Posts Tagged ‘Maine Grain and Oilseed Newsletter’

Maine Grain and Oilseed Newsletter, September 2013

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

field of ripe grain

This has been a frustrating harvest and fall sowing season to date due to the uncooperative weather we’ve all been experiencing. Reviewing weather data from Caribou, Maine for the season, we are significantly above normal for precipitation for the growing season, and through the harvest/fall sowing period of August 15-September 15, the longest consecutive stretch of days without precipitation was three days. The September issue of the Maine Grain and Oilseed Newsletter contains helpful articles about “Late Planting Fall Grains” and “Cover Crops to Protect Soils and Improve Crop Quality.”

Maine Grain and Oilseed Newsletter, August 2013

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

field of ripe grain

Harvest season is upon us. It has been a difficult growing season for some grains and not too bad for others. Looking at some fields around, it appears to have been a fair to moderate season for most in terms of grain quality and quantity. The August issue of the Maine Grain and Oilseed Newsletter contains helpful articles about “Harvesting Wheat and the Falling Number Test” and “Harvest Efficiency and Combine Adjustment” to help you as you start your grain harvest activities.

Maine Grain and Oilseed Newsletter — June 2013

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

field of ripe grain

Vol. 1 No. 3

57 Houlton Road, Presque Isle, ME 04769
207.764.3361 or 1.800.287.1462
extension.umaine.edu/aroostook

Dear Grower,

In consideration of the weather we’ve had for sowing spring cereal crops, this issue will address some important tools in which to help manage your crops. With the alternating wet and dry spells much of us have experienced during planting season, the result has been several different distinct planting periods. Most crop management practices rely upon the crop being in a certain developmental stage in which to achieve maximum benefit. Being able to identify these stages will be important this year as much of our crop will likely differ in developmental maturity for much of the remainder of the season. As a note, many early planted small grain fields are showing signs of nitrogen deficiency; a likely result of delayed emergence and excessive rainfall. Growers are encouraged to consider top-dressing a nitrogen source to supplement the remaining nitrogen should fields be displaying symptoms of deficiency.

If you are interested in growing organic grains, see the Organic Grain Twilight Meeting and BBQ, July 9, at the Aroostook Research Farm.

Sincerely,
Andrew Plant, Extension Agriculture Educator
Ellen Mallory, Sustainable Ag. Specialist


Staging Cereal Grains

Ellen Mallory, Sustainable Agriculture Specialist, UMaine Extension

Many management practices for cereal grains, such as tine harrowing for weed control and topdressing nitrogen to boost grain protein, require the crop to be in a particular developmental stage to be most effective. A number of numeric scales have been developed to describe the growth stages of cereal grains. The most commonly used scale is the Feekes scale, which divides the life of the plant from emergence of the first leaf through grain ripening into eleven developmental stages (Figure 1). The heading and ripening stages are then subdivided for greater detail.

Figure 1. Growth Stages of Cereals

Illustration of Feekes Scale. Seedling: Stage 1 one shoot. Tillering: Stage 2 tillering begins; Stage 3 tillers formed; Stage 4 leaf-sheaths lengthen; Stage 5 leaf-sheaths strongly erected. Stem Extension -- Jointing: Stage 6 first node of stem visible; Stage 7 second node of stem visible; Stage 8 last leaf just visible. Stem Extension -- Boot: Stage 9 ligule of last leaf; Stage 10 in "boot". Heading: Stage 10.1; Stage 10.5 flowering. Ripening: Stage 11.

B. Curran and D. Lingenfelter, cords., The Penn State Agronomy Guide (University Park: Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, 2013).

Developmental Stages (Feekes Scale) and Associated Management Practices

Feekes 1 – Emergence and First leaf
This phase begins with the emergence of the first leaf and ends when tillering begins, usually after 3-4 leaves have emerged from the main stem. At this stage, check plants for uniform emergence and plant stands. If weeds will be managed with tine harrowing (i.e. Lely or Kovar), harrow either before the plants emerge (before Feekes 1) or after plants have 2-3 leaves, or at both times. Do not harrow when the plants have only 1-2 leaves because they are easily dislodged or buried. If managing weeds with herbicides, this is a good time to assess weed pressure.

Feekes 2-3 – Tillering
The main shoots of cereals produce side shoots called tillers. Each tiller can develop into a stem with a seed head although it is common for some tillers to die depending on growing conditions. Fall planted grains typically start tillering in the fall and resume tillering the following spring. If plant stands are thin in early spring, consider topdressing nitrogen as early as possible to enhance tillering and increase yields.

