!:CRTH FLCGIDA EXPERIMENT STATION
NORTH FLORIDA STATION MIMEO REPORT NFS64-2
PRODUCTION OF SMALL GRAINS IN NORTH FLORIDA
by D. T. Sechler
Small grains can be grown in the North Florida area for winter pasture, grain,
green manure or a combination of these. The choice of a particular grain and the variety
to use is quite dependent upon how the crop is to be used and growing conditions.
Suggestions included in this report are based on experimental work conducted at the
North Florida Experiment Station.
CHOOSING THE BEST GRAIN FOR A SPECIFIC PURPOSE
Rye will produce more forage than other small grains. Growing at lower temperatures
than oats or wheat, abundant forage is produced during the winter months when other pasture
is not available. The ability to grow under a wide range of conditions makes rye slightly
more dependable for winter grazing than the other small grains. It is better suited to
the lower fertility, sandy soils also. Rye forage is less palatable to livestock than
oat or wheat forage although this is not a problem unless unbalanced grain mixtures are
used or more than one crop is seeded in the same field. Rye is poorly suited as a grain
crop because of relatively low grain yields under Florida conditions and the fact that
the grain is less palatable and more likely to cause digestive disturbances than other
grains. Rye cannot be seeded as early as oats due to high seedling losses from diseases
and high temperatures.
Oats are best suited for both forage and grain production. Unless overgrazed or
grazed too late in the spring, a desirable variety will produce a good yield of high
quality grain in addition to the forage. For good grain yields following fall and winter
grazing, however, fertilizer applications must be adequate or the inherent fertility
relatively high. Erect types will provide earlier grazing than decumbent types but are
more easily damaged by uncontrolled grazing. Forage production of most oat varieties
will exceed the production of rye in the late spring, but winter production is lower,
being more dependent upon climatic conditions. Oat forage is of high quality and even
though production is usually below that of rye, the gains of livestock per acre will
usually be about equal. Oats do well on a number of the better soil types in Florida
and the grain provides a palatable, nutritious livestock feed. Oats can be seeded
relatively early without seedling loss.
Wheat is the most profitable of the small grains as a cash grain crop, but it is
normally less suitable than either rye or oats for grazing. Most adapted wheat varieties
make very little growth until spring, thus little pasture is available when grazing needs
are greatest. Wheat is best suited to the heavier soils of Northwest Florida. Only soft
wheat varieties produce grain of acceptable quality under Florida climatic conditions.
Barley has been found poorly adapted to this area. Disease problems make the
production of present barley varieties impractical either for grain or forage. However,
with the advent of new varieties some of these disease problems may be overcome.
- 2 -
Rye (late fall and early winter grazing) Wrens Abruzzi, Florida Black
(winter and spring grazing) Gator, Wrens Abruzzi, Explorer
Oats (fall grazing) Florad
(late fall, winter, and spring grazing) Suregrain, Radar 2, Floriland,
and Radar 1.
(late spring grazing) Red Rustproof
Wheat Hadden will provide the earliest grazing. Coastal, Bledsoe, or Wakeland
will provide some late winter and spring grazing although wheat is less
suited generally than either oats or rye.
For grain production
Oats Suregrain, Moregrain, Radar 2, Radar 1, Florad
Wheat Wakeland, Hadden, Ga 1123
Rye Not generally recommended for feed grain production but Wrens Abruzzi would
be preferable since it is more tolerant of anthracnose.
As a dual-purpose crop
Oats Suregrain, Radar 2, Radar 1, Floriland.
To assist in the selection of a desirable variety for specific conditions, descrip-
tions of some common varieties are included along with tables showing comparative perform
Gator A medium early variety with semi-winter growth habit and some mildew and leaf
rust resistance. Superiority of Gator is best shown in years when these diseases are
prevalent. Susceptibility to anthracnose is a problem in grain production, but apparently
does not seriously reduce forage production. Non-uniformity of plant types is quite
noticeable from time plants start to joint until the full head stage. Kernels are plump
and light in color. Straw is tall and stiff but grain yields are low if anthracnose is
present. This variety produces an abundance of vegetative growth for grazing over a longer
period of time than provided by most varieties.
