Wheat, oat research highlight field day

Richard Bogren, Haggard, Beatrix J, Hendrix, James, Copes, Josh, Mascagni, Jr., Henry J., Kerns, David L., Lofton, Josh, Harrison, Stephen A., Brown, Sebe, Price, III, Paul P  |  4/25/2015 12:10:15 AM

LSU AgCenter plant breeder Steve Harrison explains the differences between wheat varieties planted in AgCenter variety plots on the Macon Ridge Research Station at Winnsboro, Louisiana. (Photo by Rick Bogren)

LSU AgCenter agronomist Rick Mascagni, right, tells visitors about the planting and management plans used for the wheat variety plots at the wheat and oat field day on April 22 at the AgCenter Macon Ridge Research Station at Winnsboro, Louisiana. (Photo by Rick Bogren)

LSU AgCenter plant breeder Steve Harrison, left, explains differences among oat varieties to visitors at the wheat and oat field day on April 22, 2015 at the AgCenter Macon Ridge Research Station at Winnsboro, Louisiana. (Photo by Rick Bogren)

News Release Distributed 04/24/15

WINNSBORO, La. – Dozens of university wheat and oat varieties from university research and commercial companies were on display at the annual wheat and oat field day at the LSU AgCenter Macon Ridge Research Station Wednesday (April 22).

LSU AgCenter small grains breeder Steve Harrison walked through the plots and commented on each variety. Representatives from commercial seed companies that have varieties in the plots were given the opportunity to comment on their companies’ varieties.

Stripe rust, freeze damage and driving rains were a combination that created problems this year, Harrison said.

No fungicides were used in order to evaluate variety response to different diseases. “We identify varieties with maximum yield potential with minimum inputs so we can take ratings,” Harrison said

The plots were planted and managed by LSU AgCenter agronomist Rick Mascagni, who reviewed the planting and management history of the plots.

“We need to be able to tell you how these varieties perform,” Harrison told the audience. “We get the very best seed from the very best environment with the very best seed treatments from commercial companies with what they provide.”

Scab disease problems are growth-stage dependent, Harrison said. “We have to work on scab from a genetics perspective and from a management perspective.”

When asked about fungicides, Harrison said “systemic fungicides have become so good they do make a difference.”

Jimmy Clements with AGSouth Genetics in Albany, Georgia, said, “Fungicides are wonderful things to bring wheat yields up.”

A full seed treatment of fungicides and insecticides on commercial seed costs about $6 a bag, Clements said.

“If you’re going to grow wheat, manage it like a crop,” Harrison said.

AgCenter plant pathologist Trey Price reviewed research trials that screen varieties for resistance to fusarium head blight, which is also known as scab. The fungus also causes ear rot, stalk rot and root rot in corn.

Price rates all plots to identify resistance in different varieties. He suggested staggered planting so all the crop doesn’t mature at the same time, avoiding a total infestation of scab disease.

Maximum control from fungicides is about 50 percent and average control is about 40 percent, Price said. “Fungicide application is effective during a five-day window, so timing and coverage are critical.”

Variety selection, early planting and seed treatment help suppress Hessian fly populations early, said AgCenter entomologist David Kerns.

“Hessian fly is definitely manageable,” Kerns said. “There’s nothing you can do if your crop is infested. You have to control it on the front end.”

Stink bugs live in ryegrass and can move into wheat fields as the crop grows, said AgCenter entomologist Sebe Brown. Growers should be aware of the “edge effect” where the insects congregate on the edge of a field and don’t necessarily move farther in.

AgCenter research associate Josh Copes said Italian ryegrass control in wheat can be difficult, especially with plants that are resistant to ALS herbicides.

“Italian ryegrass is believed to have a greater potential to develop herbicide resistance than Palmer amaranth,” Copes said. “As with any weed, it is important to start clean, and managing Italian ryegrass is no different.”

Because most populations of Italian ryegrass in Louisiana are resistant to the herbicide glyphosate, paraquat is the only herbicide for control of emerged Italian ryegrass at planting.

Copes recommended using fall-applied residual herbicides but to avoid using Axial HL. Using fall-applied residual herbicides targeted for Italian ryegrass control will help preserve the effectiveness of Axial HL, he said.

AgCenter soil specialist Beatrix Haggard and James Hendrix, an AgCenter area agent with the Louisiana Master Farmer Program, talked about filter strips for erosion control research supported by a conservation innovation grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Although the results haven’t been analyzed, spin ditches planted with cereal rye or wheat appear to have captured soil that otherwise would have been carried away in runoff water.

AgCenter agronomist Josh Lofton showed examples of wheat plants that had different treatments of nitrogen fertilizers with and without nitrogen inhibitors. The results show urease inhibitors helped produce stronger plants.

Lofton also said he’s seeing sulfur deficiency in wheat. Applying part of the nitrogen as ammonium sulfate also provides sulfur for double-cropped soybeans.

Farmer Jay Hardwick, of Newellton, who grows wheat and soybeans double-cropped as well as corn, grain sorghum and cotton on about 10,000 acres, attended the field day with his sons.

“We try to keep a ratio of the crops we grow, and wheat has been profitable,” Hardwick said.

Variety development from the AgCenter gives us “a resource we can’t afford to lose,” he said. “It’s a rich resource. We need access to their information to make the best decisions we can.”

The annual field day was the first of many that will be held during the year at AgCenter research stations throughout Louisiana to provide farmers and other industry personnel with the latest information from research plots and fields.

“Much of our work is involved with commercial variety evaluation,” said Rogers Leonard, LSU AgCenter program leader for crops and soils.

Following the field tours, the AgCenter Master Farmer program conducted a prescribed burning workshop in conjunction with the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry in the afternoon.

Rick Bogren
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