Summer Annual Forage UpdateThe recommended planting dates for summer annual forages is March 15 to June 30, but they can be planted in July with good success.  These crops will grow very fast this time of year, but it will take several weeks for them to reach 20-24″ for the first grazing.

Shade is another factor often overlooked.  Weaned calves are going to be more negatively affected by heat stress than mature cattle.  Heat stress results in a reduction of forage intake and, in turn, performance.  Providing shade for weaned calves is essential for keeping their core temperature cool, so they spend more time grazing.

To summarize, if you want to hold onto your calves after weaning, your calves will need to consume enough energy and protein to support optimal growth and performance.  They will also need to stay cool enough to keep them out grazing.  By considering your resources, risks, and the nutrient demands of weaned cattle, you may be able to add value to them by holding on to them a little longer this summer before they go to market.

For more information related to this topic use the following links:

Preconditioning Calves Using Co-products

Stocker Cattle Performance and Calculated Pasture Costs

Alabama Extension Summer Stocker Budget (Excel Spreadsheet)

 

PG

Author: ndilorenzo – ndilorenzo@ufl.edu

ndilorenzo

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/07/02/grazing-weaned-calves-on-bahiagrass-pastures-key-points-to-consider/

Spiderwort: A Troublesome Weed Invading North Florida Hay Fields and Pastures

Jackson County Bermudagrass hayfield with spiderwort encroaching from near road right-of-way. Photo credit: Doug Mayo

Bermudagrass hayfield with spiderwort spreading from infested road right-of-way in Jackson County. Photo credit: Doug Mayo

Michael Durham, Jason Ferrell, and Brent Sellers
Figure 1. Spiderwort can be easily identified by its clusters of colorful flowers with three petals. Photo credit: Jay Ferrell

Figure 1. Spiderwort can be easily identified by its clusters of colorful flowers with three petals. Photo credit: Michael Durham

Spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis Raf.) is a native perennial species found throughout the eastern half of the U.S.  It has a large, fleshy stem with leaves that are long and grass-like.  The flowers have three petals about 1/2″ wide and 3/4″ long which are typically purple to pink in color and occur in dense clusters.  Spiderwort emerges in early spring, flowers in March-April, and then produces seed through mid-summer.

Spiderwort is problematic in grazing systems because it is largely avoided by cattle. Additionally, the large, fleshy stem also makes this plant an issue in hay production.  When cut with a grass forage, spiderwort does not dry at the same rate as the grass and can cause spoilage when the hay is baled.

Control

Experiments were conducted in High Springs, Florida to compare the activity of commonly used pasture herbicides on fully emerged and flowering spiderwort.  All herbicides were applied with crop oil concentrate (COC) at 1% v/v.

Spiderwort response to all herbicides was similar at 1 week after treatment (WAT) and control was less than 50% (Table 1). Triclopyr resulted in 86% control while very little change was noted from all other herbicides at 4 WAT.  Triclopyr exhibited excellent control (95%) at 8 WAT, while the other treatments remained at 50% or less.  Control of spiderwort by triclopyr began to decline shortly after 8 WAT (data not shown), and spiderwort re-established in all plots.

Ferrell Table 1 SpiderwortConclusion

Figure 2. Control of spiderwort is made difficult because of its large root crown that provides reserves for regrowth after canopy burn-down. Photo credit: Jay Ferrell

Figure 2. Control of spiderwort is made difficult because of its large root crown that provides reserves for regrowth after canopy burn-down. Photo credit: Michael Durham

No single herbicide application was found to fully control spiderwort.  The greatest control was found when triclopyr was applied at 32 fl oz/acre. Canopy growth did not recommence in the triclopyr plots for another 4 to 6 weeks after the initial burn-down.  However, the majority of the spiderwort plants did eventually regrow in the triclopyr plots. Therefore, it is important to keep in mind that the results from triclopyr may be temporary. With this timeline in mind, producers should treat infested fields at least a month prior to cutting hay.  Fortunately, producers should have at least a month after burn-down to cut and bale their hay without experiencing any issues associated with spiderwort. It will take multiple cycles of regrowth and burn down to reduce the population in a field.  When feasible, hand removal is still the most effective control method.

