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Organic Field Crop Production and Marketing in North Carolina

     

Organic Grain Project Newsletter

September 2011

(past newsletters)

I hope everyone has survived Irene relatively unscathed.  We have a few timely announcements below--be sure to check them out.  Have a great fall!

1.)  Ag Strong, a canola crusher in north Georgia, would like to find organic (and conventional) growers in NC to grow canola for them this year.  If you are interested, please contact Robert Davis at 706-459-7398.
2.) Lindley Mills, in Graham, NC, would like to contract with organic farmers to grow a hard wheat (TAM 303) for the mill.  They will provide the seed.  Please contact Joe LIndley at 336-376-6190.
3.) If you are certified grower, there is still time to apply for the Organic Certification Cost Share program .  Growers that have been certified or recertified since September 30, 2010 are eligible for partial reimbursement (75% up to a maximum of $750) of the certification cost.  To apply, growers must fill out an authorization form that can be found online at www.ncdaorganic.org. If you have any questions please call Heather Barnes at 919-707-3127 or email heather.barnes@ncagr.gov.
4.)  The 3rd annual Organic Commodity and Livestock Conference is scheduled for January 12-13, 2012 at Nash Community College in Rocky Mount, NC.  Save the date, and more information will be coming soon.

-Molly Hamilton

 

In this Issue:

  1. Breeding Wheat for Organic Production

.

I.      2011 Organic Wheat OVT Results

by Chris Reberg-Horton, George Place, and Carrie Brinton,NC State University

The organic OVT was started in 2010 with wheat to try to identify varieties that performed well under organic production conditions in North Carolina and could be recommended to farmers.  We conducted organic variety trials in 3 locations in North Carolina in 2010-2011.

In Rowan County, wheat was planted on October 18, 2010 on a Cecil/Pacolet, certified organic.  In March, the wheat was top-dressed with 4 tons of chicken litter to deliver 120 pounds of N per acre.  Wheat was harvested at this location on June 15, 2011. 

The Chowan County site was planted on November 10, 2010 on a Norfolk fine sand, certified organic.  Wheat was top-dressed in March with 5 tons of chicken litter to deliver 150 pounds of N per acre.  Wheat was harvested at the Chowan site on June 6, 2011. 

Wheat was planted at the Lenior County site on October 25, 2010 on a Leon sand, on land under organic management for 10 years.  Soybeans were used as a green manure at planting, and were estimated to provide 150 pounds of N/acre.  Wheat was top-dressed with feathermeal to deliver 30 pounds of N/acre, and was sprayed with Manganese to deliver 0.5 lbs of Mn per acre.  Wheat was harvested at the Lenoir site on June 4, 2011.  No sites had irrigation.

The results below come from only one year of trials.  Since this is only one year of results, growers should examine NCSU’s 2011 Wheat Variety Performance and Recommendations for a more complete set of test results and production recommendations.  The publication can be found at:  http://www.smallgrains.ncsu.edu/_SmartGrains/_VarietySelection.pdf

2011 Organic Wheat Variety Trial
George Place, Chris Reberg-Horton, and Carrie Brinton 
                  


Variety name

Grain Yield (bu/acre)

Test Weight (lbs/bu)

Falling Number

Protein (%)

