Perennial Peanut in Bahia Grass Pastures

A.Fluke. UF/IFAS Extension Osceola County, Kissimmee, FL
Situation: Optimal soil fertility is a challenge for Central Florida cattle producers grazing Bahiagrass. Necessary nutrients are commonly deficient. There is risk in implementing new forage systems causing ranchers to often avoid it. Perennial Peanut is a nutrient dense legume which fixes Nitrogen in soil. 2 Perennial Peanut varieties will be planted on the UF/IFAS Osceola County Applied Research Site to demonstrate performance when strip planted with Bahiagrass, an approach practical to the cow-calf producer. Establishment and persistence will be monitored and used to show performance. Methods: Planting material was provided by UF specialists, equipment and product was achieved through grants and sponsorships. A half-acre each of 2 varieties, Ecoturf and Florigraze, were strip planted with a half-acre of Bahiagrass, totaling 2 acres. Soil samples were taken, plots were prepared, pre and post-emergent herbicides were applied and one application of fertilizer. Rainfall was monitored. A field day was held providing a presentation on research done on both varieties, Best Management Practices, and an onsite demonstration was given. 22 producers attended. Plots continue to be monitored for further assessment. Results: Initially, Florigraze established at a faster rate but both varieties are performing similarly. The greatest challenge is control of goatweed in plots. Of the 22 participants, 100% gained knowledge in management of the forage variety and 4 producers representing over 30,000 acres strongly consider implementing Perennial Peanut on their operations. Further trial is requested and a field day is scheduled for spring 2016. Conclusion: Due to the risk of implementing new forage varieties and the relatively slow establishment Perennial Peanut, producers prefer to have a demonstration of how it will perform in the Central Florida area before investing in it. The plots in Osceola County will provide such a demonstration and subsequent recommendations. Utilization of legumes such as P. Peanut for hay and grazing can offset the cost of winter supplementation significantly and reduce the need for N fertilization. There is great interest in legumes on cow-calf operations, the task is finding the most economically efficient varieties. The demonstration site will continue to do this through producer needs assessments and the use of Best Management Practices.

Posted: April 15, 2016

Category: AGRICULTURE, Livestock, Turf
Tags: Central, CentralDistrict, Fluke, Pasture, Symposium

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