Oct. 4, 2016 08:00 AM

Visits to Southern California, Missouri, and Georgia

Oli Bachie
Extension agronomy advisor
University of California-Davis

The sugarcane aphid (SCA) has recently been found in central Arizona and Central California causing damage to sorghum crops. SCA is a pest of sugarcane, but it can also feed and reproduce on several other grass species such as grain and forage sorghum or other forage crops such as Sudangrass. Although SCA has not yet been detected in the Imperial Valley, it is expected to be here in the near future. Accordingly, growers in the Imperial Valley are being alerted to start scouting their forage crop fields for this potential new pest.

Craig Roberts
Forage extension specialist
University of Missouri – Columbia

Going into fall and winter, Missouri cattlemen are in excellent shape for pasture, hay, and feed. Pastures had remained actively growing through the summer months and are now beginning to accelerate their fall regrowth. Soils have been recharged with ample rainfall, and cool-season grasses are experiencing optimum temperatures.

There is no shortage of hay in Missouri. Haymaking in Missouri is just now tapering off, and the current hay inventory is moderate to heavy. If the pastures continue to be productive and grain prices remain low, the demand for hay will be low. A hay surplus could develop before the end of the year and last through the upcoming winter.

Recently, we have received reports that several cattlemen have lost cows from bloat. The bloat potential in 2016 has been increased by a high proportion of white clover in pastures. It is not uncommon for white clover to dominate a pasture in years with cool, wet weather. Many pastures in northern Missouri have been estimated to contain 40 percent white clover. We expect to hear more reports of bloat before the killing frost.

Dennis Hancock
Forage extension specialist
University of Georgia – Athens

After a record number of 90°F-plus temperatures this summer, fall has finally arrived. The heat and dry weather have many producers concerned about their stored hay quantity. Many producers have fed as much hay this summer as they have made. The dry soil has set up like concrete in north Georgia, so producers there cannot even “dust-in” their winter annual forages. Throughout the state, rain will be a prerequisite before winter grazing pastures can even be planted.

The advancing horde of fall armyworms has also continued their onslaught through Georgia. Our measurements of bermudagrass yield loss in response to the bermudagrass stem maggot have indicated as much as 65 percent yield loss in untreated cuttings this summer. Producers are grazing and baling crop residues to make up for lost forage production and improve hay stocks going into the winter.

The change from a La Niña watch to the observed “neutral” conditions in the Pacific Ocean has improved the rainfall and temperature outlooks for this winter, and this has given producers hope for a more normal winter. However, a good week’s worth of slow, steady rain would cheer every Georgia forage producer’s heart.