Rowan Rank

Chowan Rank

Lenoir Rank

Overall Rank

Triticale
NCPT01-1433

102.4

55.8

161

11.3

17

1

1

1

Triticale
NC05-2651

93.2

55.6

137

12.3

5

2

8

2

VA05W-258

92.5

59.5

319.7

11.7

6

4

5

3

DynaGro V9723

90

59.8

325

11

11

24

4

4

Progeny 185

89.8

59.8

327.1

11.5

3

15

16

5

SouthernStates MPV57

88.9

59.3

338.1

11.6

2

17

22

6

DynaGro Shirley

88.3

58.6

326.5

11.8

16

16

3

7

Oakes

87.9

60.4

353.2

11.3

12

11

12

9

SouthernStates SS8641

87.9

59.9

347.4

12.5

7

19

19

8

DynaGro Baldwin

87.8

60.9

348.4

11.4

13

10

14

10

Pioneer 26R20

87.6

60.4

344.1

10.5

10

8

13

11

NC CapeFear

87.1

61.2

377

12.3

22

21

7

12

UniSouthGenetics USG3201

87

60.6

337.3

12.4

4

18

29

13

DynaGro V9713

86.7

59.8

326.8

12.8

14

7

28

14

Coker 9436

86.3

58.4

367.1

13.2

24

3

25

16

Pioneer 26R12

86.3

61.1

339.6

12

9

12

33

15

UniSouthGenetics USG3209

86.1

59.8

351.2

11.7

21

25

11

17

SouthernStates SS8404

85.9

61.3

330.3

11.8

18

22

15

18

Pioneer 25R32

85.3

60.4

384.2

11.6

1

35

26

19

SouthernStates SS5205

85.2

60.1

348.7

11.5

27

26

9

20

SouthernStates SS8302

84.6

60.1

309.8

11.9

36

30

2

21

UniSouthGenetics USG3592

84.5

61

311

11.4

28

9

23

22

Panola

84

59.3

329.2

11.2

23

20

24

23

2011 Organic Wheat Variety Trial (continued)                                                                   


Variety name

Grain Yield (bu/acre)

Test Weight (lbs/bu)

Falling Number

Protein (%)

Rowan Rank

Chowan Rank

Lenoir Rank

Overall Rank

UniSouthGenetics USG3725

83.6

57.8

310.2

10.5

15

39

6

24

Progeny 125

83.5

59.3

313

11.4

29

6

30

25

NC Yadkin

83

61

.

.

8

29

39

26

Progeny 117

83

60

319.4

11.4

38

14

10

27

Coker 9553

82.9

61.1

364.6

13.5

37

5

20

28

Progeny 166

82.7

59.9

326.2

11.1

19

23

35

29

SouthernStates SS520

82.5

59.7

328.7

11

30

13

17

30

Jamestown

82.2

62.2

337.1

11.9

25

27

32

31

SouthernStates SS8309

82.1

58.4

343.3

10.7

26

34

21

32

GA031238-7E34

82

59.1

344.9

12.5

32

32

18

33

Merl

80.3

60.2

348.7

11.4

34

28

27

34

NC05-19896

79

60.3

344.5

12.4

35

31

31

35

Pioneer 26R31

78.5

60.3

330.9

11.7

31

33

38

36

GA001170-7E26

77.3

62.5

326.3

11.7

20

40

37

37

NC05-19684

76.6

60.5

346.2

12.3

33

36

36

38

SouthernStates SS560

74.9

58.6

343.2

11.8

39

37

34

39

NC Neuse

70.1

60.7

375.6

12.7

40

38

40

40

R Square

0.83

0.79

0.94

0.92

CV

11.8

2.4

6.1

4.0

 

 

 

 

RootMSE

11.8

1.9

19.9

0.5

 

 

 

 

DepMean

84.7

59.9

328.0

12.1

 

 

 

 

LSD

9.6*

1.5

50.7

1.3

 

 

 

 

*LSD of 9.6 indicates that yield differences of 9.6 bu/acre or less are not significant.
**Falling number measures the effect of enzymes on wheat quality and gives an indication of sprout damage in a sample.  Low falling numbers indicate more sprouting and a lower quality sample. 
Varieties appearing in light grey are experimental lines not yet on the market

This fall, Dr. David Marshall, with the USDA-ARS wheat breeding program at NCSU, will be planting his Uniform Bread Wheat Trials two certified organic locations. Next year, we will have organic hard wheat and barley data to add to the soft wheat OVT results.

  

II.    Canola Seeding Rate Trial Update

by Chris Reberg-Horton and Carrie Brinton, NC State University

Canola is a fairly new and promising crop to North Carolina.  There is market demand for organic canola, and organic farmers are looking to diversify their crop rotation.  We planted 3 canola varieties at 5 seeding rates – 3, 6, 9, 12 and 15 lb/acre.  Conventional seeding rates are typically between 3 and 6 lbs per acre.  A major concern for organic producers is weed management so our bias is often to use as much seed as possible to aid competition with weeds.  Our goal was to investigate whether higher seeding rates led to negative consequences such as higher disease pressure due to less airflow or increased lodging.  No pre- or post-herbicides were applied during the growing season; however, we did use a desiccant at harvest in Salisbury to prevent shattering until we could arrive with the combine.  This study was planted at Cherry Research Farm in Goldsboro, NC and Piedmont Research Station in Salisbury, NC. Information here is from only one year of research. Please use caution when using this information.

Table 1.  Field management throughout the season.