Feekes 4-5 – Pseudo-stem grows upright
After tillering, the plant’s pseudo-stem (formed by the sheaths of the leaves) begins to lengthen and grow upright. Topressing nitrogen at this stage to increases grain protein levels and yields. This is also the time to apply many post-emergence herbicides for weed control.

Feekes 6 – Jointing begins
The plant starts to grow upward via the extension of the stem between nodes. At this stage, the first node is visible at the base of the shoot indicating that the seed head is moving up the stem. This is the cutoff stage for applying certain herbicides. It is also the stage when driving over the crop starts to cause damage because the seedhead is now above the soil surface.

Feekes 7 – Second node of stem visible
Jointing continues with the extension of the stem under the first node. Two nodes are now visible.

Feekes 8 – Flagleaf visible
The flagleaf is the last leaf to emerge and is responsible for the majority of the photosynthesis for grain fill. To determine if an emerging leaf is the flag leaf, split the leaf sheath and observe the head’s placement. If the head is visible, and no additional leaves are inside the stem, the plant is at Feekes 8. Now is the time to decide if a fungicide application is warranted to protect the flagleaf once it is fully emerged.

Feekes 9 – Ligule of flagleaf visible
At this stage, the flag leaf has fully emerged from the whorl. The flag leaf sheath will extend and the head will begin to swell.

Feekes 10 – Boot stage, heading, and flowering
The plant enters the boot stage once the head develops and is visible as a swollen area of the leaf sheath below the flagleaf. The boot stage is further divided to describe the heading and flowering process. Some important stages are:

10.0 – Boot stage
10.1 – Awns just visible, heads emerging through slit of flagleaf sheath
10.3 – Heading ½ complete
10.5 – Heading complete – heads fully emerged
10.5.1 – Beginning of flowering (wheat)
10.5.4 – Flowering complete, kernel watery ripe

Cereal grains are most susceptible to Fusarium head blight (scab) during flowering. If fungicides will be used to suppress the disease, Feekes 10.5.1 for wheat, and 10.5 for barley is the optimum time to apply them.

Feekes 11 – Ripening
11.1 – Milky ripe – kernel exudes milky liquid when squeezed
11.2 – Mealy ripe – kernel contents are soft but dry
11.3 – Kernel hard – kernel is hard to divide with thumbnail
11.4 – Kernel is ripe for cutting and straw is dead

For more information see: University of Minnesota P.M. Growth and Development Guide for Spring Barley and Growth and Development Guide for Spring Wheat. These guides include a description of another commonly used developmental scale, the Zadok scale, and compare it to the Feekes scale.


Fusarium Head Scab and Vomitoxin (DON)

Steven B. Johnson, Ph.D., Crops Specialist, UMaine Extension

Fusarium Head Scab

Fusarium Head Scab is caused the fungus Fusarium graminearum. The pathogen may infect heads of small grain (oats, rye, but most notably wheat and barley) from flowering through kernel development. The majority of the infection occurs during flowering or heading. Growing conditions with high rainfall and long periods of high humidity during grain flowering and early grain fill provide an ideal environment for the pathogen to infect small grain heads. Ripening grain fields under ideal infection conditions may show Fusarium Head Scab symptoms (photo 1). Field symptoms include premature bleaching of individual spiklets, some of the head or all of the head. Infected kernels are shriveled. Severe cases of Fusarium Head Scab may show a salmon-colored mass of the pathogen at the base of some glumes (photo 2). The disease will reduce yield and test weight (photo 3). More importantly, the pathogen produces a mycotoxin called deoxynivalenol (DON), more commonly know as vomitoxin. There are no resistant varieties but some do show more tolerance than others.

Click on the images below to view enlargements.

Grain showing Fusarium Head Scab symptoms

Photo 1

 

Severe cases of Fusarium Head Scab

Photo 2

 

healthy grains on left; smaller grains affected by Fusarium Head Scab on right

Photo 3

Weather is dominant factor in determining the threat of Fusarium graminearum infection when the pathogen is present. The dominant factor determining if the pathogen is present is the proximity to corn, especially no till or minimum till corn.

Vomitoxin

While the presence of Fusarium Head Scab does not mean the presence of vomitoxin, one can expect high levels of vomitoxin from grain with high levels of Fusarium Head Scab. Humans and animals can get sick from eating grain or grain products with vomitoxin present. Vomitoxin can cause feed refusal in animals and additional problems in lactating or breeding animals. Anyone eating or feeding grain should have the grain tested as varying end uses have varying advisory levels for vomitoxin.

