Front Cover
 Table of Contents
 Characterization of the small farms...
 Winter wheat as an alternative
 Perennial peanut as an alternative...
 Other alternative forages...
 Soil fertility and moisture...
 Other activities and 1982/83...

Title: First in-house review and planning workshop
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00081545/00001
 Material Information
Title: First in-house review and planning workshop
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publisher: Farming Systems Support Project (FSSP), University of Florida
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 1982
Copyright Date: 1982
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00081545
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 190863791

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Table of Contents
        Page 1
        Page 1a
        Page 2
        Table of Contents 4
    Characterization of the small farms in Suwannee and Columbia counties
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
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        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
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        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
    Winter wheat as an alternative
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
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        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
    Perennial peanut as an alternative forage crop
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
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        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
    Other alternative forages and grains
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
    Soil fertility and moisture management
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
    Other activities and 1982/83 programming
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
Full Text


Chapter I

Chapter II

Chapter III


Origin and Nature of the FSR/E Program at UF
K. R. Tefertiller

The Role of the FSR/E Program in IFAS
J. T. Woeste

The Interest of IFAS in Small Farm Research
N. P. Thompson

Fitting FSR/E into the Departments of IFAS
C. E. Dean

Why FSR/E?
E. C. French


Social and Economic Characteristics
Extension Implications
Women on the Farm
Biophysical Constraints
Management and Learning Curve


Winter Wheat as an Alternative to Corn on North Florida
Family Farms

Florida 301 Wheat On-Farm Evaluation

Wheat Time of Planting Trial

Fertilizer Application on Wheat Planted Alone and
Planted Into Established Perennial Peanut Stands

Florida 301 Wheat Grazing Trial

Wheat Enterprise Records

1. C-4 ^^ I

Lo I


u 1^- 1 I

Ma / I


Chapter IV

Chapter V

Chapter VI

Chapter VII


Perennial Peanut Establishment

Herbicide Grass Control in an Established Perennial
Peanut Stand

Herbicide Evaluation in the Establishment of Perennial

Nitrogen Cycling in Perennial Peanut

Method of Planting Wheat into Established Perennial
Peanut Stands

Rye and Ryegrass Overseeded into Established Perennial
Peanut Stands

Interplanting of Summer Crop (Corn, Sorghum, Millet)
Into Recently Established Perennial Peanut Stand

Perennial Peanut as a Living Mulch in Associated Corn

Herbicide Evaluation For Weed Control in Corn in
Recently Planted Perennial Peanut

Perennial Peanut as an Alternative Forage Crop


Millet-Pigeon Pea Intercrop as an Alternative Forage

Alyceclover On-Farn Trials

Grain Amaranth Screening


Overlaid Trials on Corn

Fertilizer Recommendation and Use

P, K, and Mg Fertilizer Level Trials With Soybean


Computer Application in Designing Field Experiments

National Activities and Professional Meetings of FSR/E
Personnel, 1981-82

International Activities, FSR/E Program, 1981-82

FSR/E Proposed Calendar of Projects, 1981-1983

Pages 3-5

Chapter II



In order to identify small farmers, their systems and their problems,

the FSR/E team interviewed 66 farmers as well as feed store operators,

extension agents, local government officials and others.


The first and most general division of farm systems was based pri-

marily on social and economic rather than production information (see

Fig. 1). "Old-line" farmers are those who have been on the land two or

more generations while "recently-established" farmers have been estab-

lished for less than one generation (Table 1).

There are some major differences between these two groups. One of

the most important differences is that "old-line" farmers have access to

long established kin and social networks which share information, labor,

equipment, influence, power and capital. "Old-line" farms are more numerous

in the area. "Old line" farms, while slightly smaller, are frequently in-

herited or purchased from family while "recently-established" farms are

purchased on the open market at current interest rates and with rigid

mortgage conditions. "Old-line" farmers generally have lower investments,

cash flow and indebtedness than "recently-established" farmers. Risk

avoidance strategies dominate "old-line" production enterprises. "Old-line"

farmers generally use older, depreciated equipment with low cash investment

while "recently-established" farmers usually must purchase new equipment,

leading to much higher capital outlay.

M ~igure". -- slsif ion'Si)ix ml ly Wis, 9nnnd bmbi unt2 Flora (r
Size from 12-700 Acres)





LO 0

C 3










WHITE (47%)

~1 (47%)

I i
S10 L2 C1
(15.1%) (3.1%) (1.5%)

M 19 L I
(28.8%) (16.7,

OLD-LINE Two or more generations on land, established kin/social networks in area.

RECENTLY ESTABLISHED First generation on land, new to area, no established kin/social network.

L Livestock-centered enterprise
C Crop-centered enterprise
M Livestock/crop mixed enterprise

Average Acreage per Farm Classification

REBM 154
REBC 105

REB 134

REWL 221
REWM 367
REWC 104

REW 230









OBL 200
OBM 161
OBC 110

OB 143

OWL 222
OWM 226
OWC 53

04 219

. J.

Table 1. -- Selected Characteristics of the "Recently Established" and
"Old-Line" Farms

Farm Group
Old-Line Recently Established

Kin/Social Strong Weak

Land Slightly smaller (184 acres) Slightly larger (196 acres)
Frequently inherited or Purchased on open market
purchased from family

Labor and Custom Family labor Hired labor
Operations More assured availability Uncertain availability
Highly motivated Indifferent

Cash and Capital Low investment in land and High investment in land and
equipment equipment
Low cash flow High cash flow
Low indebtedness in land High indebtedness in land and
and equipment equipment
Informal loan arrangements Institutionalized loan arrange-
Very risk averse Less risk averse
Share equipment Purchase or hire equipment

Frequency in Higher (79%) Lower (21%)

Family labor, used by "old line" farms is more readily available and is

more highly motivated than contract labor.

Major differences in production practices, enterprise mix and access

to resources were evident between black and white farmers (Table 2). The

smaller black farms are predominately crop-centered, with less access to

capital, but greater access to labor.

Black farms have a higher frequency of vegetable production and also

have less irrigation and specialized equipment than do white farms.

Three general farming systems are found in the area. We have called


1. Crop Centered Systems

2. Livestock Centered Systems

3. Mixed Systems

Crop centered farming systems can include many crop components and

practices. Vegetable production for home use and for sale is common in

the area. Growing corn for grain, forage, feed, or sale is an important

enterpirse found on most farms in the area. Most crop centered systems

revolve around an important cash crop. Tobacco centered systems are common

in the entire area while peanut centered systems are mostly in the southern

portion. Soybean production is growing in spite of the higher management

and inputs being recommended.

Livestock centered systems include cattle, a low-management, low-

input system which utilizes pasture, crop residues and purchased or farm

grown winter feed. Swine production enterprises vary from high capital,

high input confinement facilities to traditional woods pig practices.

Poultry systems are also found in large numbers.

Mixed systems, producing both crops 'and animals in varying combinations

were the most common. Those farms with a mixed enterprise system:: almost

Table 2. -- Selected Characteristics of Black and White Farms

Black Farms

Predominantly crop centered

Small (141 acres)

Less capital availability

Greater labor availability (sharing)

High frequency of tobacco-centered
systems with small allotments

High frequency of vegetable pro-

Less irrigation

Less specialized machinery

Skewed geographic distribution (none
in southern Suwannee county)

Low.- frequency in sample (40%)

White Farms

Predominantly livestock centered

Larger (221 acres)

More capital availability

Less. Labor

Larger tobacco acreage

High frequency of peanut-centered

More irrigation

More specialized machinery

Generalized geographic distribution

High .,,frequency in sample (60%)

Table 3. -- Frequency of Selected Enterprises and Disposition of Product,
Small Farmers, Suwannee and Columbia Counties


Enterprise Frequency On-Farm Use Sold Off-Farm

Hogs 58% 58% 47%

Corn 76% 55% 33%

Vegetables 76% 76% 36%

Based, in all cases on a sample of 66

invariably rely on a high value cash crop as a pivot for their farming

system. This cash crop provides a stable cash flow which can be relied

upon each year for fixed costs. These crops can include tobacco or

peanuts, production of which is federally controlled, or other higher risk

crops such as fresh vegetables or fruits.

Other resources, when available, are directed into other lower risk

and/or lower management enterprises. Animal production provides a means

of maintaining a continuous cash flow as needed.

The production of hogs, corn and vegetables is important on all small

farms visited (Table 3). Corn is important in all systems because of its

versatility. It can be sold, stored, fed to animals and grazed.


One year of additional fieldwork in the Sondeo area has broadened

and deepened our understanding of the farming systems there. Most impor-

tantly, we can now underscore a number of social, economic and biophysical

factors characteristic of these systems which were only tentatively re-

cognized in form and importance in our initial Sondeo. These expanded

comprehensions may serve as a basis for both helping to legitimate our

research and extension work in the region, and focusing exploratory, ex-

perimental and on-farm research possibilities in the future. In this

section, we review social and economic findings made since the initial

Sondeo. The following elements and conditions will be discussed: the

predominance of "old-line" farmers, the constraints of credit and debt

service, the importance of off-farm income, the "family life-cycle. com-

ponent, tensions between parents and children in farm management, the im-

portance of farming to the region's larger economy .ft is now clear that

an overwhelming majority of farmers in Suwanneeand Columbia Counties are of

the "old-line" tradition. For these farmers, farming is as much a pre-

ferred "way of life" as it is a business. Many "recently established"

farmers identify with farming in a similar manner, having come from farm

family backgrounds. However, "old-line" farmers additionally have a special

connection to the land itself. The land for them represents a relation-

ship with a place which their ancestors established generations ago.

Farmers intimately know the productive qualities of their fields, and are

usually familiar with the boundaries and uses of neighbors' fields. They

can provide valuable information on their fields (crop history, problem

areas, etc.) useful to interpreting on-farm trials placed upon them.

The relationship of families to place is sociologically evidenced in

other ways. Roads, sinks and other physical features commonly bear family

names. Local communities are identified by the families living in them;

they are social and historical landmarks. Owning a farm symbolizes main-

tenance of a family tradition, place in the community, pride and connotes

a valued sense and achievement of "independence". The socioecononiicsig-

nificance of these conditions was summed up by a local real estate broker.

She said, "Farm families here view their land as they do an only child-the

last thing they want to do is to give it up". According to real estate

brokers, the sale of farmland in these counties usually reflects,not a

farmers desire to get out of farming, but rather conditions which force

him or her to sell out: lack of heirs, inability to pay debt service,

illness or handicaps.

The continuity of land within families had meant that this resource has

not been limiting to "old-line" farmers. But few can presently afford to

expand holdings due to high land values, which average between $800-1000 per

acre. Such values are prohibitive to new-line farmers because a major source

of their farm debt involves a mortgage loan for farmland. As long as land

values remain high, farm expansions will be unlikely unless interest rates

decrease or farm returns increase. Some immigration into the county,

principally by south Floridians who commonly buy 5 or 10 acre "ranchettes",

are helping to keep land values high. Industrial development impacts, which

appear to be more likely for southern Columbia County due to its proximity

to the Alachua County 1-75 "urban corridor", also will help maintain the

high land values. This implies that research must be oriented towards farm

operations adapted to the present, and possibly even decreasing, acreages

now owned by small farmers in these counties. While land renting allows

flexibility in farm acreage, rental fees also are increasing, especially

for the better land needed for high-value cash crops.

