Success in establishment of a pasture or grazing system will be determined in large part by how much planning and preparation will be invested. One must take the time to develop objectives and to understand soil, plant, animal and environmental resources. Time and effort invested before and during establishment will greatly increase chances for later success. If a serious mistake is made it will usually be made between the time the decision is made to establish a forage stand and when the planter is pulled out of the field. Order your copy of Forage-Livestock Quotes and Concepts here.
Forage grasses, including crabgrass, can be affected by a fungal disease caused Helminthosporium leaf spot. Symptoms of this disease vary by grass species and are usually observed when leaf lesions are mature, causing round to oval, gray to tan lesions surrounded by a dark halo. Younger lesions may be darker with a yellow halo, depending on grass species. Affected leaves can turn yellow or brown, and severe infection can cause plants to die and cause thin stands.
The fungi that cause Helminthosporium leaf spot survive on grass residue, crop debris, and can also be seed-borne. Fields that have thick thatch layers will be at greater risk for infection and disease development. Wet weather also favors disease development, and the disease will establish and spread more quickly with frequent rainfall.
Management of this disease is not always needed but there are several ways to minimize disease impact. Maintain adequate fertility and avoid over-fertilizing with nitrogen. Timely mowing or grazing to the recommended height will also reduce disease impact. When establishing a new forage stand, select varieties with good disease resistance packages and seed at recommended rates. No fungicides are currently labeled for use on Helminthosporium leaf spot.
For more detailed information on Helminthosporium leaf spots on various forage grasses, see the following University of Illinois publication: http://ipm.illinois.edu/diseases/series300/rpd309/ ~ Dr. Kiersten Wise, University of Kentucky
Grass variety tests for grazing tolerance were established in Lexington in the fall of 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. The soil at Lexington (Maury) is a well-drained silt loam and is well-suited to tall fescue, orchardgrass, and perennial ryegrass production. All forage variety trials for Kentucky can be found here.
The Kentucky Grazing School will be held on September 27-28, 2017 at the Woodford County Extension office and the Oran C. Little Research Center in Versailles, KY. This two day program includes hands-on exercises, such as building temporary paddocks and watering systems, and assessing pasture production. Classroom discussions will cover topics including forages, animal management, and grazing systems. Enrollment is limited, so apply early. Past participants range from new to experienced grazers and all have gained new information and skills to implement on their operations. Pre-register for the grazing school as enrollment is limited to the first 45. The $50.00 registration fee includes all materials, grazing manuals, breaks, and lunch both days. Partially funded through the Governor’s Office of Agriculture Policy. For more information, contact Zach Workman, 859-257-7512, Zewo222@uky.edu or visit the UK Forage Website.
Tim Taylor will host the 2017 Kentucky Forage and Grassland Council Annual Field Day Mon, August 7th on his farm in Daviess County. Registration begins at 4:45 with Farm tour and Educational sessions at 5:30 and a meal at 7:30. Topics include Grazing Corn, Annual Forage Systems, Pasture Re-Establishment and Maximizing Beef Profit Per Acre. Farm address is 8706 Hwy 81, Owensboro, KY To register, call 270-685-8480.
The 71st Southern Pasture and Forage Crop Improvement Conference (SPFCIC) was held June 5 to 7 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Hosted by the University of Tennessee’s Institute of Agriculture, this program featured presentations and discussion on drought, climate resilient forage systems as well as soil health. Access the proceedings online here.
The meeting featured a poster sharing session from research and extension specialists in the southern region. UK and UT presented a poster summarizing preliminary results of an Organic Dairy Forage Production study currently underway in both states.
Faculty, students and staff of UT Knoxville arranged an educational tour of establishment, management, and benefits of native warm season grasses. Participants were able to tour a commercial bioprocessing facility as well as research farms that were utilizing and studying native grasses.
The 50 participants included representatives from southern region universities, county extension and industry. The 2018 conference will be in early summer in Fayetteville, Arkansas. ~ Dr. Jimmy Henning