Vomitoxin Levels

The Food and Drug Administration has established vomitoxin advisory levels as follows:

Finished grain products for human consumption: 1 ppm
Cattle, over 4 months old (less than 50 percent of diet): 10 ppm
Poultry (less than 50 percent of diet): 10 ppm
Swine (less than 20 percent of diet): 5 ppm
Other animals (less than 40 percent of diet): 5 ppm

Other parts of the world have these levels as statutes. They are advisory levels in the US. Market forces often demand these or lower levels of vomitoxin. A laboratory test is the only way to confirm the level of vomitoxin in grain.

Selected Barley Plant Health Medicines

There are plant health medicines to reduce Fusarium Head Scab and vomitoxin levels. These have shown more benefit under milder epidemics and they all need the addition of a NIS at a 1% v/v. The timings of the applications are critical as is the nozzle angle. For example, barley planted from May 3, 2012 to May 9, 2012 was at Feeke’s growth stage 10.3 on June 29, 2012. Barley planted from May 18, 2012 to May 24, 2012 was at Feeke’s growth stage 5 to 6 on June 29, 2012. I am working on incorporating models into predictive system to predict the risk of Fusarium Head Scab as well as the timing of control materials.

Research has shown that tilting the nozzles at 30 to 60 degree angle has drastically improved control. I would recommend this if it is at all possible. The best control was obtained with forward and reverse facing nozzles.

Net blotch
Stratego:
Stratego (7 oz/A) can be applied up to when the ligule of the flag leaf emerges. This is up to Feeke’s growth stage 8.

Head scab and Net blotch
Prosaro:
Prosaro (6.5 – 8.2 oz/A) is best applied when the heads are fully emerged. This is Feeke’s growth stage 10.5.

Data from 2011 appear in Table 1. Net returns from the application of controls for Head scab and Net blotch are in dollars per acre.

Table 1. 2011 field trials on Fusarium Head Scab control

Treatment Bu/A Net Return over Untreated
Stratego 58.4 $79.56
Prosaro 85.7 $72.94
Prosaro + Stratego 93.6 $90.39
Headline 88.3 $67.23
Copper 68.9 $14.88
Untreated 54.9 $0.00

Crop Insurance

There are crop insurance policies for mycotoxin in grain. If a grower has such a policy, they need to contact their insurance carrier as there are specific requirements as to when the grain must be sampled.


Information on this website is provided purely for educational purposes. No responsibility is assumed for any problems associated with the use of products or services mentioned. No endorsement of products or companies is intended, nor is criticism of unnamed products or companies implied.

© 2013
Published and distributed in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914, by the University of Maine and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Cooperative Extension and other agencies of the USDA provide equal opportunities in programs and employment.

Call 800.287.0274 or TDD 800.287.8957 (in Maine), or 207.581.3188, for information on publications and program offerings from University of Maine Cooperative Extension, or visit extension.umaine.edu.

The University of Maine does not discriminate on the grounds of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, including transgender status and gender expression, national origin, citizenship status, age, disability, genetic information or veteran’s status in employment, education, and all other programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies: Director, Office of Equal Opportunity, 101 North Stevens Hall, 207.581.1226.

Maine Grain and Oilseed Newsletter — April 2013 (No. 2)

Monday, April 29th, 2013

field of ripe grain

Vol. 1 No. 2

57 Houlton Road, Presque Isle, ME 04769
207.764.3361 or 1.800.287.1462
extension.umaine.edu/aroostook

Dear Grower,

With planting season upon us in some parts of the state and quickly approaching in others, we wanted to get a couple more topics out to you, hence the mailing of our second newsletter only a week behind our first.

This newsletter contains information on seeding rates and grain drill calibration, aphid management, and a synopsis of UMaine field research and demonstration events for the upcoming season. We hope you will find this information useful.

Sincerely,

Andrew Plant, Extension Ag. Educator
Ellen Mallory, Sustainable Ag. Specialist


Achieving Proper Seeding Rates for Small Grains and Oilseeds

Andrew Plant, Extension Agriculture Educator, UMaine Extension

Planting small grains and oilseed crops properly and on-time can produce a target population density that maximizes growth and cost efficiencies.  Crop seeding rates can vary significantly owing to a number of different factors, including but not limited to variety, growing season, location, fertilization, quality of cleaning, and seed treatment use.  Because of all these variables and their effects upon seed size, test weight, and vigor, it is not feasible to plant small grains simply based upon a bushels/acre seeding rate.  Instead, seeding rates should be based upon crop-appropriate target populations, as can be seen in Table 1.  There are several variables that farmers can account for when attempting to achieve these populations:  seed viability (germination), historic stand loss of fields, number of seeds per pound, and grain drill operation (1).

Table 1.  Target Population Densities for Selected Small Grains and Oilseed Crops.