Many farmers have become overextended with credit, having borrowed

money on the basis of inflated land values since the late 1970s. Given

present credit, market, and production cost conditions, farmer inability

to make loan payments is increasing. This places an added incentive to

selling off parcels of the farm. However, the pressure to hold onto the

land is great, and for many farmers, other alternatives to meeting cash

flow problems will be exhausted before making a decision to sell. These

other alternatives include reducing the size and capital expenditures of

the farm, attempting to increase farm capital through additional cash crops

(soybeans, watermelons, wheat, vegetables), obtaining additional off-farm

income, or combinations of these. Farmers are least likely to adjust

acreages and investments in their major cash crops-tobacco, peanuts, water-

melons1- and most likely to cut back in production of livestock and lesser

cash crops. Among the latter, management and production practices reducing

costs to the farmers will likely be beneficial and acceptable. The FSR/E

team has focused upon these latter areas.

Local creditors, newspapers and farmers themselves each have expressed

the desire which most farmers have to be full-time farmers. Yet most of

the smaller-scale ones we work with are not. In fact, it has become

apparent that for nearly every farmer we have contact with, and among many

larger-scale producers, some form of off-farm income is present. In part

due to increasing production costs, depressed markets, the recent inclement

These cash crops are often called "stability" crops, because they offer
a "guaranteed market" year in and year out. Watermelons are the riskiest
of these crops to plant. Tobacco and peanut production currently/,, re-
stricted by allotments. /

weather, and in frequent cases overextended credit, numerous farms are

operated as a means of "paying taxes and the mortgage" on the land, while

off-farm income has become the means of meeting the family's weekly needs.

The family itself becomes an important resource under these conditions.

Typically in "young" farm families (young adult parents plus teen-age or

younger offspring) the mother serves as bookkeeper, gardener, and perhaps

even marketer, the children as laborers, while the father oversees the

major, demanding farm operationsarlihas.anoff-farm job or income. In "old"

farm families, child labor may be lacking which thus constrains the op-

eration, limiting it to a single-production operations not dependent upon

labor. The dynamics of a family's membership as it changes in time is known

as the "family life-cycle", and a family's constituency has great significance

for a farm operation's managerial, labor and credit conditions.

Younger farmers, be they old or new-line, besides having possible

labor and income advantages due to the family structure, additionally tend

to share the following traits: they are more inclined to try new crops,

to be aware of breeding advantages for quality, to have experience with

farm records, and to desire extension information. Many have high school

and even college degrees and have held skilled positions in the urban

economy. In some cases where a father and adult sony farm together, tension

is notable between the two generations. The younger farmer is more inclined

to see the farm as something which definitely must turn a profit, and which

must support a standard of living substantially different from that of the

father's generation. It will be difficult for the FSR/E team to work with

such families where the management goals of the farm have yet to be deter-

mined between the generations.

While younger farm families present the most likely source of coopera-

tors with the FSR/E team, these considerations must be kept in mind: 1)

families with very young children who must be totally supported are probably

less likely to adopt innovations; 2) families where generational conflicts

are present should probably be avoided; 3) older farmers with secure farm

operations may be as interested in FSR/E research as younger farmers are.

It is suggested that, given present economic conditions, many farmers

we work with will have to remain part-time farmers or dependent on other

non-farm incomes. Technologies which are oriented toward crop, livestock

and management schemes which will reduce both inputs of time and capital, or

research focused on crops with greater guaranteed market potentials are de-

finitely directions to pursue. (Of course, these must fit into the bio-

physical constrains of the region, discussed in the next section.) Con-

tinued work with farmers in teaching them how to keep cash flow records is

to be encouraged. Selections of varieties and fertilizer rates more specific

to the region's conditions are needed. With regard to livestock, research

which will reduce feeding and upkeep costs likely will give farmers incentive

to improve their breeding stock and programs. At present, however, it

should be remembered that farmers consider livestock primarily as a source

of "cash on hand". Unless livestock is the primary operation, area farmers

tend to invest in livestock only when market prices improve, selling off

stock when prices decline and when they need ready income. Mixed-system

farmers emphasize, and we suspect will continue to emphasize, cash crops

where the monetary gains are highest and where mismanagement can be dis-


The social and economic significance of farming in these counties must

be realized in a larger context. To put it bluntly, as a man associated

with the Land Bank stated, "without Oxy (Occidental Chemical) and farming,

Suwannee County's economy would be gone. There wouldn't be anything left".

According to labor statistics for the 1970s, farmers directly supported an

overwhelming majority of Suwannee County's manufacturing establishments.

Included were Goldkist Poultry (560 employees), McMullan Food Bank (200

employees), meat plants, fertilizer dealers, tractor dealers, credit associa-

tions, transport companies, and forestry operations. Indirectly, the farm

populace patronizes clothing, grocery, durable goods and other retail stores.

Seasonal activities like the watermelon harvest provide income for local

workers and migrants. Numerous independent craftspeople-welders, machinists,

and the like-are found scattered in the countryside, serving farmers. It

is not by any means an exaggeration to say that the economy of this area

would be in severe jeopardy should farming collapse there.

Furthermore, at this point in time, industrial development for the area

appears limited. Suwannee County is "dry", and so has not attracted major

businesses which depend on liquor sales such as Holiday Inn and certain

restaurants. Local residents do not want development which would bring in

outsiders. Expansion of existing industries, such as in timbering, is

restricted or unlikely to occur. Thus, purely from an economic standpoint,

research oriented towards the farming sector of this region is important

and has a potentially large economic impact beyond the farming community


The identification of this region with farming is strongly evidenced

beyond what has been discussed thus far. Local radio commercials and

programming, advertisements, newspaper editorials and features, the books

in the regional public library, and community events related to farming

are numerous and commonplace. The appreciation for an agrarian heritage

is deep there. But it is also undergoing modification as American farming

in general must meet the challenge of national and world market and political

conditions. We feel that FSR/E is a means by which the Institute of Food

and Agricultural Sciences reaffirms its linkage with farmers in meeting this



There are two new findings which have implications for FSR/E extension

work. First, there is a class of old-time white farmers who remain, pri-

marily interested in subsistence farming. They may depend on a cash crop

like watermelons. Hunting and fishing are important elements to their

lifestyle. These farmers are highly conservative and probably will exhibit

little interest in FSR/E programs. They are concentrated in the lower end

of Suwannee County and adjacent counties.

Second, it is clear that the split between farmers in the northern

and southern halves of Suwannee County makes having FSR/E programs at Live

Oak unlikely to attract many farmers from the southern end. Extension work

may have to work with the northern farmers through the Live Oak agricultural

coliseum/research station, and the southern farmers through the Branford

social center/vocational training school. Fortunately, the facilities in

both locations are available to FSR/E.

Once the FSR/E program begins to publish extension bulletins, it

might be worthwhile to place these in locations where farmers frequently

obtain information. A list of these establishments includes the fertilizer

dealers, tractor dealers, credit offices, vocational agricultural training

centers, as well as the livestock and tobacco auction markets and extension



Because the FSR/E team is concerned with the entire farming system,it

is important to understand the role of all family members on the farm.

Both women and children play important roles in maintaining the family farm.

On some farms, women participate directly in production. This role

tends to be more pronounced when the husband is incapacitated or must

spend much of his time on off-farm activities. Even when this is not the

case, women may be active in some or all of the farm enterprises. Perhaps

most common is their involvement in animal production. Fowl, in particular,

are apt to be the wife's responsibility. In some cases, swine and even

cattle are also tended by women. Involvement in crop enterprises occurs

less frequently.

The role of the farmwife in management is critical on many farms.

Women are often responsible for record-keeping, banking, procuring farm

supplies. The latter may include pricing, ordering, and delivering needed

items to the farm. In some areas, the management role includes a strong

input into decision making. Women are key decision-makers in gardening,

while in animal and commercial crop production, their input is usually more


The role of women as homemakers cannot be overstressed. In addition

to the multiplicity of responsibilities that this implies in almost all

American households, farmwives also play a critical role in food provisioning.

While they usually do not plant the garden, (normally 1 acre or more in size,

both spring and fall), they do tend and harvest the garden crops. A

typical farmwife may can and freeze hundreds of quarts of food. This

function is highly valued not only because it represents a reduced cash flow

to the family for purchased food, but also because of the higher quality of

the resulting product.

Although marketing opportunities in the area are somewhat limited,

summer visitors to local springs and attractions provideadii.ti.ona: outlets for

fresh produce. Several instances of entrepreneurial activity on the part of

local farm wives has been noted.

Tied to the role as homemaker is that of the farmwife in the community.

Many social institutions, such as churches or charities, rely heavily on

women. The benefits to the community that result from these activities are

numerous, but difficult to quantify.

The wife is increasingly a source of added income. Among young families,

it is not unusual for the wife to maintain a full or part-time off-farm job.

As educational levels among women rise, and as the opportunities for off-

farm employment grow, this factor becomes more important in maintaining

the economic integrity of the farm.

It should be emphasized that, while there is some sexual division of

labor according to the traditional rural values of the area, labor and

management inputs to the farming enterprise are generally determined by

the individual circumstances and abilities of the family. The families in-

volved are well aware of the inputs required to run their farm and try to

make the best use of their available resources.


Historically the region encompassing the North Florida study area

has been regarded as a rich agricultural zone. Today, however, agri-

cultural production in much of the region is regarded by many as marginal.

Part of the explanation for this changing evaluation of the area's

agricultural potential lies in the increasing constraints that certain

physical and biological characteristics of the zone place on agricultural


The physical and biological characteristics of the region have changed

very little through the years. Some, however, have become more constraining

to agricultural activity because of the high cost involved in overcoming

the barriers to production that they represent. In some cases, they can be

expected to become even more constraining in the future.

One problem is the low native fertility of most area soils. In the

past, when farm production went largely for home consumption, with limited

sale on the local market, maintaining soil fertility was not considered

a serious problem. Breaking "new land" or land that had been out of production

for several years to plant high value crops (still a common practice among

watermelon producers) was often possible. Further, low plant populations

and low yields were normal and acceptable.

Modern commercial production, however, requires high levels of fertiliza-

tion. Nitrogen and potassium almost always must be applied at high rates,

and micronutrient deficiencies are increasingly common. The need for high

fertilization levels increases production costs and puts area farmers at a

disadvantage since they must now compete in a marketing system whose prices

are determined nationally and even internationally. This problem will be-

come more severe as fertilizer costs, particularly for nitrogen, rise.

Soil fertility problems are exacerbated by the poor physical qualities

of the soils. Most are ultisols, although some spodosols are found in the

study area. The deep sands (ultisols) are easily leached and to not retain

sufficient moisture for good plant growth. Further, a tillage pan has

formed in many fields which prevents adequate root development and makes

unavailable to crops the nutrients and moisture that are present at greater

depths. This latter problem is a result of modern tillage practices and

has increased the severity of moisture and nutrient supply problems asso-

ciated with cultivation of these deep sand soils. While the spodosols do

retain nutrients and moisture better than the deep sands, they are poorly

drained and excessive soil moisture is a problem on these soils during

high rain fall periods.

Rainfall in the area is often scanty and unreliable. The physical

characteristics of the soil, especially where a tillage pan exists, make

this problem more severe. High evapotranspiration rates and low soil

moisture retention mean that even a few days without rain in midsummer may

produce water stress in crop plants. Further, a 4 to 6 week period of very

low rainfall in April and May is typical in many years. This low rainfall

period is one major obstacle to both forage and annual crop production.