Florida Black A very early maturing variety with an upright growth habit. Rather
susceptible to leaf rust, mildew, and anthracnose. Kernels are small and range from very
dark to medium light in color. Grain yield is fair with slightly better test weight than
Gator. Makes more early growth than Gator but over-all forage production is less and
spring grazing period is shorter.
Wrens Abruzzi A medium early variety with upright growth type. Rather susceptible
to mildew and leaf rust. Appears to be more tolerant to anthracnose than any other rye
variety. Kernels are plump and light in color and yields are relatively good. Similar
to Florida Black in that it will produce an abundance of early forage but will provide
grazing later in spring than Florida Black.
Explorer A medium late semi-winter type with fair leaf rust resistance. Rather
susceptible to mildew and anthracnose. Grain yield and test weight are rather low.
Provides grazing during same season as Gator but usually in lesser amounts. Would have
little advantages over Gator in this area.
Elbon is not considered a dependable variety because of its late maturity in relation
to leaf rust and anthracnose susceptibility. Balbo and Mississippi Abruzzi are winter
types that normally make very little growth during the winter months when grazing is
Suregrain A medium early, hardy, high tillering variety with intermediate growth habit.
Good forage producer during winter and spring. Susceptible only to rare races of crown
rust and resistant to Victoria blight, culm rot, and smut. Short stiff straw with kernel
that is light in color, plump, and free of awns. High test weight and yield. An
excellent dual-purpose oat if both pasture and grain is needed.
Moregrain A variety similar in most ways to Suregrain. In Florida tests, however,
it has been much more susceptible to crown rust and lodging and has produced less forage.
Grain yield and quality are good.
Radar 1 An early, dual-purpose oat variety that makes a semi-erect growth and
produces an abundance of winter and spring forage. Short, stiff straw with relatively
plump kernels of a uniform golden yellow color. Susceptible to several new races of
crown rust but resistant to most as well as to smut, Victoria blight, and culm rot. Good
yield and test weight.
Radar 2 A sister variety to Radar 1 with similar disease reaction and yield potential,
Slightly taller, larger kernels, and produces slightly more forage than Radar 1. Kernels
range in color from light yellow through white. Both Radar varieties are susceptible to
red leaf and soil-borne mosaic viruo Slightly superior to Radar 1 for grazing.
Floriland An early, high tillering variety with semi-winter growth habit. Excellent
forage producer during winter and spring. Susceptible to several new races of crown rust
but resistant to older races as well as Victoia blight, soil-borne mosaic virus, and
culm rot. Kernels are red, medium plumLp, awned, and hava basal hairs which result in
relatively low test weight. Grain yields are fair,
Florad A very early variety with an erect growth habit and low tillering potential.
Makes more vigorous early growth but less spring growth than Floriland. More susceptible
to cold damage than Floriland but is normally sufficiently hardy for Florida if properly
managed. Due to the rapid growth and possibility of damage from late spring freezes
when seeded early and not grazed, do not seed solely for grain production until late
November or December. Straw is tall but stiff. Resistance to crown rust and many other
common diseases is the best available in a commercially adapted variety but it is highly
susceptible to soil-borne mosaic virus. Kernels are light reddish-yellow in color, plump,
awned (usually thresh off), and normally free of basal hairs. Test weight and yield are
usually good. An excellent variety for green manure where abundant growth is needed
Red Rustproof #14' A tall, late variety with winter growth habit. Is rustproof only
in sense it is a late muster and nay escape some damage. Quite resistant to Victoria
blight and culm rot. Kernels are red, slender, and awned with basal hairs and sucker
mouth. Produces an abundance of very late forage. Grain yields are quite variable and
straw is very weak.
Southland Not considered a dependable variety because of extreme susceptibility to
Seminole Not considered as dependable as Florad because of greater susceptibility to
Arlington and Victorgrain Not considered as dependable varieties because of suscepti-
bility to Victoria blight and prevalent races of crown rust.
Wakeland Early maturing variety with short stiff straw and semi-winter growth
habit. Resistant to mildew and prevalent leaf rust races but susceptible to soil-borne
mosaic. Has been the highest yielding variety tested in North Florida. Grain quality
Hadden New, very early variety released by Coker Seed Company. Is slightly
earlier and shorter than Wakeland with better mildew resistance. No leaf rust has been
found on this variety as yet. Potential grain yield and quality are no greater than
Wakeland and may tend to lodge slightly more. Hadden has a spring growth habit with
much seedling vigor and more forage potential early in the season than Wakeland.
