TABLE OF CONTENTS
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
E. C. French
CHARACTERIZATION OF THE SMALL FARMS IN SUWANNEE
AND COLUMBIA COUNTIES
Social and Economic Characteristics
Women on the Farm
Management and Learning Curve
WINTER WHEAT AS AN ALTERNATIVE
Winter Wheat as an Alternative to Corn on North Florida
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
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TABLE OF CONTENTS -2
PERENNIAL PEANUT AS AN ALTERNATIVE FORAGE CROP
Perennial Peanut Establishment
Herbicide Grass Control in an Established Perennial
Herbicide Evaluation in the Establishment of Perennial
Nitrogen Cycling in Perennial Peanut
Method of Planting Wheat into Established Perennial
Rye and Ryegrass Overseeded into Established Perennial
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
OTHER ALTERNATIVE FORAGES AND GRAINS
Millet-Pigeon Pea Intercrop as an Alternative Forage
Alyceclover On-Farn Trials
Grain Amaranth Screening
SOIL FERTILITY AND MOISTURE MANAGEMENT
Overlaid Trials on Corn
Fertilizer Recommendation and Use
P, K, and Mg Fertilizer Level Trials With Soybean
OTHER ACTIVITIES AND 1982/83 PROGRAMMING
Computer Application in Designing Field Experiments
National Activities and Professional Meetings of FSR/E
International Activities, FSR/E Program, 1981-82
FSR/E Proposed Calendar of Projects, 1981-1983
CHARACTERIZATION OF THE SMALL FARMS IN
SUWANNEE AND COLUMBIA COUNTIES
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)
S10 L2 C1
(15.1%) (3.1%) (1.5%)
M 19 L I
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
RECENTLY ESTABLISHED 196
Table 1. -- Selected Characteristics of the "Recently Established" and
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
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
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 specialized machinery
Skewed geographic distribution (none
in southern Suwannee county)
Low.- frequency in sample (40%)
Predominantly livestock centered
Larger (221 acres)
More capital availability
Larger tobacco acreage
High frequency of peanut-centered
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.
SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS
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
WOMEN ON THE FARM
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
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.
BIOPHYSICAL CONSTRAINTS IN THE NORTH FLORIDA STUDY AREA
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.
MANAGEMENT ON NORTH FLORIDA FARMS AND THE LEARNING CURVE
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
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
,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
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 -- -
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
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.
WINTER WHEAT AS AN ALTERNATIVE
WINTER WHEAT AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO CORN ON NORTH FLORIDA FAMILY FARMS
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.
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
Figure 1. Wheat Research Scheme '81-82.
M M M M
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.
-i s Family
LABOR REQUIREMENTS FOR CORN
J F M A J A N
1 1 1 1
Figure 3. LABOR REQUIREMENTS FOR WHEAT
FLORIDA 301 WHEAT ON-FARM EVALUATION
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
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.
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,
100 120 140 160
I I I I I I I
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-
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
WHEAT TIME OF PLANTING TRIAL
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
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
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
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.
FERTILIZER APPLICATION ON WHEAT PLANTED ALONE AND
PLANTED INTO ESTABLISHED PERENNIAL PEANUT STANDS
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.
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
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
1981-82 WHEAT YIELD
(planted Dec. 14- Live Oak A.R.C.)
_____________ _____ I ______________ n
Nitrogen Fertilizer Rate
Figure 2. 1981-82 WHEAT YIELD-Conventionally Tilled
(planted Dec. 14 Live Oak A.R.C.)
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.)
(Bu/Ac) 5II a -
a/ 80 /Ac
60 /Ac 80*/Ac
Nitrogen Fertilizer Rate
- mmmmmmmimm mmmm m m m
1981-82 WHEAT YIELD-Conventionally Tilled
(planted Dec. 14- Live Oak A.R.C.)
Nitrogen Fertilizer Rate
FLORIDA 301 WHEAT GRAZING TRIAL
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.
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.)
Table 2. Grain Yield, Beef Research Unit Grazing Trial, Second Planting Date
Mean Grain Yield
Weeks Grazed (bu./ac.)
2 25.2 J
6 12.8 1
1981-82 WHEAT GRAZING
(planted Oct. 30- Beef Research Unit, Gainesville)
0 2 4 6 8 10 12
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
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
1981-82 WHEAT GRAZING
(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
BRU grazing began on Dec. 29 for 1st planting and
Jan. 27 for the 2nd planting.
1981-82 WHEAT GRAZING
(planted Oct. 28- on-farm trial, Columbia County)
0 2 4 6
(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
2 22.9 I
m m m m m m m m m m m m m- mmmmm
1981-82 WHEAT GRAZING
(planted Dec. 4 Beef Research Unit, Gainesville)
WHEAT ENTERPRISE RECORDS
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
Table 1. ENTERPRISE BUDGET FOR HEATT 1981-82
Variable Costs Of Producing One Acre On Eight Farms
Farm Number-Field 23-1
2 264-3 264-4
_ 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
PERENNIAL PEANUT AS AN ALTERNATIVE FORAGE CROP
PERENNIAL PEANUT ESTABLISHMENT
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
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
Figure 1. PERENNIAL PEANUT RESEARCH SCHEME 81-82
I PERENNIAL PEANUT SYSTEMS I
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
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
Table 1. Summary of Cultural Practices for Establishment of Perennial Peanut.
Farm = Tillage
1 1/2 ts/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 Round up
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
41 Plow Florigraze Treflan Poor Moderate
Harrow 40 Bu/Acre 1 1/2 pts/Acre
Table 1. Summary of Cultural Practices for Establishment of Perennial Peanut.(Cont)
Farm = Tillage
1 1/2 pts/Acre
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
1 1/2 pts/Acre
Table 1. Summary of Cultural Practices for
Farm = Tillage
1 1/2 pts/Acre
Qu"u .1 y"Ll
Establishment nf Parp41 D + r
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.
HERBICIDE GRASS CONTROL IN AN ESTABLISHED PERENNIAL.PEANUT STAND
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
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
c. Roundup broadcast sprayed at 1.0 and 2.0 Ibs. a.i.
per acre,, applied either in fall or spring, or in
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
INFLUENCE OF TIME OF APPLICATION UPON CONTROL OF BERMUDA GRASS IN PERENNIAL PEANUT.
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)
CONTROL OF ESTABLISHED BERMUDA GRASS IN PERENNIAL PEANUT SOD WITH SPRING-APPLIED
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
INJURY FROM SPRING-APPLIED HERBICIDES
% Peanut Damage
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
z = Means followed by different( letters
different by Duncan's MRT (a=0.25).
NITROGEN CYCLING IN PERENNIAL PEANUT
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.
METHOD OF PLANTING WHEAT INTO ESTABLISHED
PERENNIAL PEANUT STANDS
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.
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
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 - - --- -
1981-82 WHEAT YIELD
(planted Dec. 25- Green Acres Research Unit, Gainesville)
.-~. ** *
Method of Planting into Perennial Peanut Sod
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.