Looking Forward: UF/IFAS Forage Breeding Update

novel FL 0567 crown rust resistant oat.  Photo by Ann Blount
Forage workers in a field of novel FL 0567 crown rust resistant oat. Photo by Ann Blount

It is hot outside and the furthest thing from most cattleman’s minds is what forages to plant this fall. Next week, the University of Georgia, Auburn University, and University of Florida forage workers meet to discuss winter forage trial results from this past year to decide on recommendations for fall forage plantings for our tri-state area. Recommendations for fall forage plantings are updated each August in time for producers to locate seed in advance of planting.

We routinely compare commercially available oat, rye, triticale, wheat, ryegrass, clovers, alfalfa and vetch for their production and their adaptation to our region. Many forage varieties are sold nation-wide, but often these have not been tested under Southeastern growing conditions. Our high humidity and warm winters mean fungal or bacterial diseases are more problematic, especially for a variety developed further north under cooler climates. Forages for Florida need to have resistance to our nematode complexes and insect pests. We generally have soils that are lower in natural fertility, may be acidic, or in some cases, very basic. Florida forages need to be adapted to our light, sandy, and sometimes droughty conditions.

New race of oat crown rust.  Photo by Ann Blount
A new race of oat crown rust. Photo by Ann Blount

Last season, a number of beef and dairy producers growing oats had an outbreak of a new crown rust species. All of the commercial varieties available on the market were susceptible to this new race. Through plant breeding efforts at the University of Florida, a new cultivar has been released with the much needed resistance, but it will be at least another season before seed of that oat will be available on the market.


FL01143 awnless triticale seed increase at the NFREC-Marianna.  Photo by Ann Blount
FL01143 awnless triticale seed increase at the NFREC-Marianna. Photo by Ann Blount

A new triticale cultivar (FL 01143 awnless) should soon be on the market that has been developed for silage and seed production. It is awnless and is comparable in forage yields to the current popular Trical 342 and Monarch varieties.


New 2,4-D tolerant red clover (left) at the NFREC-Marianna.  Photo by Ann Blount
New 2,4-D tolerant red clover (left) at the NFREC-Marianna. Photo by Ann Blount

There are some updates on new or novel legume forages for the fall planting season. In the Florida Panhandle, many clovers will grow well in mixtures with small grains or ryegrass, and furnish some nitrogen back to the system. Mostly red, crimson, arrowleaf, and white clovers have been popular to grow. Seed is readily available at many feed and seed suppliers in our area. We recently released Barduro red clover from our program and, this summer. A new 2,4-D tolerant line of clover is currently being developed (not yet on the market). The new 2,4-D tolerant red clover will be advantageous in that you can spray 2,4 D for broadleaf weed control in pastures of cool-season grasses grown in combination with red clover, or if the clover is grown as a monoculture hay crop.


Vetch at the NFREC-Marianna variety trial, 2013.  Photo by Ann Blount
Vetch at the NFREC-Marianna variety trial, 2013. Photo by Ann Blount

There are a few “old timers” that we have recently renewed interest in because they do grow well and may fit a niche in your forage program. Vetch (many types including common, crown and hairy) is well-adapted to our region, although often seed must be pre-ordered and a specific inoculant is necessary for the plant to adequately nodulate.


Ball clover at the NFREC-Marianna.  Photo by Ann Blount
Ball clover at the NFREC-Marianna. Photo by Ann Blount

Ball clover is a relative of white clover but is an annual clover with profuse flowering and is adapted to a wide range of soil conditions. It may be overseeded on bahiagrass or bermudagrass pastures in the fall season and will produce its tonnage in the early to late spring. Common ball, “Grazer Select” and “Don” are varieties currently on the commercial market.


Balansa clover at the NFREC-Marianna.  Photo by Ann Blount
Balansa clover at the NFREC-Marianna. Photo by Ann Blount

At the North Florida Research and Education Center, we have started evaluating Balansa clover, a new clover with potential for the Southeast.


Breeding a new Florida alfalfa at the NFREC-Marianna.  Photo by Ann Blount
Breeding a new Florida alfalfa at the NFREC-Marianna. Photo by Ann Blount

There is a renewed interest, at the University of Florida, in developing a southern adapted alfalfa. Both transgenic (Roundup Ready) and non-GMO cultivars are being marketed for our region, but breeding for a Florida adapted alfalfa is already underway.

Should you be able to attend our field days at the North Florida Research and Education Center at Marianna and Quincy, you might get a glimpse of new forages that are being developed for Florida. Remember to plan ahead for the fall season while enjoying the summer days still ahead. Trial data from recent Florida Panhandle trials should be available later this fall. If novel legumes are of interest to you, please contact us (paspalum@ufl.edu or dubeux@ufl.edu)

The moral of this story is that forage variety recommendations are updated annually and the information is available on-line at UF EDIS or through your UF/IFAS extension office, These recommendations should help you with decision making regarding tried and true forages that are adapted to grow locally. Remember that we cannot possibly test every variety that is marketed in the region, but we do test a wide range of varieties through the University of Georgia State-wide testing program and our own UF-regional trials.