Finally, pest control is also a serious problem. Unlike in more

northern areas, this can be a year-round problem in north Florida. Diseases

thrive and nematodes are prevalent in much of the study area. The cost of

controlling these factors has increased greatly for farmers. Furthermore,

continuous cropping, higher plant populations and associated water demand,

have all combined to make pest control more critical.

Some of the problems described above interact to place constraints on

productivity in the study area. Together they represent an interrelated

set of constraints, all of which must be taken into account when new

technological innovations are considered. Given the limited capital avail-

able to small farmers and the low return on investment,alternatives such as

installing large irrigation systems or buying expensive minimum tillage

equipment are not feasible. The FSR/E team, therefore, must look for low

risk, low investment solutions to these problems.



Much of the work that has been done this year has been to characterize

the management practices of the north Florida farmers. The farm records

explain how the farmers are presently managing their operations. The on-

farm research proves that these farmers are not afraid to try innovative

management and production practices.

Unfortunately, many of the farmers do not have much time available to

manage their operations. Many of these farmers have full-time or part-time

"public work" jobs which take up much of their time. While these jobs in-

crease and stabilize family income, they also limit the time the farmer has

available to manage and work his farm. This results in a major management

constraint in north Florida. In a similar vein, the diversity of operations

on the smaller family farms causes the farmers' scarce management resources

to be spread thin over the management of several enterprises. The advantage

of having several farm enterprises is that it provides stability to the

farm income.

Importance of Management

When looking at farm production attention is usually concentrated on the

land, labor, capital and cash situations. No one would deny the importance of

management as a factor of farm production yet management ability is usually

only vaguely considered when we conceptualize new agricultural technologies.

The importance of management is undeniable. Management is the human factor

of production which combines the other factors of production: land, labor

and capital into a functioning production unit. Management is the driving

force behind the entire production system. A farmer's management ability

is just as important a resource to him as his land, labor or capital. The

reason why this important factor of production is so difficult to incorporate

into characterization of the farming system is because management is the

human factor of production. As such, management can not be objectively

measured like the available land, labor and capital. Therefore it is dif-

ficult to explicitly incorporate management ability into the design of new

agricultural technologies.

,Be that as it may, there are some attributes about how changes in manage-

ment ability occur which can be used advantageously when generating new

agricultural technologies. These attributes are explained by the learning


Learning Curve

The learning curve relates how the cost of each unit of output declines

as the total cumulative output increases. In other words, the more experience

someone has in producing a given product the cheaper he will be able to pro-

duce that product.

Learning how to produce an agricultural product is often expressed by

increasing yield. Figure 1 demonstrates, in a very simple manner, the effect

that learning how to manage a new agricultural technology has on yield.

This particular learning curve also demonstrates the cost of learning how

to manage a new agricultural technology. The cost of learning in this case

is caused by the difference between the low yields during the first years when

the farmer is learning how to use the new technology and the unchanging and

high cost of production during these same first years.

A more complex technology would have a learning curve to the right

of the curve shown. This has the effect of increasing the cost of learning

and, all other things being equal, it would decrease the value of the tech-

nology to the farmer. Similarly, a more simple technology would have a

learning curve to the left of the curve shown. This technology has a

decreased cost of learning and therefore is of greater value to the farmer.

The cost of learning how to manage a new technology is implicit in all

new agricultural technologies. This concept explains whey otherwise

economically sound technologies are not accepted by farmers: the losses

incurred while learning to manage the new technology make the technology



technology --- ---- --------- ----

Break-even -- -

Present .

Figure 1.

This management constraint should be kept in mind when generating

technologies for north Florida. It is for this reason that studying

how the farmers of north Florida learn to manage new technologies is


Learning Curve Study

The north Florida study is investigating how quickly farmers learn

to manage new agricultural technologies and what particular traits of

technologies affect how fast the technologies are learned. The objective

is to determine the cost of learning to use particular technologies in

north Florida.

Another valuable product of this study will be specific examples of

the types of technologies that these farmers have had trouble with in the

past. The FSR/E team will be able to avoid incorporating these same

trouble spots in the generation of technology.

The study will be concentrated on how north Florida farmers have

learned to manage soybeans. Soybeans are a new crop to north Florida which

has been grown in significant acreage only for five years in Suwannee and

Columbia Counties. How farmers learn to manage a complicated technology

like soybeans will be compared to how farmers learn to manage a relatively

simple technological change such as a new crop variety.

The data will be gathered through in-depth interviews with farmers

concerning their past soybean production practices and the changes they have

made in their production systems. Changes in their systems that are likely

to be seen include: land preparation, variety planting date, planting

method, row spacing, method of seed innoculation, fertilizers and application,

herbicides and application, cultivation practices, post-harvest handling,

marketing, equipment adjustment and the various changes that soybeans

will have on other crops in the rotation.

The process of how the farmer learns to put all of these aspects of

production together into a production system is the purpose of this study.

The learning process and the specific examples of learning will be

derived by using the data from the interviews and by taking full advantage

of the experience of the two county extension agents.

Chapter III




The North Florida Farming Systems Research and Extension project

initiated its main thrust of defining farm production systems, delineating

the associated farm problems and developing technology specific to these

problems in June of 1981. The rapid survey Sondeo conducted in Suwannee

and Columbia Counties of north Florida was oriented specifically towards

smaller family farms. The Sondeo activity and subsequent analysis identified

several major problems that were characteristic of small farms in the area.

The Sondeo revealed the importance of corn production. Of 66 farmers

contacted, 76% grew corn. Of these 66% used at least some of the corn on

the farm as animal feed and 40% sold at least part of the crop. Corn is

grown because the technology for its production is relatively simple and

well understood and because it provides alternatives to the farmer; it

can be fed to livestock or sold and it is easily stored.

Problem statement:

A diverse mixture of crops and livestock characterize the production

processes on most small farms, and interactions between farm enterprises

are important in maintaining the economic stability of the farm. Corn

has been identified as a critical component that provides products important

to the economic viability of the traditional north Florida family farm.

It can be produced and sold as a cash crop, or kept on the farm and used

as a feed and/or forgage source for livestock and poultry. This type of

versatility has allowed corn to become a highly integrated part of tradi-

tional family farms. The welfare of the farm has thus become contingent

upon favorable environmental and economical climates for corn.

In recent years however, traditional family farms have been hard-

pressed to continue this system of production. Severe drought combined

with depressed market prices for grain and livestock, and the continued

upward shift in input costs have rendered traditional production systems

uneconomical to a great extent. The reality of "hard times" is now fully

appreciated by farmers in north Florida. Expansion and increased profit-

ability as farm goals have been modified or replaced by goals that stress

the reduction of risk. Farmers are unable or unwilling to commit scarce

resources to crops (such as corn) that have not contributed to the stability

and welfare of the farm in recent years.

In an effort to provide alternative solutions to these problems the

north Florida FSR/E program is examining a number of alternatives to corn.

Winter wheat is one such possibility (see Fig. 1). Studies indicate that

winter wheat is biologically feasible in north Florida, and that it contains

qualities that approach the versatility inherent in corn.

However, little is known about the economic feasibility of wheat within

the context of the traditional north Florida family farm. The potential

of this crop to provide stability, reduce risk or to increase the economic

welfare of family farms is at the present time unclear. Answers to these

questions are important to the farmers as well as those involved in research

and extension.

Figure 1. Wheat Research Scheme '81-82.



1. If wheat is able to provide those uses that make corn important

within the farm system, then it may also become important in sustaining the

economic viability of the family farm.

2. If it can be produced economically,it-canreduce a farmer's dependence

on a risky, single crop source of livestock feed such as corn.


1. Collect and organize primary economic and physical data on wheat

and corn crops from family farms in north Florida. This includes information

such as dates of farm activities, quantities of inputs used, input costs,

machinery used, rainfall, yields, usage and valuation of crop products and

farmer perceptions of wheat and corn.

2. Construct farm system models for representative farms to identify

and delineate the flow of farm products within the farm and the flow between

the farm and outside markets. These models will also be important in de-

termining the exact role that corn plays in traditional family farms, so

that possible alternatives to corn meet the requirements of the system.

3. Determine the relative profitability of wheat and corn as they are

produced and utilized by farmers in Suwannee and Columbia counties.

The Future of Wheat in North Florida:

Preliminary analysis indicates that winter wheat does have potential

in north Florida. Despite low yields and poor returns on investment in the

1981-82 crop, some farmers feel optimistic about wheat in the future. Three

reasons for this optimism are hypothesized.

1. Corn and wheat have similar uses on farms.

2. Labor requirement periods for wheat coincide with those of corn.

3. Farmers can reduce risk by planting less corn and more wheat.

Figure 2a. shows systematically how corn can be utilized by farmers in

north Florida. Once produced, it can be sold as a cash crop (grain) to

the market, or kept on the farm to be utilized by livestock as forage and/

or feed. It is versatile and allows farmers to change production emphasis

under various climatic and economic environments.

Figure 2b. is a schematic diagram of uses of wheat on traditional north

Florida farms. Like corn, it has versatility as a cash crop and/or livestock

feed and forage.

This similarity may be an important reason why many farmers grew wheat

this year after experiencing four poor years of corn production.

The second hypothesis explaining the popularity of wheat this past year

relates to the fact that labor requirements for wheat are similar to those

of corn. Figure 3. illustrates this point. Periods of labor use for corn

in north Florida are shown on the top, and those for wheat are shown on the

bottom of the calender line. In general, we see that labor use periods

coincide, although management operations differ during the year. These

similarities may indicate that wheat as an alternative to corn does not

present special labor conflicts with other crops grown on the farm.

A third hypothesis supporting the potential of wheat comes from farmers

themselves. Farmers who grow corn primarily as a feed source for hogs feel

that large acreages of irrigated or unirrigated corn have become extremely

risky because of drought and low market prices. If they can reduce their

corn acreage by growing and feeding wheat, then the risk is reduced and

stability is added to the farm.




EE <

Forage "

Feed /

Figure Za.




Fami ly

. Livestock

Figure 2b.

-i s Family



1-1 ___~





1 1 1 1


Field Prep.








Wheat could provide an alternative or complimentary crop to corn.

A new variety, Florida 301, has been developed that is suitable for pro-

duction in north Florida and is resistant to several major wheat diseases.

Although it is not resistant to Septoria, this disease can be controlled

by spraying.

Like corn, wheat offers flexibility to the farmer. It can be stored,

used as animal feed, or sold off-farm. Prior to elongation of the meri-

stem it can be grazed. Further, it is a winter crop in the field during

the second rainfall peak, which is generally more reliable than the

summer peak. Its early maturity (May) permits the farmer to follow

wheat with a second crop such as soybeans or pigeon pea.

Problem Statement:

Although wheat was a fairly common crop in the area 25 to 30 years

ago, most farmers today have little or no experience in its production.