Georgia 1123 Moderately short straw, awnlets, early maturing with resistance to
leaf rust, Hessian fly, and soil-borne mosaic. Rather susceptible to mildew. Kernels
harder than those of the standard soft variety, Chancellor, and tends to be slightly
lower than Wakeland or Hadden in test weight. Heads appear less numerous and yields
have been below Wakeland and Hadden.
Bledsoe A very tall but relatively stiff strawed variety. Semi-winter type of
growth and medium early maturity. Moderately resistant to mildew and soil-borne mosaic
but very susceptible to the new races of leaf rust. Bledsoe is no longer a dependable
variety in the commercial wheat growing areas.
Coastal A medium tall, stiff strawed variety that is somewhat tolerant to leaf
rust and mildew. Growth is rather upright and early growth is abundant. Is a good
grazing wheat but is not dependable for grain in commercial areas because of suscepti-
bility to leaf rust and mildew.
Coker 47-28 and Coker 57-6 Not dependable varieties because of susceptibility to
leaf rust and mildew. Are too late and tall to fit well into a wheat-soybean rotation.
Anderson and Chancellor Not dependable varieties in North Florida because of
late maturity and disease susceptibility.
GENERAL SUGGESTIONS FOR GROWING SMALL GRAINS
Date of seeding Seed oats for grazing between September 15 and October 15. Do
not seed rye until after October 15. Good grain yields of oats, rye, and wheat may be
obtained from seedings made from November until late December.
Seeding Use clean, viable, high quality seed of a recommended variety and sow on
a clean, firm, well-prepared seedbed. A firm seedbed will result in less seedling loss
and less winter damage. Treat seed with Ceresan or Delsan to control seed-borne
diseases. Seedling loss can be reduced and yields of early forage increased by seed
Combination seedings Crimson clover can be seeded with oats or rye to lengthen
grazing season. For best results use an early, upright oat or rye variety. Sow 20
pounds of crimson clover with 3 bushels of oats or 1 to 1 1/2 bushels of rye.
Rate of seeding If early grazing is desired, 3 to 4 bushels of oats per acre
should be seeded. Two bushels are adequate for grain production or when seeding a high
tillering variety for late grazing. Seed most rye varieties at rates of 1 1/2 to 2
bushels per acre although 1 bushel is adequate of a small seeded variety like Florida
- 5 -
Black. From 1 to 1 1/2 bushels per acre of wheat should be seeded depending upon seed
Fertilization Have soil tested and apply any lime that is needed and the
recommended grade and quantity of mixed fertilizer. If soil test results are not
available, apply 400-500 pounds per acre of 4-12-12 or a similar fertilizer at time of
seeding, For grain production topdress with 24 to 32 pounds of nitrogen per acres
when grain is 8 to 10 inches tall. For grazing apply 60 to 100 pounds of nitrogen per
acre preferably in split applications. Phosphorus is very important in early root
development which can result in more early grazing and less winterkill.
Harvesting Do not graze until 6 to 8 inches tall. Do not overgraze. Do not
graze too late in the season if harvesting for grain. Rotational grazing will utilize
growth most efficiently. Rye must be kept grazed or the forage will become stemmy and
unpalatable. For hay, cut in soft dough stage. When grain is combined, do not attempt
to store grain containing over 12-13% moisture.
Purchasing seed in 1963 Cold weather destroyed much of the 1962 oat and rye crop
and seed will be in short supply. To insure delivery, order seed as early as possible.
If seed of an oat variety recommended for grazing is not available, Moregrain can be
used. Seed supplies of Moreg:?ain are adequate. If seed supplies of Gator and Wrens
Abruzzi are not adequate, Explorer seed can be brought in from more northern areas
and used. Do not buy seed of Abruzzi types other than Wrens. Do not buy seed of Cumter,
Roanoke, Dubois, or other similar winter oat varieties as they will rust badly ana make
almost no winter growth.
Comparison of Small Grains Crops for Grain and Forage Production in 1963.
