- Author: Shannon C. Mueller
With all the interest in sorghum as a result of its lower irrigation requirement compared to corn, a number of stops showcased research pertaining to this crop. Participants observed evaluations of grain and forage varieties, irrigation strategies, and nitrogen utilization in trials being conducted by Jeff Dahlberg, Dan Putnam, and Bob Hutmacher. Results from this research will be presented at the annual Alfalfa and Forage Symposium scheduled for December 11-13 in Reno, NV.
Tram stops also included the alfalfa variety trial where the importance of pest and disease resistance was discussed and participants were invited to walk through the plots to view how the different varieties performed in the trial. At another stop, Michelle Leinfelder-Miles selected volunteers to carry out a demonstration of a quick test for the presence of the RR gene in alfalfa hay. Bales from two fields growing across the road from each other, one RR and one conventional, were sampled and tested for the presence of the RR gene. Test strips are very sensitive and quickly and easily confirm the presence or absence of the gene in the sample. Trams also stopped at a field that Dan Putnam is using for research to quantify the contribution of nitrogen from alfalfa to the non-legume crops in an alfalfa-grain rotation.
As temperatures got warmer, we completed the field portion of the meeting and moved inside to learn about ag crime prevention strategies from Sergeant Mike Chapman (Fresno County Sheriff’s Ag Task Force). He provided a number of tips for growers to consider to reduce ag crimes, the most important being – Call the Sheriff’s Department to report anything or anyone that appears to be out of place in rural areas. Steve Wright reviewed the nitrogen needs of wheat and stressed that growers should fertilize based on the yield potential of the variety they are growing. Larry Godfrey discussed identification and management strategies for aphids that have plagued many alfalfa fields this season. His presentation prompted a lively discussion around whether the aphids have developed resistance to the pesticides being used or host plant resistance is breaking down in our varieties. Our final speaker was Kurt Hembree who covered weed management strategies in alfalfa with and without Roundup. He reiterated the importance of controlling weeds in seedling alfalfa fields, rotating herbicides, and including cultivation to delay development of resistance to glyphosate.
It was a great day and if you weren’t able to join us this year, we hope you will plan to attend the Alfalfa & Forage Symposium this December to learn the results from these field trials. Information is available at http://alfalfa.ucdavis.edu.