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Midsummer/Fall Management: Forage Production

August 22, 2019

Announcer: Farm and Family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Amy Myers: Today we're talking about mid-summer and fall management for forage production. Hello, I'm Amy Myers, and welcome to farm and family. Today we're speaking with Dr. Rocky Lemus, Mississippi State University Extension Forage Specialist.

Rocky, it has been a very wet couple of months. How has this impacted hay production?

Dr. Rocky Lemus: Amy, there have been a large impact on forage production that has limited by number of hay carts that we usually see this time of the year. Some producers are still in the first cart, while others are in the second cart. This has impacted forage quality. We have reached the peak of summer's forage production, and usually, hay yields tend to be lower in August and September. It is important that producers start assessing their hay inventory, and making sure they have enough hay store to feed the livestock, along with surplus for winter feeding. It might be issue to start off thinking about buying hay now, as you need to have that, instead of waiting until the fall and winter when demand increases along with hay prices.

Amy Myers: So how have pests and disease incidents impacted forage production this summer?

Dr. Rocky Lemus: This summer we are seeing an increase in disease and pest pressure. For example, there's an increase in leaf spot disease in Bahiagrass. Also, we have seen some frequent cases of leaf spot disease and in stem maggot in Bermuda grass hay fields. So far, we have not seen any heavy infestations of armyworms in hay fields. We still recommend that producers do not let their guard down, and continuous counting their fields to detect any damage, [inaudible 00:01:41] recommending said insect application to minimize impact in hay production by armyworms.

Amy Myers: And how can some of these diseases and past be controlled?

Dr. Rocky Lemus: At the present, there is no fungicide that are labeled for use in forage grasses, which makes it hard controlling leaf spot disease and [inaudible 00:01:58] more difficult. So removing the infected leaf is the best way to reduce the amount of inoculum in the field, and therefore the spread of the disease.

Infected grass can be grass graze out, cut for hay, cut or be moved, or the infected area might be burned if conditions allow such management. For example, for stem maggot control, it is recommended to harvest the field, to remove the bales, and to spray five to seven days after the harvest by using a low rate of a pyrethroid insecticide that are labeled for armyworm.

And four armyworm control, we recommend spraying a hay field when there is an exceed in population density of three caterpillars per square area that are one half inch in length. There are different insecticide that can be used for controlling armyworms. The June 2017 Forage Newsletter and the Mississippi State Extension website offers more detailed information.

Amy Myers: There is some preliminary information about potentially lower inventory of annual rye grass for this fall planting. How can producers be better prepared in case of a shortage?

Dr. Rocky Lemus: There are some preliminary information that the seeds production at harvesting could have a lower inventory for this coming fall. There are no precise estimates at the moment of how much or how this could affect the prices. The best recommendation is starting to plan ahead. Most producers will start preparing their fields in about four weeks. I will suggest that they contact their local [inaudible 00:03:29] provider to get a sense of what varieties will be available in their area and what the estimated retail price might be. This will allow to develop a planting management plan; how much seed is needed and the cost per acre. I always encourage producers to guess the germination and purity to calculate the value of the seed in a pure life seed basis. Sometimes local seed with poor germination and low purity doesn't mean the best investment because we might require much [inaudible 00:03:59] and [inaudible 00:03:59] to achieve a good germination establishment.

Amy Myers: If a producer would like to get more information related to annual rye grass or variety testing in general, where can they go?

Dr. Rocky Lemus: I encourage producers to look at the data generated through our Forge Variety Testing Program to get a better idea of the long term perform of these varieties and how might they perform across the state. This information can be found in the Mississippi State University Extension website under the forage section, or contact the local county extension office. Every year, we publish data related to annual rye grass, and small grains and clover production across four locations in the state. It will be beneficial to look at yield data from a location closer to the area where they reside.

Amy Myers: Thank you so much. Today we've been speaking with Dr. Rocky Lemus, Mississippi State University Extension Forage Specialist. I'm Amy Myers, and this has been Farm And Family. Have a great day.

Announcer: Farm And Family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Department: Plant and Soil Sciences

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