Many area farmers will employ the same management practices they use with

oats or rye. University researchers and extension personnel also lack

practical, on-farm experience in wheat production. Almost all Fla. 301

wheat has been grown under experiment station conditions. Further, while

wheat can be grown in the study area, the more fertile, higher clay

content soils of the area west of the Suwannee River are the recommended

ones for its production. The first objective, therefore, of the Fla. 301

on-farm evaluation is to augment the pool of knowledge among farmers,

researchers, and extensionists regarding the performance of the new variety

under farm conditions and under farmer management. These conditions and

management practices will be much more variable than those of the research


Because wheat is essentially a new crop in the area, the next few years

will be a period of learning and decision-making for farmers. Producers

will be deciding if it is worthwhile to raise wheat, learning to manage

the crop successfully and integrating its production and use into their

overall farming system. A second objective of the 301 on-farm evaluation

is to understand how the farmer incorporates new individual and group

experiences into his management practices and why he reaches the conclusions

that he does regarding the crop's production. Farmers may decide that

wheat is not a suitable component for their farming system. If so, it

is important that university and extension personnel understand why farmers

reached that conclusion in order to provide more effective research in the



Six on-farm evaluations of Fla. 301 wheat were planned (a total of

approximately 150 acres). The wheat was planted at the farmer's expense

and managed by the farmer, although soil test results and fertilizer re-

commendations were provided by the University of Florida and soil com-

paction was measured prior to planting. Production guidelines were dis-

tributed to cooperating farmers and, in some cases, limited quantities of

Fla. 301 seed were given to the farmer as well.

Each cooperating farmer kept a record book in which labor, equipment

used, purchased inputs (such as fertilizer, seed, fuel, oil, and lime),

and other miscellaneous information was recorded by date and by task. These

records will be used to determine production costs and to compare manage-

ment practices from farm to farm. As the records are maintained over

several growing seasons they will provide a history of each collaborator's

changes in management practices and, overall, they add to the pooled body

of knowledge regarding wheat production in the area. A team member visited

each farm bi-weekly to help maintain the records.

Each field was sampled periodically. Plant height, stage of develop-

ment, tillering, and general observations on the condition of the field

were recorded. At harvest, the yield was recorded and a sample of the

harvested grain taken to determine bulk density. Pictures of the fields

and a photograph of several plants from each field and from all fields

together were also taken. The samples and photos provide a record of

the performance of the wheat in each field and permit a comparison of the

fields. In addition, the familiarity of a team member with each field

provides insights into the practical problems the farmer encounters and

facilitates on-going discussion with the farmer regarding his management


After harvest of both the on-farm trials and several wheat experiments

described elsewhere, carried out by the FSR/E team and other university

collaborators, a general meeting was held. The experiences of all those

involved, farmers, extension personnel, researchers, and FSR/E team members,

,are discussed. The meeting permitted both farmers and university personnel

to evaluate the overall success of the trials and experiments. It provided

a forum to discuss future research priorities and to facilitate exchange

of information among producers.

Each of the farmers collaborating will be contacted again next year

to determine how many plant wheat again, and how much acreage each plants.

This provides a measure of the acceptability of the crop to the collab-

orating group of farmers.

Results and Discussion:

Overall wheat yields were low among collaborating farmers. This is,no

doubt,partly a result of their lack of experience raising the crop. Only

two of the collaborating farmers had planted wheat before. In general,

however, small grain yields were low in both Suwannee and Columbia Counties

for the 1981-82 growing season, although county yield averages appear to

have been higher in Columbia than in Suwannee County. On the one hand,

it can be argued that wheat did not get a "fair trial" because it was a

poor year for small grain production. On the other hand, this year's re-

sults did reveal how wheat can be expected to perform under poor growing

conditions. This latter point is an important one. The farmers with whom

the FSR/E team works have clearly been identified as a risk-adverse group.

If, as this year's experience tends to show, there is considerable risk

involved in planting wheat, the crop may not be acceptable to them even

though it does perform well under optimal growing conditions.

Management practices varied widely among collaborators. Although none

sprayed for disease control,, one farmer did graze his crop. Planting dates

varied from late October to mid-Janauary. Nitrogen fertilization rates

varied from as little as 20 Ibs./acre to 140 Ibs./acre. The wide variation

in management practices makes it a difficult to determine the effect that

any single practice may have had on yield. It does show that no "general"

practices for growing wheat have yet developed among these farmers. They

are still learning and experimenting.

While some of this variation may be expected to lessen as growers gain

more experience with wheat, the crop will seldom be grown by limited re-

source farmers following full university recommendations. Management time

and, in some cases, ability is limited for farmers, especially part-time

farmers. They must devote much of that time to higher valued crops. Wheat

appears to be more management intensive than crops such as corn or rye, and

this may represent an obstacle to its acceptance among small farmers.

Two further points that the enterprise records reveal are of special

interest. First, Fla. 301 wheat showed a better response to nitrogen

fertilization than other varieties (see Figure 1). This may not be a

- m m

M M m m M

Nitrogen and Varietal
Farmer Managed Wheat,

N. Fla.

1981 -82

301 Wheat

non-301 Wheat





100 120 140 160





20 -







response characteristic of the varieties per se. Varieties other than

Fla. 301 and Coker 797 are susceptible to many wheat diseases, such as

rust. Their yields, therefore, may be limited by factors other than

nitrogen fertilizer rates. Second, the highest yields obtained with Fla.

301 this year resulted from nitrogen applications of 60-80 Ibs./acre.

Higher rates failed to increase yields and, in fact were associated with

reduced yields. It should be stressed to farmers that university re-

commendations of 70 Ibs./acre nitrogen are fully adequate and that, unless

the wheat is grazed, higher rates may be detrimental.

In addition to the enterprise records and other data that were collected

during the on-farm evaluations of Florida 301 wheat, some general observa-

tions regarding problems encountered by area farmers who grew wheat are of

value. These observations are a result of on-going consultation with area

farmers and regular observation of numerous wheat fields in the Suwannee

and Columbia County area. While these observations are of a qualitative

nature, they indicate some of the problems faced by farmers who are in-

terested in growing wheat.

Experience this year shows that many farmers did not fully under-

stand the importance of selecting a variety appropriate for local growing

conditions and for their own management programs. Area farmers generally

understand the importance of selecting good ,varieties, of tobacco, soybeans,

and other crops. For rye and oats, however, variety is not a critical

factor and, based on their experience with these small grains, farmers

tended to underrate the importance of planting a recommended variety

of wheat. Not only was the perception of farmers at fault, but University

literature did not stress the importance of this factor sufficiently.

Even well informed cooperators who read the literature did not gain a clear

understanding of the importance of planting an appropriate variety.

The problem was further exacerbated by seed companies and dealers

in the area. They sold many varieties that clearly are not appropriate

for north Florida. Either they did not know or they did not inform farmers

that many of these varieties are not appropriate for the area.

Disease resistance is probably the single most important factor in

setectingan appropriate wheat variety in the study area. Some fields

developed severe rust infections and yield reductions were high in these

fields. Two university publication, Agronomy Facts No. 115 ("Wheat Pro-

duction in 1981-82") and Plant Protection Pointers No. 27 ("Control of

Foliar Diseases of Wheat Using Fungicides Applied by Aircraft"), discuss

wheat diseases. The former publication does discuss the disease resistance

of several wheat varieties. However, it fails to describe the major wheat

diseases and the damage that they can cause. The latter publication ex-

plains how to control several diseases, but does not discuss resistance.

Small farmers may not be able to afford airborne fungicide application

and, in many cases, their fields are too small. Varietal resistance may

therefore be particularly important to this group. In general, however,

for all farmers, university literature should include a clear discussion

of wheat diseases and varietal resistance in production guidelines.

In other cases the varieties that were planted matured late. Farmers

have been forcedto.wai.tunttl harvest wheat and are, therefore, finding it

difficult to follow the wheat crop with a soybean crop. Further, this

year rainfall has been frequent enough to prevent harvest of late-maturing

wheat. This was compounded by late planting in some cases. Again,

university production guides should state clearly the maturity dates of

the wide range of varieties available in the area and should stress the

importance of timely planting for double cropping.

Referring again to disease resistance, infection with Septoria

nodorum or glume blotch was a major problem. Varieties resistant to

Septoria are not available. Neither the IFAS Circular S-273, "Florida 301:

A New Wheat for Multiple Cropping in North Florida," nor the 1981-82

wheat production guide discuss this disease in detail, although the former

does mention that Florida 301 is not resistant to glume blotch. A descrip-

tion of the disease is available in Plant Protection Pointers No. 27, but

that document does not explain that varieties such as Florida 301 and Coker

797 are susceptible. In other words, the farmer has no information avail-

able to him that states clearly that glume blotch is a major problem,

describes the disease, and explains that he will have to spray to control

it. As a result, collaborators were generally unaware of the problem until

extension or FSR/E personnel brought it to their attention.

Extension personnel, FSR/E team members, and farmers all have questions

regarding the viability of spraying to control Septoria. While there is

little doubt that timely and adequate spraying helps prevent yield losses,

it is unclear that the practice is economically viable, especially if

three sprayings are required and if wheat prices are low. Further experimen-

tal data, including cost/benefit analyses, need to be accumulated.

Farmers tended to rely heavily on their past experience in raising

rye and, to a lesser degree, oats as a guide to raising wheat. The year's

trials have shown that wheat is a more difficult crop to manage than either

rye or oats. Farmers have reached this conclusion themselves. They now

understand that timely planting, a good fertilization program, careful

management of grazing, and a disease control program are much more critical

to producing wheat than to producing rye or oats. They will not, by and

large, repeat the same mistakes next year.

Serious mistakes could have been avoided, however, had this comparison

been made in the literature. Publications available did not point out

that wheat is more difficult to manage than other small grains common to the

area. The small grain production guide, in particular, failed to make this


Part of the problem may have been that university personnel are unaware

of local management practices. With rye, for example, farmers plant over

a wide range of dates (October to January), apply relatively little fer-

tilizer (and that often late), and practice no disease control. When

grazing rye, farmers have found that grazing pressure can be very high and

the plant will still produce an acceptable grain yield. Rye survives such

treatment. Wheat does not. University publications should make clear the

differences as well as the similarities between the small grains.

One characteristic of Florida 301 wheat, and possibly other varieties

as well, that may contribute to the need for better management with wheat

is its shallow root system. Apparent micronutrient deficiency symptoms

appeared in some wheat fields. These symptoms did not appear on rye and

oats planted in the same fields. Data are not yet available to show

whether microelement deficiency was the problem. If it was, the shallow

root system of Fla. 301 wheat may be a contributing factor, and selection

of varieties with more extensive root systems could be an important re-

search goal.

Finally, procuring good quality seed was a limitation in wheat pro-

duction. Florida 301 was not available in sufficient quantity. Availt-

ability of seed of new varieties is often a prole;, and will be resolved

as production increases. More important, several farmers received impure

seed. Both rye and oats were contaminants. In some cases this occurred

when farmers bought certified seed. In other cases farmers delivered pure

wheat to be cleaned and bagged last year, and found it was contaminated

when returned from the mill. In these cases the farmer cannot save seed

for next year and he is docked when he sells his grain. Better control is


It is important to take these practical problems into account in

discussing the Florida 301 wheat on-farm evaluations. The experience

gained this year can better prepare the FSR/E team for future trials.

Further, insights gained into these problems will permit university personnel

to improve the 1982-83 wheat program. Perhaps most critical is the need

for a production guide that discusses wheat diseases and varietal resis-

tance, and that makes clear to the farmer how wheat differs from other

small grains.



The recommended time of planting for Florida 301 wheat in north Florida

is December 1 to Dec. 15. Many farmers, however, are unable or find it

difficult to plant during this period. Part-time farmers, in particular,

who comprise a large portion of the small, family farmers, may not be

able to plant during the recommended period. Some want to prepare land

and plant wheat, rye, and oats as one operation, while others wish to plant

earlier than the recommended date in order to provide early winter forage

for livestock.

Problem Statement:

Because many farmers in the target population will not be able to

plant during the period Dec. 1 to Dec. 15, data are needed which will show

the range of Viable planting dates in the study area. These may vary some-

what from the currently recommended dates since climatic conditions vary

considerably over small areas in north Florida.