Information for fall forage and wildlife forages can be found at UF EDIS where you can search for cool-season forages or wildlife forages, or other forage related topics of interest. Here is a link to one of last year’s publications: 2013 Cool-Season Forage Variety Recommendations for Florida.



Posted: July 18, 2014

Category: Agriculture
Tags: Forage & Pasture, Forages; Livestock, Livestock, Panhandle Agriculture


Mary Derrick
May 17, 2016

You or your Master Gardener Coordinator can contact the author of the article Gary Knox at the NFREC for possible tour information.

May 13, 2016

Hi--my name is Pat Watkins and I am a master gardener in Columbia County, FL. I am trying to put together field trips for my group and wonder where I can find info about the Gardens of the Big Bend. If field trips/group tours are not available, then I am personally interested in the Magnolia Gardens. Where can I find out about that, please?

Donna Legare
April 21, 2016

One of my favorites! Nice article - we enjoyed speaking with the Gardening Friends last week and glad we had time to walk through the garden first. Keep up the good work! Thanks Donna

Vanderlei Barbosa
April 19, 2016

Dear Joe: I work with tomato in Brazil, west part of S.Paulo State, and so far TSWV in one of most important virus disease in my area. This article is very important, because I can now be more confident that there is a new strain (TSCV) of tospovirus also occurring in my field. Hopefully TSWV tolerant hybrid tomato could be also be tolerant to this new strain TSCV. Vanderlei Barbosa (Agronomist, tomato grower)

Donna Durgin
April 1, 2016

Good Morning Dr. Ober - Do you have any information on building bat boxes? We would like to build some to put down by our pond on our property - Thanks, Donna D

Doug Mayo
January 25, 2016

Yes I think these numbers are set by the Ag Census and are not completely accurate.

Mary Veitch
January 22, 2016

Would love to have our 6 acres of Blueberries in Jackson County. Mary Veitch Veitch's Blueberry Farm 7772 Howell Rd Sneads, FL 32460

Suzy Young
November 16, 2015

Is there a soil fumigant that works on Sclerotium rolfsii fungus? We have a home garden and have rotated crops but are running out of options.

Doug Mayo
November 16, 2015

Follow the links in this article and go to the App store that applies to your smart phone. If you don't have a smart phone, you can get similar information on the following website: http://www.iowabeefcenter.org/estrus_synch.html

Doug Mayo
November 16, 2015

Follow the links in this article and go to the App store that applies to your smart phone. If you don't have a smart phone, you can get similar information on the following website: http://www.iowabeefcenter.org/estrus_synch.html

Dr. Mohamed Kndiel
November 14, 2015

I would like to receive the AI cow calculator

Nicolas DiLorenzo
October 27, 2015

It is a relatively new byproduct but our first estimates based on digestibility and nutrient analyses indicate that the TDN of B. carinata meal should be around 70-75% TDN.

Doug Mayo
October 6, 2015

What is the average TDN value for carinata meal?

Chris merritt
August 30, 2015

Have you tried fixation clover ? I am thinking about in north Jefferson county

Chris Baker
June 27, 2015

I would like to receive the calculator

Gary Knox
June 24, 2015

Thanks for your comment! The Black Diamond series of crapemyrtles have been planted at the UF North Florida Research and Education Center (outside Tallahassee). An older, outstanding planting can be found at the Louisiana State University Hammond Research Center, if you happen to be traveling along I-10 in Louisiana.

Dena DiFilippo
June 24, 2015

I found this article most timely as I just purchased my first crape myrtle ever. It is the black diamond series with red blooms. I can't wait to see how well this performs here. I hope eventually to plant it in my yard also at my home in Brevard county(Melbourne) also. Are there any evaluations ongoing for this new black diamond? It's the first crape myrtle ever that I liked well enough to plant. Thanks!!!!!

Doug Akers
June 23, 2015

Hi Gary, I was just reading the crapemyrtle article and then looked at the bottom to see it was by Gary Knox. Marilyn (Bennett) Akers and I live in Elberta, AL (near Pensacola) six months a year. We've planted several crapemyrtle at our home there. I retired from Purdue Extension 2 summers ago. In case you don't remember, Marilyn was Phil Carpenter's grad student. She say hi! I got a Master's in Botany & Plant Pathology. I was Purdue Extension Educator, Ag & Natural Resources for 30 years. All in Boone County, (Lebanon) less than an hour from W. Lafayette. We still have our home in Lebanon, too. Doug Akers