 

PG

Author: jferrell – jferrell@ufl.edu

jferrell

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/04/29/spiderwort-a-troublesome-weed-invading-north-florida-hay-fields-and-pastures/

Broomsedge Infestations are Highly Visible in Fall Pastures

Goodchild broomsedge

Mature broomsedge.  Photo credit:  Melinda Brakie, USDA NRCS East Texas Plant Materials Center

It is common place now to see maturing broomsedge in our pasture and hayfields. Broomsedge bluestem (Andropogon virginicus) is not really a sedge at all, but a native grass.  It seems to shoot up overnight after being inconspicuous for most of the growing season. This clump-forming, native warm season grass turns golden brown in the fall with numerous white seed heads that are easily dispersed by the wind. The bad news is the nutritive value as livestock forage is very low which makes our pastures less productive when the broom-sedge component increases. Low fertility soils and over-grazing leads to the encroachment of broomsedge. The presence of this grass is an indicator of low pH and low phosphorus, and to some degree low potassium (potash) in your soils.  It is always wise to test your soil to confirm these deficiencies.

The majority of pasture herbicides are not effective in controlling broomsedge, without killing your desired pasture grasses. Control of broomsedge in established pastures requires using weed wiper equipment or spot treatment with glyphosate herbicides. In late summer broomsedge will begin to tower above other grasses allowing for selective control using a wicking device.  Herbicides will be most effective on healthy, actively growing plants, so avoid application during periods of extended drought, and after maturity with seed head formation.  This is the time of year to make note of the most serious infestations for treatment in the years ahead.

Of course as the name applies you can make brooms from the broomsedge to sell and subsidize the income lost from your pastures caused by this grass.  But, on a more serious note, broom-sedge does provide nesting areas for turkey and quail in forested areas. Small birds also utilize the seeds in the dormant, winter months when other seed is unavailable.

For more information:

Broomsedge Bluestem

Pasture Soil Fertility Essential to Prevent Broomsedge Infestations

Weed Management in Pastures and Rangeland

 

PG

Author: Michael Goodchild – mjgo@ufl.edu

Michael Goodchild County Extension Director Walton County (forestry)

Michael Goodchild

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2015/10/24/broomsedge-infestations-are-highly-visible-in-fall-pastures/

Fertilization Tips for Cool-Season Pastures

Cattle grazing a mixed cool-season forage pasture that includes cereal rye and crimson clover. Photo credit: Cheryl Mackowiak

Cattle grazing a mixed cool-season forage pasture that includes cereal rye and crimson clover. Photo credit: Cheryl Mackowiak

Prepare your 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 overseeded 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.

Cool-season grazing may include a combination of grasses (small grains, annual ryegrass), legumes (clovers, vetch, winter pea), and even brassicas (turnips). The legumes and brassicas tend to take up more potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, and micronutrients than grasses so make sure your pasture is adequately fertilized to support these forages. The only way to determine this is by sampling the soil and having it analyzed by a reputable lab. The soil report will provide liming and fertilizer recommendations for the forage you specify. In mixed plantings, you might request your recommendations be based upon the legume component, as the nitrogen (N) recommendation for grasses is not based upon the soil analysis, and legumes fix N. If you apply fertilizer to meet the legume needs, you will have ample fertilizer (except N) available for the grass component.

For cool-season grasses in Florida, 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.

Planting now through mid-November will ensure well-established plants with deep root systems to help capture nutrients that might leach during large rain events. Also, managing your 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 you make for your cool-season forages will be returned to you in animal gains and a healthier pasture. The root mass from winter forages will decompose in early summer, contributing organic matter and slow-release nutrients to the soil that will help support the summer pasture.

The UF/IFAS fertilization recommendations can be found online at:

UF/IFAS Standardized Fertilization Recommendations for Agronomic Crops

 

 

PG

Author: Cheryl Mackowiak – echo13@ufl.edu


http://nfrec.ifas.ufl.edu

Cheryl Mackowiak

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2015/10/24/fertilization-tips-for-cool-season-pastures/

Researchers Assessing Smutgrass Damage to Pastures with Survey

A pasture infested with smutgrass, which is not grazed by livestock and competes with improved forage grasses.

A pasture infested with smutgrass, which is not grazed by livestock, competes with improved forage grasses.

University of Florida Researchers are attempting to gather information on smutgrass in Florida.  This effort is part of a grant they received from USDA-NIFA.  This survey is being conducted to provide a basic understanding of the current status of smutgrass infestations, current management methods, and approximate economic impact on grazing lands in Florida.

The information collected from this survey will be used to conduct further research on integrated management strategies for smutgrass in perennial grass pastures.  We estimate that this survey should require less than 15 minutes to complete.  All answers are anonymous and we will make no attempt to identify respondents.

Complete the survey online:
Online Livestock Producer Smutgrass Survey

or download, print and return by fax or mail:

Printed Livestock Producer Smutgrass Survey

Thank you!