Further, data are needed which will permit the farmer to assess the

risks and disadvantages associated with planting outside the recommended

period. This is particularly important during the next few years when

farmers are gaining initial experience with wheat, which is a new crop for

most. Many will base their management decisions on their experiences

with rye, which can be planted over a wide range of dates. University

literature available through the extension service does not, at this time,

indicate the degree to which wheat must be managed differently from other

small grains.


The time of planting trial was conducted at the Live Oak Agricultural

Research Center. Florida 301 wheat was planted every two weeks from Oct.

15, 1981 to Dec. 31, 1981, using a standard grain drill and a seeding rate

of 1.5 bu./A. A randomized complete block design with six replications

was employed. The plots were sampled periodically during the growing

season. Stage of development, leaf height, apex height, and tillering

were recorded, and yield was determined at harvest.

Results and Discussion

Analysis of variance shows that time of planting had a significant

effect (alpha= 0.05) on grain yield (Table 1). Ducan's multiple range test

(alpha= 0.05) shows that the Oct. 30 planting date produced yields that,

were significantly better than those obtained on any other date except

Nov. 15. Although yields obtained from the Nov. 15 planting data did not

differ significantly from those from those from the Oct. 30 planting date,

they also failed to differ significantly from those obtained on other

planting dates.

Table 1. Grain Yield, Time of Planting Trial, 1981-82.

Time of Planting Mean Grain Yield (bu./A.)
Oct. 30, 1981 22.6T
Nov. 15, 1981 19.1
Oct. 15, 1981 16.6
Dec. 15, 1981 16.1
Nov. 30, 1981 15.2
Dec. 30, 1981 13.8

These data represent only one year of trials and cannot be regarded

as conclusive. For the 1981-82 growing season, at least, planting earlier

than the recommended date did not result in lowered yields. Many farmers

in the study area have stated their preference for an earlier planting

date, and this one year's data lends support to their viewpoint. Winter

temperatures vary greatly from year to year in the study area, however, and

no firm conclusions can be drawn. In 1982, spring temperatures were higher

than normal, and this could be one important factor here.



The introduction of perennial peanut, a forage legume, is underway

in the study area and the crop may become a component in farming systems

in the area in the relatively near future. Since the peanut is dormant

during the winter months, it is feasible to plant a winter crop such as

wheat into the peanut sod during the winter growing season. Doing so

permits the farmer to double crop the acreage planted in perennial peanut

and, if the straw is harvested with the first hay cut from the peanut, the

farmer can also increase his overall hay yield per unit area.

Interplanting a winter crop into perennial peanut represents a new

technology for area farmers. Managing the perennial peanut itself is new

to them, and most have little or no experience in planting a crop into a

sod, although some have experimented with planting rye or oats into bahia

sod. On the other hand, virtually all have experience in managing winter

crops such as rye or oats.

When farmers adopt a new technology they bring their own experience

and expertise to bear making modification where they see fit to mold the

new technology to their conditions. The expertise of the farmer, is many

times not taken into account by researchers and other change agents who hope

to bring new ideas to the farm community. It is important that research

and extension personnel understand the reasoning behind local practices.

Undue resistance to change and mistrust on the farmers part are created

when change agents argue for practices that are not necessary for adoption

of new technology when in fact the farmer's ideas may be superior under local

conditions, than the prescribed recommendations. If commonly held beliefs

are invalid, the change agent needs evidence to convince farmers that his

recommendation is superior.

Problem Statement:

University recommendations are that one half of the total nitrogen (N)

requirement for the winter crop and needed phosphorus (P) and potassium (K)

be applied at planting, with a second nitrogen (N) at boot stage. Many area

farmers, however, disagree with the recommended fertilization program. They

may use less than recommended amounts of nitrogen. Many prefer to make the

first nitrogen application after the crop has established a good root system.

They argue that this practice prevent loss of nitrogen from leaching if heavy

rainfall occurs prior to stand establishment. Still other prefer to make

three nitrogen applications. Again, they argue that doing so minimizes losses

by leaching. This experiment was designed to include a test of farmer re-

commendations. The first objective ot this experiment, is to compare university

recommendations for nitrogen fertilization of winter small grains with

several programs commonly used in the study area.
One half of the plots in this experiment are of wheat seeded into

perennial peanut sod. Decomposition of legume sod litter may alter the quantity

of applied nitrogen required. The experiment must, therefore, compare the

several fertilization programs on both conventionally grown wheat and on

wheat planted in perennial peanut sod. In addition to the wheat yield results,

the practice of growing wheat in the peanut sod may affect hay yield from

the perennial peanut in the succeeding summer growing season.


The experiment will be conducted at the Live Oak Agricultural Research

Center. Florida 301 wheat, was planted into conventional tilled plots using

a standard grain drill. A standard grain drill was also used to plant the

perennial peanut sod with wheat. However, the planting was preceded by a

superficial discing of the peanut sod. Control plots of perennial peanut

alone was included.

Three nitrogen fertilization rates, 0 Ibs./A., 60 Ibs./A. and 80 Ibs./A.

were applied. The 60 Ibs./A.nitrogen rate was applied in the following

manner: (1) 30 Ibs./A. nitrogen in a pre-plant application and 30 Ibs./A.

nitrogen in a late post-emergence application; (2) 15 Ibs./A. nitrogen in a

pre-plant application and 45 Ibs./A. nitrogen in a late post-emergence

application; (3) 30 Igs./A. nitrogen in an early post-emergence application

and 30 Ibs./A. nitrogen in a late post-emergence application; and (4) 15 Ibs./A.

nitrogen in an early post emergence application and 45 Ibs./A. nitrogen in a

late post-emergence application. The 80 Ibs./A.nitrogen rate was applied

in the following manner: (1) 40 Ibs./A.nitrogen in a pre-plant application

and 40 Ibs./A. nitrogen in a late post-emergence application; (2) 20 Igs./A.

nitrogen in a pre-plant application and 60 Ibs./A.nitrogen in a late post-

emergence application: (3) 40 Ibs./A. nitrogen an early post-emergence

application and 40 Ibs./A.nitrogen in a late post-emergence application; and

(4) 20 Ibs./A.nitrogen in an early post-emergence application and 60 Ibs./A.
nitrogen in a late post-emergence application. Controls included wheat planted

alone and into peanut sod, both with 0 Ibs./A. nitrogen. All treatments were

imposed on wheat alone and wheat planted into peanut sod.

Plots of perennial peanut sod without wheat were fertilized at the

same three rates, as 1) a preplant, late post-emergence and 2) early post-

emergence, late post-emergnece application split equally for both the 80 and

60 Ib./A. rates.

A complete randomized block design was used, with four replications,

and standard statistical procedures to analyze results. Phosphorous and

potassium rate were held constant applied at planting at a rate of 300 Ib./A.

Results and Discussion:

Following completion of sample and data analysis further results will

be forthcoming.

Preliminary data indicate that wheat planted into the perennial peanut

sod yielded significally less at both the 60 and 80 lb./A. nitrogen fertilizer

levels than the conventionally tilled plots (Fig. 1). This infers that

any potential nitrogen contribution from the legume sod was not detected in

wheat yield as being additive to the applied nitrogen. However, the zero

nitrogen treatment yield approximately 3 bu./A. more in sod than the con-

ventionally tilled plots. In this case the legume sod provided some beneficial

factors. Averaging across treatments there was no significant difference in

grain yield between the 60 Ib./A. and 80 Ib./A. nitrogen treatments (Fig. 2).

For both nitrogen levels no significance was detected between the pre and

post plant application in sod and conventional till at the various split

levels (Fig. 3 and 4).

Non significance for grain yield between any nitrogen level in the sod

treatments indicates the possibility that some factor is more limiting than

nitrogen.. Obervations indicated a poor plant stand particularly in the sod

plots. It was apparent that the conventional single disc opener grain drill

did not adequately place the seed into the soil where sod was present.

It was further noted that the wheat in those plots which contained a high

percentage of bermuda grass was sparser and performed poorer than the

cleaner peanut stands.


1. Wheat grown in perennial peanut sod produced significantly less grain
than wheat grown under a conventional till system.

2. Zero nitrogen produced significantly less grain than the 60 and 80 Ib./A.
nitorgen under the conventionally tilled system.

3. No significance in grain yield was detected between the 0, 60 and 80 Ibs./A.
nitrogen in the perennial peanut sod.

4. Grain yields were not significantly affected by applying nitrogen pre
plant or post plant at any nitrogen rate in sod or conventional till.

5. Non-significance between the variables tested could be a result of a
poor plant standdue to planting technique and bermuda grass. Conclusions
drawn from this experiment should be considered very tentative. Prior
to continuation of this experiment an improved technique for seeding
into perennial peanut sod must be established. The effect of grass
perennial peanut mix on overseeded wheat must be examined.

m m m m m m m m mm m m m m m

Figure 1.


(planted Dec. 14- Live Oak A.R.C.)



(Bu/Ac) 10-










_____________ _____ I ______________ n







Nitrogen Fertilizer Rate



Figure 2. 1981-82 WHEAT YIELD-Conventionally Tilled
(planted Dec. 14 Live Oak A.R.C.)



(Bu/Ac) I0-



O"/Ac 60"/Ac

Nitrogen Fertilizer Rate


Smmm m m m m m -m m m m m

Figure 3. 1981-82 WHEAT YIELD
planted into perennial peanut sod
(planted Dec. 14- Live Oak A.R.C.)


Yield .
(Bu/Ac) 5II a -
a/ 80 /Ac

60 /Ac 80*/Ac

Nitrogen Fertilizer Rate

- mmmmmmmimm mmmm m m m

Figure 4.

1981-82 WHEAT YIELD-Conventionally Tilled
(planted Dec. 14- Live Oak A.R.C.)















Nitrogen Fertilizer Rate



Livestock are component in most farming systems in the FSR/E

Suwannee and Columbia County study area. Mixed livestock/cropping

systems were found on 53% of the farms visited during the 1981 Sondeo

and livestock centered systems on another 24% of the farms. The FSR/E

project focuses its attention at this time on the old-line farmers,

those whose families have two or more generations on the land. Livestock

are particularly important to this group.

Wheat can be grazed prior to elongation of the meristem and grazing

could be an important factor in determining the suitability of wheat as

an element in the farming systems utilized by area farmers. Wheat could

provide a source of forage during a period (December to February) when

forage for livestock is in short supply. Further, by grazing the immature

wheat, the farmer can offset part of the costof production of the grain


While some information is available that discusses the general question

of grazing wheat, no data that are specific to Florida 301 wheat and to

the study area are available. Florida 301 was not developed as either a

grazing or a dual purpose variety and cannot be expected to perform as

such. Further, climatic conditions vary considerably over small distances

in north Florida. Site specific, variety specific data are therefore

needed, and it is preferable to use animals rather than clipping in order

to obtain a more accurate evaluation of the effects of grazing.

Problem Statement:

Farmers in the area have traditionally planted rye, and to a lesser

degree oats, for grazing by both hogs and cattle. They have not, however,

tried to manage the grazing on these crops to simultaneously achieve a

high grain yield. Reaping sufficient grain to replant the following year

has been considered adequate, and many do not attempt to harvest a grain

crop after grazing. In the case of wheat which is a more valuable grain,

managing the grazing to achieve an acceptable grain yield is important.