February 6, 2015

Excellent, and to the well trained ear, this article may well be the best introduction to profitable grazing for all ranchers, and not just for cattlemen. "Adjusting the stocking rate...is the most important grazing management tool to improve forage utilization." Well said, but rotational grazing only marginally adjusts the stocking rate and still allows the animals to pick and choose what they eat, taking the best and leaving the worst--thereby affirming that animals don't make good business decisions. Adjusting the stocking density (not rate) using management intensive grazing whereby one restricts the amount of available forage insures the animals consume only an amount of forage required to meet their demands for the day and are then released the next day into a new paddock (subunit). The amount of acreage provided daily can easily be estimated while considering all the factors listed above. The key is inexpensive temporary electric fencing and a good eye for growth rate. For those willing to follow the successful and disregard the "That won't fly around here Sonny"-mentality, I'd point you to "Management-Intensive Grazing: The Grassroots of Grass Farming" by Jim Gerrish; or visit http://www.americangrazinglands.com/

Matthew Orwat
February 6, 2015

Take a look at this link for info on Crapemyrtle Pruning. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep399 Thanks, Matt

Phil Stump
February 6, 2015

What level of pruning is appropriate for a Crepe Mytle? Is there any or should I just let it grow? Thanks! Phil

Matthew Orwat
February 6, 2015

We don't have a button yet..... Just copy and then paste the URL on your facebook page and post it...this will achieve the same effect.

February 4, 2015

I looked for a Facebook "Share" button.

kenneth avery
December 22, 2014

please send me a catalog on you January 17 2015 florida bull test sale. Kenneth avery 2993 county road 67 Hartford Alabama 36344.

thomas loeffler
December 5, 2014

Finally! Would you be able to supply me a list of sellers of trees that are the most scab resistant? I believe now would be a good time to plant a few. Regards, Tom

Doug Mayo
August 4, 2014

I wrote an article few weeks ago on that very topic. Check out this article: http://nwdistrict.ifas.ufl.edu/phag/2014/07/18/tips-for-controlling-armyworms-in-hay-fields/

T.J. Gates
August 1, 2014

Other than cutting my hay field, what can be done when army worms are found ? Is there any preventive measure that can be taken to help prevent army worms ? Will adding sulfur to my fertilizer help prevent army worms ? If so how many pounds to the acre ? What can be sprayed to kill army worms ?

Tim Tucker
July 19, 2014

Is there any Balansa Clover seed available for sale to the public? I would love to try some on my farm. Hope I can get over and see all the projects you all have going on. Tim Tucker Uriah AL.

July 16, 2014

I adore pomegranate fruit and shrubs, so I was especially thrilled to learn of this new variety. However, I’m not sure how I feel about one that doesn't produce edible fruit . I've had a pomegranate in my greenhouse for several years, and although it doesn't produce much fruit, it’s always a beautiful, flowering plant. I’d recommend them to anyone. As to fruit, I think the Wonderful variety (as its name implies), is simply wonderful and the most delicious variety I've tried. Richard

May 30, 2014

Hello Peter, My wife and I are new at planting trees. We have 20 acres in North Walton County and the pH is 5.7. Please correct me if I am wrong, but it looks like the fuyu species is the best all-around fruit. We are looking at planting 5-10 trees. In addition to applying fertilizer as you discussed, should we address the pH level as well? Can we obtain the trees through the extension office? If not, can you recommend a source where they are available? We are open to any suggestions you may have. Thank you in advance for your help- Brett

girish karamta
January 12, 2014

sir, can i have more information on above two newly introduced variety of peanuts? if so i will be thankfull to you, I from India guajrat state and we are the farmers and maily cultiviting peanuts on our farms, here is production is around 1ooo kg per acre i.e. 2500 kg per hectare, so please let me know about new variety Thanks

Matthew Orwat
January 10, 2014

The sort of trimming known as "crape murder" will not ensure the long term health of the crapemyrtle. Those repetitive cuts will allow disease and rot to enter the tree. Older cultivars might be in too much shade and not blooming to their full potential. They may also be suffering from powdery mildew, scale or sooty mold. Thinning of the interior of the tree may help. See this publication on crapemyrtle pruning for more information.

January 8, 2014

I love crepe myrtles of any kind. I guess it reminiscent of my grandmother's gardens. In southwest Florida she never cut back our crepe myrtles and they were more like the last photo in bloom. However, here in the Panhandle everyone does what I my sister and I call crepe murder, cutting the trees back. I want to know what is really appropriate. I've always said this was improper, but I notice that the trees that are cut this way to appear more healthy and vibrant each spring. I've moved to a home that has several varieties and the older ones are not doing well (blooming profusely) but I'm afraid it's because I have refused to cut the trees, I just trimmed them a little. Thanks for your help.

Doug Mayo
September 15, 2013

Dr. Anderson was talking about the gradual cooling that occurs normally in Northwest Florida. More damage occurs with extreme temperature changes, like can often happen in South Florida.

Ron Potts
September 14, 2013

What is meant by cold pre-conditioned trees in your article above? Is that something that nature does, or something that the grower can do?

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