Brent Sellers, Ph.D.
Extension Weed Specialist
Range Cattle REC & Dept of Agronomy

 

PG

Author: Doug Mayo – demayo@ufl.edu

Jackson County Extension Director, Livestock & Forages Agent. My true expertise is with beef cattle and pasture management, but I can assist with information on other livestock species, as well as recreational fish ponds.
http://jackson.ifas.ufl.edu

Doug Mayo

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2015/09/19/researchers-assessing-smutgrass-damage-to-pastures-with-survey/

Integrating Perennial Peanut into Grass Pastures

Figure 3. Rhizoma peanut + bahiagrass pastures 10 years after establishment (Photo Credit: Miguel Castillo)

Figure 3. Rhizoma peanut + bahiagrass pastures 10 years after establishment.  Photo Credit: Miguel Castillo

Jose Dubeux, University of Florida/IFAS – North Florida Research and Education Center (NFREC)

Rhizoma peanut (commonly known as perennial peanut) is a warm-season perennial legume well adapted to Florida. It has high digestibility (65-75%) and crude protein concentrations (15-20%), that can really boost livestock performance. Integrating rhizoma peanut into bahiagrass pastures can almost double livestock performance, compared to bahiagrass alone (Figure 1). Rhizoma peanut also associates with soil microorganisms and adds nitrogen to the system, reducing costs with Nitrogen (N) fertilizer. As its name suggests, this legume has a significant rhizome mass which provides tolerance to grazing and cold temperatures, overwintering well in North Florida.

Figure 1. Average daily gain (ADG) of cattle grazing bahiagrass or bahiagrass/rhizoma peanut pastures (Williams et al., 1991).

Figure 1. Average daily gain (ADG) of cattle grazing bahiagrass or bahiagrass/rhizoma peanut pastures (Williams et al., 1991).

Unfortunately, rhizoma peanut can only be propagated by planting or sprigging rhizomes. Because of all the operations involved in the planting process, establishment of this legume is expensive ($ 400-500/acre).  Researchers are investigating a way to reduce the cost by using a strip-planting technique (Figure 2). The idea is to establish the peanut over 30-50% of the area, reducing the cost accordingly. A blend of 30% rhizoma peanut in perennial grass pastures provides benefits in terms of livestock performance and biological N2-fixation. Because rhizoma peanut establishment is slow, grass strips could be used to produce hay during the establishment period. Thus, strip width should match planting and harvesting equipment width. Likewise, rhizoma peanut strips should match the width of commercially available spriggers, which range from 8-9 ft. wide.

Figure 2. Strip-planting of rhizoma peanut (Arachis glabrata Benth.) into Argentine bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum Flugge); Marianna, FL. Photo credits: Jose Dubeux, UF/IFAS – NFREC

Figure 2. Strip-planting of rhizoma peanut (Arachis glabrata Benth.) into Argentine bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum Flugge); Marianna, FL. Photo credits: Jose Dubeux, UF/IFAS – NFREC

During the establishment year, it is critical to keep the weeds out of the legume strip. Keeping the bahiagrass and rhizoma peanut in different strips during the establishment year allows the application of herbicides on the legume strip without damaging the bahiagrass stand. Herbicides labeld for use on rhizoma peanut are described in Weed Control in Perennial Peanut

It is also important to properly fertilize the rhizoma peanut strip during establishment. In the first years, the peanut is building up its rhizome mass, which represents the greatest proportion of biomass of this legume. Application of P, K, S, micronutrients, and N during the establishment phase will help to improve rhizoma peanut establishment. Care must be taken during the establishment year. Research results indicate that rhizoma peanut should not be grazed during the first two seasons, when it is still building its rhizome mass. Recent estimates of biological N2-fixation showed that rhizoma peanut varieties fixed between 110-190 lbs N/acre annually, depending on the variety. If we assume an average annual fixation of 150 lbs N/acre, this would represent an annual savings in $ 120 per acre in N fertilizer. If using the strip-planting approach and 50% of the land is planted, the contribution would still be significant ($ 60/acre). It is important to mention that rhizoma peanut spreads into the grass strips and in the long-term, the grass-legume mixture will occupy the entire area (Figure 3 above).

Take Home Message:

Integrating rhizoma peanut into livestock production systems will bring numerous benefits such as biological N2-fixation and improved cattle performance. Using the strip-planting approach reduces establishment costs and grass strips can be used during the establishment years for hay production. In the long-term, producers will have the benefits provided by the grass-legume mixture in the entire pasture area.