Crop Plant Population Target*
Winter Wheat 0.90–1.00 million/acre
Spring Wheat 1.30–1.40 million/acre
Barley 1.25–1.30 million/acre
Oats 1.25–1.30 million/acre
Canola 0.3–0.6 million/acre
Soybean 0.13–0.175 million/acre

*Rates listed are typical for conventional production.  For organic production, it is recommended to increase these rates by a range of 15%-25%.

By taking some simple measurements and using some basic math, you can determine an estimate of the proper seeding rate for your small grain and oilseed crops. 

Tools:

  • Jack
  • Buckets
  • Tarp/plastic
  • Tape measure
  • Scales
  • Calculator
  • Grain drill manual

Determining Seeding Rates:

In general, optimum planting dates for small grains in this part of Maine occur from roughly April 23 through May 8.  To account for the decreased potential for tillering of small grains after this date, growers should increase their population targets by 1% for each day past May 8, up to a maximum of 1.6 million plants/ acre.  Given the late start to our 2013 season, this rule should likely come into play.  Past June 1, small grain growers should consider changing mindsets from one of harvesting a grain crop to one of producing a green manure plow-down.  Oilseed crops do not follow the same general rule.  Instead, planting should occur when soil temperatures reach a minimum of 40°F for canola or 50°F for soybeans. 

The formula below depicts the variables growers should use to calculate the proper seeding rates of their small grains (1).

Seeding rate (lb/ac) = (target population/(1 – % stand loss))
seeds/lb x % germination
  1. Select proper target population per acre (example wheat @ 1.5 million plants/ac, May 15 sowing).
    (1.4 million + 1% for each day past May 8) = 1.5 million plants/ac
  2. Use germination percentage printed on seed lot tag (example 90%, convert to proportion = 0.9). Or do your own germination test.
  3. Use historical stand loss of field to be planted (example 10%, convert to proportion = 0.1).
  4. Count out 1000 seed pieces and weigh them (example  1000 seeds =  1.2 oz).  This should be done for each different crop, each different variety, and each different known seed lot source.
  5. Convert to seeds per pound (example seeds/lb  =  (16/1.2)*1000= 13,333 seeds/lb).

Example: Target Seeding Rate:

(1,500,000/(1 – 0.1)) 139 lb/acre
(13,333 x 0.9)

Calibrating The Grain Drill:

  1. Determine effective width of grain drill (e.g., 13 ft).
  2. Count seed tubes (e.g., 26 tubes at 6-in spacing).
  3. Measure diameter of drive wheel tire (for example 37 in = 3.08 ft).
    Estimate 1/10 acre planting.
    1/10 acre =  43560 sq ft per acre/10 = 4356 sq ft
    4356 sq ft/13 ft (width of drill) = 335 ft (the distance the drill must travel to cover 1/10 acre)
  4. Determine the number of revolutions of the tire in 335 ft.
    (Example: Circumference of tire = pi x diameter = 3.08 ft x 3.14159 = 9.68 ft/revolution, 335/9.68= 34.6 revolutions)
  5. Set your initial drill calibrations as specified in your manual to get the seed rate you want. (e.g., 140 lb/ac)
  6. Jack up the drive wheel so that it can spin freely, mark a line on the wheel, or use the valve stem of the tire for a reference point to count the number of times you spin it.
  7. Use a 5-gallon bucket, or a tarp, to catch seed dropping out of seed tubes.  You will have to pull out seed tubes from openers and place them into buckets if checking individual tubes.  The more seed tubes you collect seed from, the more accurate your estimate will be. (Record the number of seed tubes that you sample.)
  8. Fill bin with seed (only over the seed tubes you will be using to measure).  Prime the seed tubes by spinning the drive wheel a few times unit seed starts to drop out of the tubes.
  9. Place your bucket/tarp under the tubes you will use and spin the drive wheel the number of revolutions you calculated above. (e.g., 34.6 revolutions; eyeball the 0.6.)
  10. Collect the seed from the buckets/tarp and weigh out.
    Example:  We sampled a total of 6 seed tubes and had a total weight of 3.24 lb of seed in the bucket after our 34.6 revolutions.
    3.24 lb/6 seed tubes = 0.54 lb/ seed tube x 26 seed tubes = 14.04 lb/0.1ac = multiply by 10 for lb/ac = 140.4lb/ac seeding rate.
    You probably don’t need to adjust the seeding rate.
    Repeat 1–2 more times to determine reliability of the output.  In the end, you want to be within 5% of your target seeding rate.
  11. If you need to adjust the setting on the drill, you can use a simple formula to get you closer to your target rate.
    For example, if you had the drill adjustment lever set at “20” (as that is where the manual suggested you set it), and you only got 120 lb/ac of seed, you need to set it at ”X” to get 140 lb/ac.  Use the following formula:

New setting = A
lb/ac for target = B (e.g., 140 lb/ac)
Initial setting = C (ex.20)
lb/ac at this setting = D (e.g.,  120lb/ac)
A = (B x C)/D
For this example:
A= (140 xc20)/120 = 23.33, so the new setting will be somewhere between 23 and 24, in order to get 140 lb/ac target rate.