Grazing wheat therefore raises new questions for the farmer and represents

a new practice that he must learn. An overall objective of the grazing

trials is to develop a set of guidelines that the farmer can use to achieve

adequate grain yields while providing a needed winter forage.

In order to do this, several specific questions must be answered.

First, the farmer needs to know when to plant wheat locally in order to

maximize the grazing period without endangering the grain crop. Second,

the farmer must know when to begin grazing and when to terminate grazing.

Finally, the farmer must know the effects of grazing on grain yield and

on the occurrence of disease.


Two grazing trials were conducted, one on-farm and one at the

University of Florida's Beef Research Unit. While similar data was taken

at the two sites, some differences between the two trials existed.

The wheat in the on-farm trial was planted at the farmer's expense,

except for seed, and managed by the farmer. Soil test results and fertilizer

recommendations were provided by the University of Florida and penetrometer

readings for determining soil compaction, were taken before planting.

Team members consulted with the farmer to help determine when to terminate

grazing, which was done when the meristem began to elongate in order that

the farmer could harvest grain crop.

At the BRU the grazing trial was conducted in cooperation with Dr.

Bill Ocumpaugh. Two planting dates, Oct. 30 and Dec. 4 were included in

the trial. In order to determine the full range of effects of grazing

was continued beyond the recommended stage of development of the wheat

plant, for as long as the forage supply remained.

Grazing was controlled in the same way at both sites. Exclosures

were constructed every two weeks, with four replications, to prevent the

animals from grazing portions of the field. At harvest, then, the exclosed

areas represented 0,2,4,6, etc. weeks of grazing. Standard statistical

analyses were used to determine results.

At each of the sites, several types of data were collected every two

weeks when new exclosures were constructed. These included stage of devel-

opment, apex height, leaf height, tillering, meristem length, number of

internodes, and flowering date. These data provided a measure of the effect

of lenght of grazing on the overall development of the plant.

At harvest, additional data was collected.for each plot. These included

yield, number of grain heads, number of seed per grain head, and weight of

seed per 100 seeds. These data provided a measure of the effect of lenght

of grazing on yield and associated characteristics.

At the BRU only, Dr. Herbert Luke also evaluated the effects of grazing

on the occurrence of disease. Florida 301 is resistant to several diseases,

but not to Septoria, and infection by this disease could be affected by

grazing. Dr. Luke rated the degree of infection of randomly selected


At the on-farm site only, records of labor, purchased inputs,

equipment used, and other information were maintained. These records

provided production costs and serve to chronical changing management

practices. For a more complete description of their use see the "Wheat

Enterprise Records" project summary.

Results and Discussion

Analysis of variance shows that grazing had a significant effect

(alpha = 0.05) on grain yield in both trials planted at the Beef Research

Unit. For the first planting date, Oct. 30, 1981, Duncan's multiple

range test shows that yields were not adversely affected with up to 4

weeks of grazing (Table 1, Fig. 1). With longer periods of grazing,

6, 8, and 10 weeks, however, grain yields were significantly lower.

With the later planting date, Dec. 4, 1981, grain yields were adversely

affected with even limited grazing (Table 2, Fig. 1). Although Duncan's

multiple range test shows that there was no statistical significance

between yields obtained on ungrazed plots (35.1 bu./ac.) and plots

grazed for two weeks (25.2 bu./ac.), the difference in yield was almost

10 bu./ac. From an economic point of view, losing 10 bu./ac. grain yield

by grazing for two weeks is probably significant to most farmers.

Table 1. Grain Yield, Beef Research Unit Grazing Trial, First Planting Date

Weks Gad Mean Grain Yield
Weeks Grazed (bu./ac.)

0 41.9
2 35.5
4 34.2
6 23.3
8 16.8
10 7.1

Table 2. Grain Yield, Beef Research Unit Grazing Trial, Second Planting Date

Mean Grain Yield
Weeks Grazed (bu./ac.)

0 35.1
2 25.2 J
4 17.7
6 12.8 1


(planted Oct. 30- Beef Research Unit, Gainesville)

0 2 4 6 8 10 12

Weeks Grazed

mmmm mm mm-m-mmm mmmmm







In the on-farm grazing trial somewhat different results were obtained.

Analysis of variance (alpha= 0.05) showed that up to six week's of grazing

did not significantly lower grain yields (Table 3). The on-farm trial, like

the first BRU grazing trial, was planted early, Oct. 28, 1981, Fig. 2.

Table 3. Grain Yield, On-Farm Grazing Trial

Weeks Grazed Mean Grain Yield
2 29.9
4 27.8
0 26.8
6 24.2

Although only one year's data are available and no firm conclusions can

be drawn, these results do raise some interesting points. Perhaps most

clear is the need to plant early if wheat is to be grazed. Other management

differences were involved in these trials, however.

Grazing pressure was not the same in all cases. In the on-farm trial

immature animals (300 to 400 lb. calves) grazed the wheat, whereas full-

grown animals were grazing the BRU plantings. Calculating an equivalency

of three calves per adult animal,the grazing pressure in the on-farm trial

was 1.2 animal units per acre. In the BRU trials grazing pressure on the

Oct. 30 planting was 1.5 animal units per acre and on the Dec. 4 planting

1.1 animal units per acre. Further, the method of grazing differed as well.

At the BRU the wheat was heavily grazed for short periods and then the animals

were withdrawn until the 'wheat recovered. In the on-farm trial grazing

was continual but the wheat was never severely grazed. These differences,

then, as well as time of planting and fertilization time and rate may explain

the results obtained.

M m m m m m m Mu m m

Figure 1.







(Beef Research Unit, Gainesville)
(1.5 animal units/acre) ClI PLANTED OCT. 30
I 1 (1.1 animal units/acre) Ei PLANTED DEC. 4

0 2 4 6 8 10 12
Weeks Grazed

BRU grazing began on Dec. 29 for 1st planting and
Jan. 27 for the 2nd planting.

Figure 2.

Figure 2.

(planted Oct. 28- on-farm trial, Columbia County)






0 2 4 6
Weeks Grazed
(1.2 Animal Units per Acre)

Farm grazing began on Dec.21.

The second planting at the BRU was also rated for Septoria infection

after 6 weeks of grazing. As Table 4 and Figure 3 show, the occurrence

of this disease was affected by grazing. Plots grazed even two weeks

showed a significantly higher (alpha = 0.05) Septoria infection than un-

grazed plots. The causes of this effect are unclear, byt one factor may

be the delayed development of the wheat that results from grazing since

longer development time could permit a higher buildup of the fungal

population. More frequent ratings are needed to fully understand this


Table 4. Septoria nodorum Infection in Wheat as Affected by Grazing

Weeks Grazed Level of Infection

0 7.1 I
6 16.8
4 22.1
2 22.9 I

m m m m m m m m m m m m m- mmmmm

(planted Dec. 4 Beef Research Unit, Gainesville)








2 4
Weeks Grazed

Figure 3.



Detailed enterprise records were kept of eight farms in Suwannee and

Columbia counties during the 1981-82 cropping season. Farmers were en-

couraged to keep track of the activities they performed on their wheat

crops, and periodic visits by team members aided in keeping the records

accurate and up-to-date.

All information pertaining to the wheat crop was recorded in individual

record books kept by each farmer. This information included dates of

activities, who performed the work and how long each activity took. All

inputs and quantities used such as fertilizer, fuel, seed and machinery

were recorded. Many cooperators offered pecuniary information as well.

Otherwise, cost of inputs were obtained from local retail outlets.

After the wheat crop was harvested, the records were collected and the

information organized. Enterprise budgets were then developed for each farm,

with consideration at this point in time given to variable costs only.


Table 1 shows the variable costs of producing one acre of wheat on the

eight north Florida farms. Notice the budgets have been separated by field

on those farms that grew more than one variety of wheat, or carried out

different practices on separate fields. Each operation such as land pre-

paration or planting contains all costs involved in that operation. For

example fertilization contains the cost of the fertilizer, fuel used in the

process, machinery rent, etc. Lubricants are figured at 15% of the total

fuel cost.



Variable Costs Of Producing One Acre On Eight Farms

Farm Number-Field 23-1
Average 15


Land Prep.






Total Variable


Variable Cost
Per Bushel










23-2 35
10 3.5

































































4.95 53.90

1.10 20.00

.45 .92

13.86 110.44

5 25.4

2.77 4.35





























19 '










20 '


2 264-3 264-4
18 12

















_ I___L i;- _ I-----1--~-------^-




In order to obtain equitable comparisons between farms with respect

to yield and total variable costs per acre, a variable cost per bushel

figure was calculated. This calculation indicated the price per bushel

of wheat a farmer would require to completely cover his variable costs.


The results from the enterprise budgets are summarized Table 2.

The total area of wheat planted by the eight farmers amounted to 314.2 acres.

Of this, 21.5 acres were not harvested due to crop failure. Yields per

acre of wheat planted ranged from 26.3 bushels to zero yield. The average

yield for all planted acres was 11.9 bushels while the average yield for

harvested acres was 12.8 bushels.

Variable costs per acre of wheat fluctuated widely. The highest was

$117.11 while the lowest was $13.86. This large variation can be explained

by various fertilization levels, custom work vs. owner operated and pur-

chased seed vs. seed saved from the previous year's crop. The wide range

in variable cost per bushel of wheat harvested from $9.44 to $.88 also re-

flects these differences in farmer management.

Summary of Wheat Budget 1981-82

Number of Farms 8
Total Acreage Planted 314.2
Total Acreage Harvested 292.7

Percent of Planted Area Harvested 93.0%


Bushels Wheat Per Planted Acre 11.9
Bushels Wheat Per Harvested Acre 12.8
Highest Yield 26.3
Lowest Yield 0

Total Variable Costs For Producing Wheat On Eight Farms:

Highest Cost Per Acre $117.11
Lowest Cost Per Acre $ 13.86

Variable Cost Per Bushel Wheat Harvested:

Highest Cost Per Bushel $ 9.44
Lowest Cost Per Bushel $ .88

Table 2.

Chapter IV




Livestock are an important component of most farms in the FSR/E

study area. On 53% of the 66 farms visited during the 1981 Sondeo,

mixed livestock/cropping systems were found, and on 24%, livestock

centered systems were found. Livestock were more important on old-line

than on recently established farms and on white-owned than on black-owned


In recent years, farmers have found it difficult to make a profit

raising either hogs or 'cattle. Market prices for both pork and beef

are low, and the cost of producing feed for the animals has increased.

Corn, the most common hog feed and also a cattle feed, has failed

consistently due to drought. In pasture and hay production, drought has

also been a problem, especially in 1981. In addition, the rising cost

of fertilizer applied to pasture has been a critical element in the

declining profitability of cattle operations and this factor can only

become more limiting in the future. Initially, area farmers commonly

apply as much.as 200-300 Ibs./acre of a mix such as 15-15-15 to bahia

and coastal bermuda, with a subsequent application of an equal amount of

ammoninum nitrate.

Problem Statement:

Because of the low native fertility of the soils of Suwannee and

Columbia Counties and the high cost of fertilizer, farmers need a legume

forage source. Ideally, it should also be resistant to pests and disease

and tolerant of dry conditions. For the FSR/E target group, a further

constraint is the limited time available to the farmers for management,

especially for part-time farmers, or, in some cases, the limited man-

agement ability they possess. A legume forage crop that requires high

management is therefore inappropriate.