 

PG

Author: dubeux – dubeux@ufl.edu

dubeux

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2015/06/19/integrating-perennial-peanut-into-grass-pastures/

Bee Pastures Supplement Hive Nutrition and Enhance Honey Production

Bee Balm Compressed

Bee Balm (purple flower) and Partridge Pea (yellow flower in background) are two of the many types of plants to consider planting in a Bee Pasture. Bee Pastures can help increase the abundance and health of honey bees and native pollinators. Photo by Judy Ludlow

Introduction and Background

I am willing to bet that a great percentage of people in the US rarely give honeybees and other pollinators a second thought as to their importance to our nation’s food supply. I am also willing to bet that an even smaller percentage consider honey bees a type of livestock!  According to the recently released UF/IFAS publication Minimizing Honey Bee Exposure to Pesticides, however,

The western honey bee is conceivably the most important pollinator in Florida and American agricultural landscapes. The honey bee is credited with approximately 85% of the pollinating activity necessary to supply about one-quarter to one-third of the nation’s food supply. Over 50 major crops in the United States and at least 13 in Florida either depend on honey bees for pollination or produce more abundantly when honey bees are plentiful. Rental of honey bee colonies for pollination purposes is a highly demanded service and a viable component of commercial beekeeping and agriculture. Bee colonies are moved extensively across the country for use in multiple crops every year. There are also over 3,000 registered beekeepers in Florida, managing a total of more than 400,000 honey bee colonies and producing between 10–20 million pounds of honey annually.

Additionally, in 2014, the President of the United States signed a n official Memorandum entitled: Creating a Federal Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators  which outlines specific steps needed to increase and improve pollinator habitat. These steps are geared towards protecting and restoring populations of not only honey bees, but native bees, birds, bats, and butterflies all of which are vital to our nation’s economy, food production, and environmental health.

Once thought of as a minor industry, limited to a few major producers, the beekeeping industry is growing by leaps and bounds in Florida. David Westervelt, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Bureau of Plant and Apiary Inspection Assistant Chief, recently stated that his office registers an average of 15-20 new beekeepers each week. Additionally, the recent USDA Honey Production Report stated 2014 was a good year for US beekeepers with both record high prices and also an increase in total production.

Yet, even with this growth in the beekeeping industry, the national “herd” of beehives is still almost half of what it was in 1970. Today, beekeepers face many challenges from a myriad of pests, diseases, and environmental threats against which they must constantly manage to keep from losing their hives.

Bee Pasture Considerations

Whether or not you are a beekeeper, you can help increase the abundance and health of honey bees and native pollinators by creating nectar and pollen rich bee pastures. These pastures can be filled with annual plants, which grow from seed each year, perennial plants, which return and spread on their own each year, various flowering shrubs and trees, or any mixture of above. You can also manage existing natural areas and woodlands by employing recommended prescribed fire regimes, non-native invasive plant control, and other practices to encourage a diversity of native pollinator plants.

The ideal bee pasture is one in which flowers are blooming as continuously as possible throughout the year. Research shows bees thrive best in open sunny pastures that are as large as possible, with a diversity of plants types. While flowering shrubs along woodland edges are well used by bees, a bee pasture that is allowed to become dominated by trees and shade will become less attractive to bees. A dedicated, open, sunny pasture having nectar and pollen plant diversity is best.

Just as with any field you intend to plant, the first step is to collect a soil sample for analysis of existing nutrients and pH levels. (For more information on soil samples read the article Soil Test First!) Know your objectives and research the types of plants to use, as well as the costs of planting, purchasing seed, cultivating, weed management, and fertilizing.

Pollinator Plant Types

There are many plants that provide nutritious nectar and pollen for north Florida’s pollinators. Some examples of plants which are good pollinator food sources are maple trees, redbuds, poplars, gallberries, blackberries, palmettos, swamp ti-ti, partridge pea, mint, thistles, goldenrod, asters, tickseeds, sunflowers, squash, melons, and clovers. If you purchase a bee pasture blend from a seed company, make sure it is suited for growing in north Florida and does not contain noxious, invasive, weedy plant species. The Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council maintains a listing of documented invasive plants here: List of Invasive Plant Species.

Summary and Resources

The business, biology, and botany of pollination is fascinating and also critical to sustainable and diverse food production in Florida and the United States. Consider turning your fallow agricultural lands or backyards into productive bee pasture and reap a sweet harvest.

For more information on this topic and beekeeping please see the resources below:

Florida’s Climate and Its Beekeeping

Pollination: Establishing a Bee Pasture

Pollination: Plants for Year-round Bee Forage

Beekeeping in the Panhandle

New Steps to Protect Pollinators, Critical Contributors to Our Nation’s Economy

Presidential Memorandum- Signing for Pollinators

Ayers and Harman Honey Bee Forage Map

 

PG

Author: Judy Ludlow – judy.ludlow@ufl.edu

Judy Ludlow is the Agriculture and Natural Resource Agent in Calhoun County, Florida

Judy Ludlow

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2015/04/11/bee-pastures-supplement-hive-nutrition-and-enhance-honey-production/

Older posts «