# Green Forage produced/acre Test wt. Yield
Grain Jan. 2 Feb. 20. Mnr._29 Total #/ bu. # grain/acre
Gator Rye 10164 6431 8712 25337 52.5 1254
Suregrain Oats 4028 3158 9220 17206 33.5 1018
Wakeland Wheat 5663 4320 4247 14230 58.0 2334
Pace Barley 5191 3.525 5445 12161 40.0 1421
In 1963 grain yields of oats were much below normal due to winterkilling, yield and
quality of barley was below normal due to a bad disease epidemic.
NORTH FLORIDA EXPERIMENT STATION
Comparison of Rye Varieties
3 yr. ave. (Quincy)
Leaf Leaf Anthracnose4/
Lodging Rust Mildew /blotch3/ Severity % Forage
(%) (%) (%) (%) (0-5) by Feb.15
Forage Test wt. Yld.
Prod. #/ bu. bu/A
Gator I 3/24 20 TR 35 35 4 63.5 100 .AL,016 50.0 13.2 13.0
Florida Black S 11 5 45 45 40 3 74.7 115 16,734 54.0 21.4 17.1
Wrens Abruzzi I-S 21 10 60 60 40 1 68.5 110 19,635 53.0 22.9 28.2
Explorer I 30 45 40 55 25 4 53.4 90 19,865 50.5 16.3 20.5
Elbon I 28 30 60 60 30 4 105 20,305 52.5 20.4
Balbo W 4/6 80 90 65 20 4 57.7 85 21,526 3.0
Miss. Abruzzi I-W 4/2 40 50 55 25 0 49.4 85 19,464 51.0 15.7
: From tests conducted by Mr. R. W. Lipscomb at Marianna
1/ I- intermediate, S-spring, W-winter growth habit
2/ Mildew readings in 1963 only
3/ Leaf blotch is 2 yr. ave. (1961-62)
4/ Anthracnose is 2 yr. ave. (1962-63)
5/ Forage production of Elbon, Balbo, Miss. Abruzzi and Explorer was
much higher accordingly than other varieties in 1963 due to their
greater winterhardiness which is reflected in the yield.
NORTH FLORIDA EXPERIMENT STATION
Comparison of Oat Varieties
2 Vog.- 2<3~ ___- C ro_ __ _
Lodg- Crov a
Rust #green forage/A
(%) Total ` by f-eb-15
3 yr.ave.5 yr.ave 3 yr.,Ave
(Quincv) (Quincy) (Quincv) i i.anna"-2/
fio.agQeU 'Test wt."; Yld. Toot .Wt. Yld.
1963 (Marianna) *
% Stand I Yid.
#/bu. bu/A .#/hu bu/A Feb. 28
* From tests conducted by R. W. Lipscomb at Marianna
1/ I-intermediate S-spring, W-winter
2/ 1963 data was not averaged in because spring types
varieties did not react normally under the adverse
3/ Clipping made prior to the heavy freeze,
4/ Spring type oats were killed so badly varieties were not harvested.
Viev y "
V-lr v w H d ( .
NORTH FLORIDA EXPERIMENT STATION
Comparison of Wheat Varieties
3 yr. ave. (Quincy) Marianna
Type i/ Date Ht Lodging Leaf Rust Mildew Forage Rating Test Wt. Yld. Yld.
Growth Headed (in.) (%) (%) (%) (Feb.) #/bu. bu/A bu/A
Wakeland I 4/5 44 15 TR 15 100 60.5 38.8 41.4
Hadden S 3/29 41 16 0 0 115 61.0 34.4 40.5
Ga. 1123 W 4/7 47 8 0 35 80 58.5 30.4 34.2
Bledsoe I-S 4/6 50 29 14 30 105 61.0 34.2 39.5
Coastal S 4/14 47 13 TR 50 110 58.5 29.8 36.0
Chancellor W 4/10 47 15 47 90 90 59.0 22.8
Anderson I 4/22 54 7 TR 25 90 56.5 26.5
Coker 57-6 I 4/22 48 5 TR 45 90 60.5 30.3
* From tests conducted by Mr. R. W. Lipscomb at Marianna
1/ I intermediate, S spring, W winter growth habits.