Perennial peanut (Arachis glabbrata Benth.), a legume forage crop,

may overcome most or all of these contraints (see Figure 1). One

objective of the FSR/E project is to establish perennial peanut stands

(2 ac.) on small farms in the study area. In addition to providing hay

and forage for the cooperating farmers, these stands will later be used

to provide rhizome material. for additional stand establishment by both

the Universtity of Florida and the collaborators.

Three plantings have been completed at the Live Oak Agricultural

Research Center. Two are of the "Florigraze" cultivar, planted at the

Swine Research Unit. In addition to providing more rhizome material,

they will be used in sow maintenance grazing trials. The third planting

is an "Arbrook" cultivar. This cultivarhas not been planted in the

area previously. If it establishes successfully and yields adequately,

further introductions will be made.

Largely because of the difficulties involved in hand planting

perennialpeanut rhizomes prior to the availability of a bermuda sprig

digger and planter, relatively few on-farm introductions have been made.

Much more variability is expected under farm conditions than under

experiment station conditions. One of the purposes of the current trial

is to determine how well the plant establishes and yields under farm

conditions and farmer management.

Perhaps most important is the problem of weed control. Perennial

peanut is slow to establish, requiring two years, and maintaining adequate

m m Oma mm m m -mmm m m


weed control during establishment remains a problem. Some experience

has been gained at experiment stations and on farms, but no overall

weed control program has been developed, especially one adequate for the

wide variety of weed problems that are met when stands are planted on

several farms. One objective therefore is to work with collaborators

to develop adequate weed control programs specific to each farm and also

more generally applicable to the range of problems encountered in the

study area.


Approximately two acres of 'Floriagraze' perennial peanut was planted/

on each ofseven farms in the winter of 1981-82. The University of Florida

provided rhizome material and will dig and plant the rhizomes for further

propagation. Additional material (herbicides) and, in some cases,

university spray equipment has been provided to maintain weed control.

Each cooperator will permit the FSR/E team to dig rhizome material from

1/4 of the area planted on his farm after two years of establishment and

will participate in experimental work on a portion of the area planted

as well (see project summaries for "Interplanting of Summer Crop Into

Recently Established Perennial Peanut Stands" and "Interplanting of

Summer Crop into Recently Established Prennial Peanut Stands" and

"Interplanting of Winter Crop Into Recently Established Perennial Peanut


The most direct measure of the success in establishing perennial

peanut stands on area farms will be the hay yield or forage utilization

achieved once the fields are fully established. The maintenance of

production and management records is critical. These will provide the

FSR/E team with a way of comparing the success and cost of the different

management programs followed on each farm, especially in the area of

weed control. The farmer's evaluation of the potential of the crop

is equally important, a factor that can be judged best by whether or

not he decides to increase his peanut acreage.

Results and Discussion:

Experience gained through attempted on farm establishment by

cooperating farmers and farming systems personnel has led to the conclusion

that additional technologies must be developed prior to or in conjuction

with any further efforts in this area. To date, the most serious impediment

to on-farm Florigraze perennial peanut establishment is weeds.

Several options are available to control weeds. The major categories

into which these options might fall include: (1) mechanical, (2) chemical,

and (3) cultural.

Within: the first category, control methods are restricted. The narrow

row spacing and prostrate, spreading growth habit of the plant preclude

tillage as a means of weed control after planting. Thus, mechanical methods

of weed control are restricted either to pre-plant tillage operations or to

mowing after planting has occurred.

During the farmer-managed establishment trials, several different

combinations and sequences of tillage operations were performed, with

varying results (See Table 1). Is appears that land preparation by turn

plowing in the fall, followed by discing or harrowing prior to planting

in the following spring, is the best mechanical means of reducing weed

infestation subsequent to that planting. Additional observations of

some trials indicate that the post-emergence weed control obtained by

mowing is at least as effective as that control obtained through use of

chemical sprays.

Table 1. Summary of Cultural Practices for Establishment of Perennial Peanut.

Farm = Tillage

31 Plow

40 Bu/Acre

1 1/2 ts/Acre

3 lb./Acre
3/8 lb./Acre


34 Plow Florigraze Treflan Poor Severe
I 03/03/82 40 Bu/Acre 2 pts/Acre
Harrow-2x 03/03/82 Disc-2x
I --------------
I Round up
1 pt/Acre

39 2/3 Plow Florigraze Treflan Irrigated: 2/3 Exc. Moderate
02/01/82 60 Bu/Acre 2pts/Acre 6 weeks
1/3 plow 02/18/82 Disc-lx 9 weeks
02/17/82 Cultipaked 02/18/82 1/3 good
I --------------
SKleen Krop

I Mowed

41 Plow Florigraze Treflan Poor Moderate
Harrow 40 Bu/Acre 1 1/2 pts/Acre
02/16/82 Disc-lx
S3 lbs/Acre








Table 1. Summary of Cultural Practices for Establishment of Perennial Peanut.(Cont)

Farm = Tillage

49 Harrow
1/2 plow(s)

1/2 plow(s)

40 Bu/Acre

40 Bu/Acre

02/05/82 02/05/82(S)

1 1/2 pts/Acre

Round up
2 Ibs/Acre
3 Ibs/Acre

(not plowed)

(not plowed)

1/2 N-Severe


1/2 N-Severe


I 67 Plow Florigraze Treflan Poor Severe
40 Bu/Acre 1 1/2 pts/Acre (Very wet)
Harrow 02/26/82 Disc-lx

267 Harrow-2x Florigraze Treflan None Very
I 40 Bu/Acre 1 1/4 pts/Acre (After 2nd Severe:
02/25/82 Disc-lx herbicide
02/24/82 application)
2 Ibs/Acre
I Blazer
1 qt/Acre

272 Harrow

80 Bu/Acre

1 1/2 pts/Acre

Round up
2 Ibs/Acre

1/2 lb/Acre
(1/2 East)

(1/2 West)









Table 1. Summary of Cultural Practices for

Farm = Tillage

40 Bu/Acre


40 Bu/Acre

1 1/2 pts/Acre


3 Ibs/Acre
1/2 Ib/Acre


1 1/2pts/Acre
3 Ibs/Acre
1/2 Ib/Acre















Qu"u .1 y"Ll
Establishment nf Parp41 D + r

~I _


F~tahlizhmant nf Poronni~~ D~~niir Irn,+\

The chemical control of weed populations is an alternative option

to, or may be used in conjunction; with, mechanical control methods.

Within this category, several options exist. Herbicides may be applied

either pre-plant, post-emergent, or both. Currently, no herbicides are

specifically registered for use with this crop although several have

demorstratedpotential in observational trials and were therefore utilized

in the on-farm trials.

Again, numerous chemicals and methods of application were tried, with

varying degrees of success. Indications are that the pre-plant application

of Treflan provided poor weed control and may, in fact, have damaged the

perennial peanut plants, resulting in a reduction in stand. Further

research needs to be conducted before any recommendations for herbicide

use can be made to farmers.

The use of chemicals to control weeds, however,, presents a problem

in that several of the cooperating farmers do not own spray equipment

adequate for herbicide application. Others do not possess the expertise

needed for the use of such chemicals while still others simply do not

wish to "poison the land".

The final category of weed control options involves cultural techniques

Factors included within this category are variety selection, row spacing,

planting rate, fertilization, irrigation, etc. All of the farm trials

were basically the same in regards to these factors. However, the

possibility of increased weed control through manipulation of these

elements exists, and since these generally involve less capital investment

than those in the other categories, they may offer the best alternatives

for the low resource farmer. For example, early indications are that the

Arbrook cultivar which was planted on the Live Oak Agricultural Research

Center is far superior to the Florigraze variety. A Change to this

cultivar may help to overcome the establishment problems observed

in the first year of on-farm trials.



One of the goals of the on-farm perennial peanut trials is to

provide rhizome materials for propagation on additional acreages. This

requires that the propagation materials be free from contamination by

any foreign plant materials. Infestation of perennial peanut by bermuda

grass presently is a serious barrier to obtaining the clean material needed.

Two studies have been initiated at the Live Oak Agricultural Research

Center to determine the herbicide treatments necessary to attain this end.


Both experiments were conducted using a randomized complete block

design with four replications. At the time of the fall applications, the

bermuda/perennial peanut mixture was approximately 50/50, with the

bermuda showing a slight brewing of the tips. The plants were in an active

stage of growth. Prior to the spring applications and while both the

bermuda grass and peanuts were dormant, the fields were burned off.


(1) Day vs. night application of glyphosate and dalapon on
perennial peanuts (applied in fall only).

a. Downpon-M broadcast sprayed at 2.5, and 10.0 lbs;. a.i.
per acre, applied either at night or daytime.
b. Roundup broadcast at 1.0, 2.0 and 4.0 Ibs. a.i. per
acre, applied either at night or daytime.

(2) Fall vs. spring application for bermuda grass control in
perennial peanut.

a. Poast and Fusilade sprayed at 0.25, 0.50 and 1.0 Ibs.
a.i. per acre, applied either in fall or spring, or
in both seasons.
b. Dowpon-M broadcast sprayed at 1.0 and 2.0 Ibs. a.i.
per acre, applied either in fall or spring, or in
both seasons.

c. Roundup broadcast sprayed at 1.0 and 2.0 Ibs. a.i.
per acre,, applied either in fall or spring, or in
both seasons.

Data Gathered:

Visual ratings of effectiveness of treatments upon control

of bermuda grasswere made after each time of treatment as

well as later in thesummer following the spring application.

Damage to perennial peanut in response to treatments also

was assessed by visual ratings at the same times.


Data from the first study indicate that little or no control of

perennial bermuda grass may be obtained without serious injury to the

perennial peanut with either of the chemicals tested. Neither time of

applications (day vs. night) nor rate of application provided suitable

control when applied in the late fall.

The second study clearly shows that with the materials tested, the

best time of application for control of well-established bermuda grass

in perennial peanut sod is the spring (Table 1). The same data also

indicate that application of herbicides in the spring, while resulting

in less peanut injury than did the fall/spring combination, did not

cause significantly more damage than did the fall application. Thus it

appears that a spring application would be the best recommendation as to

season for the most complete control of bermuda grass with the least

damage to the perennial peanut.

Dowpon-M (dalapon) at both the 2.5.and 5.0 Ibs/acre rates provided

significantly better bermuda grass control than any of the other compounds

tested in the spring-applied trials (Table 2). In addition, the 2.5 lb

rate of Dowpon-M was in that grouping of chemicals which caused the

least damage to the perennial peanut (Table 3) and thus appears to be

the best overall treatment.

Further Research Areas:

Observations from on-farm trials and research station tests indicate

the need for the development of additional weed control technologies if

perennial peanut is to have a place in the farming systems of north

Florida. Suggested areas of further investigation include:

(1) Fall application of a broad spectrum herbicide prior to the

fall tillage operations. This should be done both with and

without turn-plowing as one of the tillage treatments, to

investigate the possibility of reducing energy inputs while

increasing weed control. The use of a broad spectrum herbicide

such as Roundup, should prove especially effective when the

major problem is perennial, weeds such as bermuda grass, commonly

found in forage situations.

(2) The simultaneous planting of a winter small grain such as rye

or wheat at the same time the perennial peanut is planted. This

practice would allow the production and sale of a secondary crop

(small grain) during a period in which the primary corp is being

established, thus doubling the land utilization. Additionally,

the small grain would provide early season weed control by shading

the weeds and reducing competition.* Such a practice should also

* ( a thesis study currently is in progress on shade effect on rate/extent
of perennial peanut establishment.)

result in increased soil moisture at a time when the newly

establishedperennial peanut plant would normally be suffering

from a water deficit.