NOTES:

  • Some drills are easier to calibrate than others, and all tend toward difficulty as they age. 
  • Prior to calibration, make sure your drill is in good working order; fix, adjust, and verify that all components are in working condition.
  • Different crops tend to differ in the way they flow in a grain drill, and some may be more difficult to calibrate. 
  • It is still important to ground-truth your calibration once you’re in the field planting.  It’s also the time to check for uniform seeding depth.  All of the small grains and soybeans should be seeded into a firm seedbed, at a depth of 1”-1.5”.  Canola, owing to its small seed size, should be planted at a depth of 0.5”-1”.
  • For those that are using fertilizer and/or grass seeding boxes to apply fertility or underseeding at planting; the same methodology described above can be used to calibrate these rates as well, and can typically be done at the same time as the grain calibration.  Just be sure to use separate catches for each component you’re calibrating.

Broadcasting: 

If you choose to utilize a broadcaster to sow your small grains, there are several considerations to take into account.  Broadcast sowings have less seed-to-soil contact than grain-drill sowings, so you will want to increase seeding rates by 10–20% over what you have calculated for a grain drill.  As well, it is important to follow the broadcasting with a light harrowing or disking of the field in order to achieve appropriate soil contact to the seed.  Uneven stands and lower yields are typical for broadcast sowings as compared to drills. 

1. Wiersma, J.J. and Ransom, J.K. The Small Grains Field Guide (North Dakota State University and University of Minnesota, 2005), 27–33.


Treating Grain Crops for Aphids?

Jim Dwyer, Crops Specialist, UMaine Extension

There has been a great deal of discussion recently in regards to the possibility of treating grain crops in order to reduce the potential of non-potato colonizing aphids from moving from grain crops to potatoes. As the grain matures, these aphids search for a suitable alternate host and potentially spreading potato virus Y as they move through the potatoes.

One of the key questions is: Will there be aphids in the grain crop this year? In Maine, we do not always encounter significant populations of aphids every year in the small grain crops. On the other side, English grain aphid and bird cherry oat aphid, which can be found in Maine, can be significant vectors of PVY. If the populations of these aphids become high enough, they can impact the grain as well.

As one looks at the issue whether or not to treat the small grain crop, there are several other questions that come into consideration. How do I make the decision whether or not to treat? If I choose to treat, when? What is available to use if I choose to treat?

From an integrated pest management standpoint, a seed potato producer will want to evaluate where on the risk benefit scale treating small grains to reduce the potential for virus vectors is within their operation. If there are no aphids in the grains, then there is reduced risk; however, if there are aphids in the grains, the risk may be significantly increased. The question whether or not to treat is not black and white and the answer is rather subjective.

As seed growers wrestle with the question whether or not to treat small grains, growers will want to be aware that they do have several treatment options. Seed treatment with a systemic material or foliar treatments are both options that can be considered. If a grower would like to treat grain seed with a systemic material for aphid suppression, there are several considerations.

 The neonicotinoids have several products available. These are the same class of materials which are used on potatoes as either an insecticide component of a seed treater or as an in-furrow material. Examples for use on grains would include Cruiser-Maxx Cereals, that has thiamethoxam as the insecticide component which is the same active ingredient as in Cruiser for potatoes; Nips-It, that has clothianidin as the insecticide, which is the same active ingredient as in Belay; and Gaucho 600 that has imidacloprid,  which is the same insecticide ingredient as in Admire. If considering using a seed treatment material, please read and follow the label instructions; and very importantly, please use only the product labeled for the intended use.  These products used as a small grain seed treatment, and depending upon the product and environmental conditions, should provide approximately 40 to 60 days residual aphid control.

For early planted grain crops, because of the timing and duration of the residual activity, the aphid suppression activity may be low as we enter the mid-portion of the potato season. As grain continues to grow, growers will want to be actively scouting to determine if the aphid population has been suppressed. For late-planted grain, many of the products should provide suppression of the aphid population through an important part of the season and thus reducing the potential for large aphid populations to build-up within the small grain crops. As with any pest related situation, growers will want to scout the grain and be sure that the population is being managed rather than making an assumption.

For growers who would like to wait and see if aphids do buildup in the grain crop, there are several foliar insecticides available for consideration. Materials available include cyfluthrin sold as Baythroid; methomyl sold as Lannate; lambda-cyhalothrin sold as Warrior; and malathion sold as various formulations. Please be aware that there may be additional materials with the same active ingredient that may or may not be registered for use on small grains. Registered materials may be applied as a foliar application being sure to adhere to all pesticide label requirements. Applicators should also be aware that best foliar control is achieved before the insects begin to roll the leaves. Once the crop has begun the boot stage, some products may only suppress the aphid population.

The question as to what is an economic threshold for aphids in grains depends if you are looking to suppress aphids from damaging the grain or as a vector for viruses impacting potatoes. To control aphids as a virus vector in potatoes, there is no definitive information on which to base an economic threshold.  For grain, the greatest risk of yield loss from aphid feeding damage is from the vegetative to boot stage. North Dakota State University suggests as a threshold for aphids on oats and barley, when 85% of the stems have at least one aphid or when there is 12 to 15 aphids per stem prior to complete heading: 2012 Insect Management Guide

(Mention of a trade name is not intended as recommendation or an endorsement.)


2013 Small Grain and Oilseed Research Trials and Field Days

Sustainable Ag Field DayThis season we have a number of research trials and field days planned that focus on small grains and oilseeds. Feel free to check on the progress of the trials throughout the season, and be sure to mark your calendars for the field days.

Small Grains and Oilseed Field Days

June 26: UMaine Sustainable Agriculture Field Day
To feature research trials on winter and spring wheat varieties, in-season diagnostic tests for winter grains, planting date effects on winter canola and winter wheat, and organic feed grain crops.
4:30-7:30 p.m.
UMaine Rogers Farm, Stillwater, Maine

July 9: Organic Feed Grain Field Day and BBQ
To feature demonstration plots of different organic feed grain crops, crop mixes, and production methods.  Reps from Organic Valley will be on hand and will provide the BBQ.
Evening (time to be determined)
Aroostook Farm, Presque Isle, Maine

Small Grains and Oilseed Research Trials

The following trials are being conducted at the UMaine Aroostook Research Farm in Presque Isle, the UMaine Rogers Research Farm in Stillwater, and on growers’ fields throughout Maine.  In some cases, collaborators in Vermont are conducting replicate trials at the Borderview Research Farm in Alburgh, Vermont.

Organic Feed Grain Demonstrations
Objective:
To evaluate various feed grain crops and production methods including barley and field pea varieties, barley-field pea mixes, planting densities and arrangements for barley and soybeans, and undersowing options.
Location: UMaine Aroostook Research Farm and Rogers Research Farm
Contact: Ellen Mallory

Conventional Soybean Variety Trial
Objective:
Evaluate currently marketed soybean varieties for maturity, disease, yield and bean moisture.
Location: Crouseville, ME
Contact: Andrew Plant

Winter and Spring Wheat Variety Trials
Objective:
Compare 18 winter and 17 spring varieties of hard red wheat for agronomic characteristics, baking performance, and taste.
Locations: Winter variety trials are at the Rogers Research Farm, Nature’s Circle Farm in Houlton, and in Vermont.  Spring variety trials are at Rainbow Valley Farm in Sidney, the Aroostook Research Farm, and in Vermont.
Contact: Ellen Mallory

Foliar Growth Regulator for Barley
Objective:
Evaluate a commercially available plant growth regulator (PGR) containing gibberellic acid for its use in small grains to promote growth, tillering, and yield.
Location: Presque Isle, ME
Contact: Andrew Plant

Systemic Insecticide Seed Treatments for Barley and Oats
Objective:
Evaluate crop and insect response to inclusion of systemic fungicide, systemic fungicide + insecticide, in comparison to untreated grain seed.
Location: Aroostook Research Farm
Contact: Andrew Plant

Winter Canola Production
Objective:
Evaluate winter canola production potential for Northern New England.  Studies include variety, fertility, seeding rate, and planting date trials.
Location: Aroostook Research Farm, Rogers Research Farm
Contact: John Jemison

In-Season Diagnostic Tests for Winter Grains
Objective:
Evaluate the early spring tiller count test (done at Feekes 3) and the tissue nitrogen test (done at Feekes 4-5) as decision tools to guide spring nitrogen topdress application.
Locations: UMaine Rogers Research Farm and Vermont
Contact: Ellen Mallory

Winter Wheat Planting Date and Rate
Objective:
Evaluate winter wheat varieties for tolerance to late planting, and assess economically optimal seeding rates.
Locations: UMaine Rogers Research Farm and Vermont
Contact: Ellen Mallory