(3) The use of a wick-type applicator with a broad spectrum herbicide

for weed control in the late spring following planting of

rhizomes. At this time a growth differential exists between

the weeds and the postrate perennial peanut plants which would

allow the selective application of a herbicide to the weeds

without affecting the peanuts. Such a technique would require

neither high capital outlays for spray equipment and chemicals

nor technical expertise in herbicide application.

(4) Additional studies, which may be overlayed onto on-farm establishment

trials, to accertain the effects of Treflan and other pre-plant

herbicides upon newly established perennial peanut. Post-emergence

materials should also be examined, again with overlaid,, on-farm


(5) Continuations of the initial herbicide screening trial conducted

during this past season to remove perennial grasses from established

perennial peanut for propagation material. The trial should be

focused upon the materials which showed greatest promise in the

1981-82 trials.

Table 1.


Season % Bermuda Control % Peanut Damage

Fall 8.8 az 17.4 ab

Fall/Spring 41.6 b 26.4 a

Spring 46.6 b 21.0 b

z. Means followed by different letters significantly different by
Duncan's MRT (a = 0.05)

Table 2



Herbicide Rate % Bermuda Control

Dowpon-M 5.0# 95.0 az

2.5# 82.5 a

Round Up 2.0# 62.5 b

Poast 1.0# 50.0 b c

0.5# 37.5 c d

Fusilade 1.0# 37.5 c d

0.25# 35.0 c d

Round Up 1.0# 32.5 c d

Fusilade 0.5# 27.5 d

Poast 0.25# 27.5 d

z Means followed by different
Duncan's MRT (a = 0.05)

letters significantly different by

Table 3








Round Up


Round Up













% Peanut Damage

2.5 az

5.0 a b

10.0 a b

12.5 a b

12.5 a b

17.5 a b c

20.0 a b c

27.5 b c

40.0 c

72.5 d

z = Means followed by different( letters
different by Duncan's MRT (a=0.25).





The rise in costs of agricultural inputs and energy use today,

represents a major constraint in crop production throughout the world.

The areas most affected by this phenomenon are those with low fertility

soils and high occurrence of pest problems. In these areas, heavy use

of fertilizers, and pesticides, in addition to large quantities of fuel

to apply these products, is required to obtain good yields. Florida

is an example of this; in fact, this state has some of the most energy-

intensive agricultural systems, not only in the U.S. but in the world.

Under these conditions, crop management based on the energy-saving

concept is a "must" in order to make crop production profitable and meet

successfully any upcoming energy crisis. In addressing only the ferti-

lizer issue and restricting it to nitrogen fertilization alone, green

manure incorporation has been an excellent management practice to restore

soil fertility and provide significant amounts of nitrogen to the

following crop. Still, this has not been the case in Florida where

this N-contribution is not substantial. Experimental data shows that

although a green manure crop with 250 Ibs. of N per acre was incorporated,

the turnover rate of this nutrient in the follow-up crop did not go over

40 Ibs. per acre (Prine, 1981. Personal communication) and the yield

achieved was low. Although this pehonomenom has been observed repeatedly,

there is no quantitative explanation that accounts for the loss of most of

the nitrogen in the green manure.

Besides green manure, minimum tillage in the form of a "living

mulch" may be a good alternative for reducing production costs and

energy use. An intercrop system of perennial peanut (Arachis glabrata,

Benth.) as a living mulch associated with other crops is an alternative

with some possibilities of success over the constraints mentioned

before. Farmers would get the benefits of a mulch plus a forage crop,

in addition to their normal field crop. A living mulch has the potential

advantages of improving soil fertility and structure, control weed growth,

prevent soil erosion, and reduce leaching. A high protein, leguminous

forage crop such as perennial peanut could provide substantial amounts of

nitrogen to the associated field crop through the descomposition of its

roots and leaves.

The Project and Its Objectives.

An experiment was established in the Agronomy farm (University of

Florida main campus) during the winter season 1981 to study nitrogen

cycling in three cropping-management systems: wheat intercropped with

perennial peanut, wheat in green manure (p. peanut clippings) incorporated

plots, and conventionally-tilled wheat. Fertilizer with 15N, a heavier

N isotope, had been applied to a perennial peanut sod before the experiment

was established, making possible the tracing of nitrogen in the first and

second systems throughout space (soil, leachate, and plants) and time (3

to 5 years). The objectives of this study are the following:

1. Quantify over time the differences in the amount of nitrogen found

in soil, leachate and plant samples taken in plots receiving three

different management systems

2. Generate an annual N-cycle budget for each of the three management


3. Determine approximate time for N-fertilizer applications of

winter and summer crops grown under the different systems

4. Quantify the N-contribution of perennial peanut made to a cropping

system by N-fixation.


Fiberglass cylinders were pressed into the ground where a six-year-old

perennial peanut cultivar (Florigraze) was already established. In this

confined area a 15N laneled fertilizer was applied in early November at

the rate of 50 kg/ha. Eight weeks later the vegetative parts were clipped

in these confined areas and were incorporated (simulating a green manure

crop) in other cylinders. At the same time the p. peanut sod that was

clipped was transplanted into other cylinders with non-contaminated soils

("living mulch" system). Both of these systems (green manure and "living

mulch') were planted with wheat, and so was a third group of cylinders that

was conventionally tilled.

Samples have been taken since the beginning of the experiment for soil,

clippings of pernnial peanut, leachate, and wheat plants. Subsequent crops

will be grown in those cylinders (millet in summer, wheat or rye in the

winter) and samplingwill continue. The ikea is monitor the labeled 15N

through the agricultural cycles, tracing it as it moves from the decomposing

peanut material into the soil,through the soil solution and moves into the

plants. All the samples will be analyzed for total nitrogen content, with

the green manure and "living mulch" systems also being analyzed for 14N:15N

ratio by means of the mass spectrometer.

The experiment consists basically of three systems:

1. Green manure 2. living mulch 3. conventionally tilled; with

management rates: no nitrogen and the recommended rate for the crop

in turn. So that makes a total of six treatments replicated five

times each in a randomized block design. No results are available

yet since the analyses for all the samples are still to be made.



Perennial peanut, is a perennial forage legume that may become a

component in farming systems in the area in the near future. Perennial

peanut survives in a semi-dormant state in the winter months(from the first

killing frost till March). Based on previous exploratory work it appears

feasible to plant a winter crop into the peanut sod in the late fall.after

its vegetative growth has stopped. A farmer could make use of the area

planted in perennial peanut during its dormant period, there by producing

winter wheat in addition to the normal summer peanut hay crop. The po-

tential advantages to this system are many, including lower land preparation

cost, soil and moisture conservation and an almost continuous production

throughout the year on the same land using a relatively low management system.

Perennial peanut characteristically developed a 5-7 cm thick rhizome mat

5-7 cm beneath the soil surface. A deep root system extends down from these

rhizomes. Because of the depth of the rhizomes and the continuous deep

roots, the top 5-7 cm of soil can be scarified to facilitate the incorporation

of an overseeded winter crop.

Most farmers have at their disposal a disc harrow which could be adjusted

to achieve the required superficial seed incorporation. Many farmers now

plant their winter small grains with a standard single disc opener grain

drill which could also be used in the sod once the surface was scarified.

A no-till grain drill could also be used to plant the winter small grain into

the sod, however the cost of this equipment is beyond the level that many

farmers are willing to pay.

At present the disc harrow, the single disc opener grain drill and the

no-till planter are the available alternatives for seeding into a perennial

peanut sod. The effect of any one of these seeding methods on subsequent

peanut hay yield and other questions such as weed encroachment are unanswered.

Problem Statement:

In order to make this practice feasible for area farmers, a practical

method of planting the winter crop into the perennial peanut sod must be

found. The method should utilize equipment that is readily available to

most farmers. One objective of this trial therefore is to determine how

successfully a winter crop can be established in perennial peanut sod using

commonly available farm machinery.

A second objective of the trial is to determine the effect of the winter

crop on perennial peanut hay yield and quality during the following summer

growing season.

Winter wheat grain yield and the effect of the winter wheat on succeeding

peanut hay yield both may be affected by wheat stand density. The most

effective seeding rate may also vary with the method of planting. A third

objective of this experiment, therefore, is to examine the effect of seeding

rate on the other parameters. under consideration.


Florida 301 wheat was planted into an established perennial peanut sod

on Nov. 24, 1981 at the University of Florida's research unit at Green Acres.

The experiment was designed as a randomized complete block. The main treat-

ments consisted of 3 methods of planting which include, 1.) no-till drill

(Pasture Pleasertm). 2.) a standard single disc opener grain drill and

3.) an orchard disc harrow. Except for the no-till seeded treatment a

preplant discing was made one time across the plots to scarify the soil

surface and incorporate 300 Ibs./A. of 0-10-20 with micro-elements mixed

with 30/1bs./A. of ammonium nitrate. The broadcast-disc treatment received

an addition single pass discing at a right angle to the first offer the

seed was hand distributed over the plots. The standard grain drill was

run at a right angle to the first discing. The no-till drill achieved

seed incorporation by cutting the sod with a colter, opening this cut

for seed placement with a double disc opener and pressing slit closed with

a press wheel.

The subtreatment consisted of three wheat seeding rates, 1.5 2.0 and

2.5 bu./A. All treatments were replicated four times.

Wheat data collection was taken at harvest which occurred on 5/17/82.

The effect of the overseeded crop on perennial peanut hay production will

be measured during the summer growing season.

Results and Discussion

Further results are forth coming as plant samples and subsequent data

are analyzed. Averaging across seeding rates it becomes clear that the no-

till system of planting has resulted in significantly higher yields (Figure 1)

followed by broadcast than the standard grain drill. A closer examination

(Table 1) indicated that grain yield obtained from the broadcast low seeding

rate treatment was not significantly different from yields obtained with

the no-till system of planting. Within the broadcast planting method it

is not clear why higher yields were obtained with the lower seeding rate.

The important point to note is that a simple planting system such as broad-

cast and disc which requires lower capital investment in terms of tractor

size and seeder,yielded close to that of a higher capital requiring no-till


m - - --- -

Figure i.


(planted Dec. 25- Green Acres Research Unit, Gainesville)











.-~. ** *

;. :




Grain Drill

Method of Planting into Perennial Peanut Sod


ir ~


;Ir~, Z

-; -i-

The lower yields obtained from the standard grain drill seeded treatment

are primarily a result of poor plant stand establishment. The single disc

opener seeder did not place the seed deep enough nor did it cover the seed

sufficiently in the sod seed bed to achieve good seed to soil contact.

This resulted in poor germination.

Table 1. Florida 301 weat grain yeilds for methods of planting into
perennial peanut sod, 1981-82.

Broadcast Standard grain No-till
disc drill drill

Seeding rate (Bu./A.)
1.5. 2 2.5 1.5 2 2.5 1.5 2 2.5

21.4a 20.4ab 17.8abc 11.4c 12.6abc 11.1 24.0a 24.6a 22.0a

Means followed by different letters are significantly different by
Duncan's MRT (a= 0.05).


Preliminary results from this years trial indicate that modification in

planting technique for both the standard grain drill and broadcast systems

of planting could potentially raise the yield levels to approximate that of

no-till drill. However at this time we can recommend a broadcast and disc

system of planting wheat into established perennial peanut as an acceptable

low cost method.

It still remains to be determined the long run consequences to perennial

peanut hay production by overseeding winter wheat.

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