Organic Nitrogen Sources for Winter and Spring Wheat
Objective:
Compare dairy manure, poultry litter, chicken layer manure, and clover plowdown for their ability to supply nitrogen to winter and spring wheat crops and produce adequate grain protein levels.
Location: UMaine Rogers Research Farm
Contact: Ellen Mallory

Microbial Inoculant Effects on Spring Wheat Grain Yield and Protein
Objective:
Compare 1 purchased mycorhizal inoculant (MycoApply®, Mycorrhizal Applications Inc., Grants Pass, OR) and two farm-produced inoculants (arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and indigenous micro-organism) for their effects on wheat growth, nutrient uptake, grain yield, and grain protein.
Location: UMaine Rogers Research Farm
Contact: Ellen Mallory


Information on this website is provided purely for educational purposes. No responsibility is assumed for any problems associated with the use of products or services mentioned. No endorsement of products or companies is intended, nor is criticism of unnamed products or companies implied.

© 2013
Published and distributed in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914, by the University of Maine and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Cooperative Extension and other agencies of the USDA provide equal opportunities in programs and employment.

Call 800.287.0274 or TDD 800.287.8957 (in Maine), or 207.581.3188, for information on publications and program offerings from University of Maine Cooperative Extension, or visit extension.umaine.edu.

The University of Maine does not discriminate on the grounds of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, including transgender status and gender expression, national origin, citizenship status, age, disability, genetic information or veteran’s status in employment, education, and all other programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies: Director, Office of Equal Opportunity, 101 North Stevens Hall, 207.581.1226.

Maine Grain and Oilseed Newsletter — April 2013

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

field of ripe grain

Vol. 1 No. 1

57 Houlton Road, Presque Isle, ME  04769
207.764.3361 or 1.800.287.1462
extension.umaine.edu/aroostook

Dear Grower,

This is the first issue of the Maine Grain and Oilseed Newsletter. In response to the growing number of questions from farmers regarding the production of grains and oilseeds, we decided that it was best to start a newsletter that will, hopefully, provide timely, research-based knowledge to Maine’s producers. This newsletter will be distributed on a monthly or “as-needed” basis throughout the year. The newsletter will be available through e-mail, and will be posted online to make reading on certain electronic devices easier. If you do not want to receive the newsletter, or know of someone who would like to receive the newsletter, please contact me at aplant@maine.edu to be removed from or added to the e-mail list.

This first newsletter contains information on seed selection, market standards, and assessing the viability of fall-sown winter grains. We hope you will find this information useful to your production needs.

Sincerely,
Andrew Plant, Extension Agriculture Educator


Know Your Grain, Know Your Market

Andrew Plant, Extension Agriculture Educator, UMaine Extension

field of flowering canolaOne of the important aspects for successful crop production for growers to consider before they venture into the fields to plant their grain and oilseed crops has more to do with where and what happens to one’s crop after harvest. Knowing your market (or potential market) prior to planting time will help guide growers to make specific decisions throughout the growing season. For any one crop, dependent upon the end-use market, growers may consider varying fertility, seeding rates, row spacing, disease management, insect management, harvest time, drying capability, and storage capacity.

Most every crop grown in our rotations has a specific set of grading standards to aid in determining its quality and resulting best fit into the marketplace. Included below are websites that provide information pertaining to grading standards for the US and Canada, for most of these crops. Also listed below are some general crop variables that are measured in these standards. It’s useful to look through these crop standards to determine what your crop may need in order to achieve the grade that you want.

Grain and Oilseeds Standards Websites

Typical Quality Parameters for Grains and Oilseeds

  • Test Weight
  • % Soundness (whole kernels/seeds)
  • % Damaged Kernels/Seeds
  • % Foreign Material
  • % Broken Kernels/Seeds
  • Presence of odors or mold
  • Color

Beyond these general grading standards, specific markets may impose further standards of quality. In grains, protein levels are typically important for some markets; in oilseeds, oil content maybe of importance. As an example, the bread wheat flour market is one of the more lucrative markets to sell into, but is also one of the more restrictive in regards to standards. Beyond what’s listed above, minimum protein level, falling number score (measuring amylase activity), DON level (mycotoxin), and known varietal baking performance, are usually taken into account.

Probably the single-most important determinant of successful, marketable, crop production is going to be variety selection. It is important to research and talk to your market outlets to figure out which varieties suit their needs and of those varieties, which have been successfully grown locally.


Assessing Winter Grain Stands

Ellen Mallory, Sustainable Agriculture Specialist, UMaine Extension

Once the snow melts and temperatures rise, it’s time to look at how well our fall-seeded grains, like winter wheat, triticale and spelt, survived the winter. Winter grains have many advantages over their spring counterparts (less weed pressure, higher yield potential, lessened spring workload), but over-wintering is not always assured. Late fall planting, poorly adapted varieties, and adverse weather conditions can all contribute to poor stands in the spring. This winter’s weather conditions were particularly challenging for winter grains with intermittent snow cover and periods of surface melting followed by icing. Low lying areas of fields are likely to be most affected.

When assessing winter survival, first get a sense of how patchy the field looks, and then focus initially on the worst-looking areas. If those areas turn out to be OK, the rest of your field should also be fine. As you scout, be aware that dried, brown leaves do not necessarily indicate that the plants are dead. Likewise, green leaves do not necessarily indicate the plants have survived. The only way to know the status of individual plants is to peel back any dead, outer leaves and examine the crown. A healthy plant should have a bright, white crown with new white roots developing once temperatures have been warm enough for new growth.

Is the stand worth keeping?

First, count the number of plants per square foot to determine if the stand is worth keeping. To do this, take a yardstick, count the number of healthy plants in the three-foot length, and write it down. Be sure to count individual plants, not tillers. Do this in several areas that are representative of the field or the patches you are examining. Calculate the average of these numbers, then multiple that number by 4 and divide by your row width. This will give you the average number of plants per foot. For example, 35 (plants per 3 foot length) x 4 ÷ 7 (inch rows) = 20 plants per square foot. Plant stands with 20-30 plants per square foot are considered optimum. Stands with 12-15 should be adequate, especially if nitrogen can be applied to stimulate tillering (see below). If the number of plants per square foot is less than 8-12, consider replanting the field to another crop.

If you determine the crop is worth keeping, but are concerned about bare patches, consider underseeding clover to compete with weeds.  Do not inter-seed spring wheat into winter wheat as they will ripen at two different times.

Is additional nitrogen needed, and when?

For winter grains, it is recommended to delay the application of a portion of nitrogen until spring to avoid over winter loss. When in the spring you make this topdress nitrogen application will depend on your plant stand. An early application in the spring will stimulate tillering, thereby increasing the number of heads per square foot but could be subject to leaching losses if spring rainfall is heavy, whereas a later spring application may be used more efficiently by the crop. To decide if early nitrogen topdressing is necessary, count the number of tillers per square foot. Use the same counting method as above, but count all mainstems and tillers with three or more leaves in the three-foot length of row.  Calculate tillers per square foot also as above. If tiller numbers are less than 70 tillers per square foot, consider topdressing additional nitrogen while the crop is in the early tillering stage. If tiller counts are above 70 tillers per square foot, delay your spring topdressing until just before the plants start to joint (i.e. stems elongate), which is when the plants enter their most rapid stage of growth.

For more information on spring stand assessment and spring topdressing, see http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/smallgrains.


Sourcing Quality Seed

Tom Molloy, Research Associate, UMaine Plant, Soil, & Environmental Sciences

fieldSourcing high quality seed is the first step in achieving maximum yields from your crop. Although saving and using seed from a previous crop is fairly common, buying in new high quality seed from a reputable dealer is the best way to assure you start the season on the right foot. When sourcing seed you need to make sure it has varietal purity, good germination and is free of weeds and other materials. Another quality consideration is seed size. Research has shown that seed lots with larger grain kernels are more vigorous, more competitive with weeds, and have higher yields.

The easiest way to assure this is to buy certified seed. Most states and Canada have seed certification programs that use a combination of field inspections and seed testing to certify seed. Certified seed will have a blue tag on it that states the variety (meaning the variety stated on the tag is the same as what is in the bag), seed lot number, percent of pure seed, percent of other crop seed, inert matter, weed seeds, and the germination rate. Becoming more commonplace is a statement of seeds per pound, which is useful to have when determining seeding rates. Often times, even though it may not be stated on the tag, the seed dealer may have the seeds per pound information should you call and ask for it.

If you do plan on saving and using your own seed you should make sure it is cleaned to remove small or cracked kernels, weed seeds and other debris. It is also recommended that you conduct a germination test. If germination numbers are low (<80% for cereals) and the seed is slow to germinate then you should avoid planting that seed lot. It is best to run the germination test in the spring to take into account any storage issues that might have affected the germination. It is also important to get a representative sample, which can be challenging depending on the type of storage. For more in-depth information on conducting your own germination tests, see Bulletin #1013, Testing Small-Grain Germination. Lastly, treating the seed with appropriate seed treatments is also a good idea to reduce the potential of seed-born diseases, some head diseases, and in some cases insects, depending on your individual situation.


Information on this website is provided purely for educational purposes. No responsibility is assumed for any problems associated with the use of products or services mentioned. No endorsement of products or companies is intended, nor is criticism of unnamed products or companies implied.

© 2013
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