 

Goldsboro, NC

Salisbury, NC

 

Date

Rate

Date

Rate

Planting Dates

November 2, 20101

 

September 20, 2010

 

Fall N (lb/A)

November 20, 2010

32

-

*

Spring N (lb/A)

February 28, 2011

83

February 18, 2011

58

Spring S (lb/A)

February 17, 2011

26

February 18, 2011

17

Stand Counts

March 9, 2011

 

March 7, 2011

 

Dessicated with Paraquat

-

-

June 2, 2011

1

Harvest

June 3, 2011

 

June 20, 2011

 

*No pre-plant N was applied in Salisbury because these fields receive dairy lagoon waste on a regular basis.  Experience has proven that fall N applications tend to cause lodging in crops. 

Table 2.  Harvest data for seeding rates across all varieties.

Goldsboro, NC

Salisbury, NC

Rate

Moisture

Yield*

Yield**

Test Weight

Moisture

Yield*

Yield**

Test Weight

%

lb/ac

bu/ac

lb/bu

%

lb/ac

bu/ac

lb/bu

3

7.12

1933

32

54.4

4.32

3981

66

56.1

6

5.98

2215

37

58.6

3.78

4145

69

55.9

9

5.21

2377

40

58.5

5.28

4267

71

56.8

12

6.11

2167

36

55.3

4.37

3961

66

55.8

15

6.13

2227

37

57.5

4.11

4045

67

55.4

ANOVA

------------------------------------------------      Prob > F    ----------------------------------------------------

rate

0.12

0.10

NS

NS

NS

NS

NS

linear

0.25

.14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

quadratic

0.03

.06

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* Yield data corrected to 8.5% moisture. 
**Yield calculated at 60 lb/bushel.

Seed size varies among these varieties.  Flash has much smaller seed than Virginia, with 33% more seed per pound.  Hornet is also smaller than Virginia, although only 12% more seed per pound. 

The canola crop in Salisbury reached growth stage 2.6 – 2.7 before the first night at 25°F in early November.  The Goldsboro site was originally planted in mid-October, but due to problems with the planter, needed to be replanted.  There were a couple nights at 31°F shortly after planting, but temperatures did not fall below 25°F until 5-WAP. 

Moisture – There was no significant moisture difference among varieties or seeding rates in Salisbury where we applied Paraquat to desiccate the crop prior to harvest.  However, in Goldsboro, where desiccant was not applied, moisture differences were observed across seeding rates.  The lowest moisture was at the 9 lb/ac seeding rate, while the highest moisture was at the lowest seeding rate.  At the lowest seeding rate we observed late emerging branches that filled in the light gaps in the canopy.  The late branches were greener at harvest than the bulk of the crop and likely contributed to the higher moistures.

In Goldsboro, a small difference in moisture due to variety (p = 0.07, data not presented) was detected. 
We did not collect data on varietal maturity, but visual observation at both locations throughout the spring indicated Virginia flowered first and dried down earlier, while Flash was still a bit green when we harvested.  Data from the 2009 National Winter Canola Variety Trial showed maturity of Virginia, Flash and Hornet all within 6 days of each other at the Virginia, Georgia and Alabama locations.

Yield – No varietal differences were detected.  No significant differences were observed in yield across seeding rates in Salisbury, however there were significant differences in Goldsboro.  In Goldsboro, there was a large yield gap between the lowest seeding rate and all the other seeding rates.  The 9 lb/acre seeding rate produced the highest yields at both locations.  Yields were higher at Salisbury for each seeding rate, 44% - 51% greater than Goldsboro. 

y-axis: moisture (%)

canola seeding rate and moisture

 

y-axis: Yield (bu/acre)

canola seeding rate yield

Conclusions
So far we have seen no evidence that higher seeding rates are a problem for diseases or lodging.  However, this is only one year of data and disease pressures were low on winter crops this year.  Extreme caution is needed with one year of data, but so far 9 lbs of seed appears to be an appropriate seeding rate.  We are attempting to plant this study on weedy sites this year to do a better job of quantifying the impact increased seeding rates has on weed control. 

This project has been generously funded by the NC Tobacco Trust Fund Commission.
Any opinion, finding, conclusion, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view and policies of the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission.

..

III. Breeding Wheat for Organic Production

by Margaret Worthington and Paul Murphy, NC State University

There are currently no good options for Italian ryegrass control in organic production systems.   Consequently, most organic farmers with major ryegrass infestations are forced to remove winter wheat from rotation in affected fields.  Previous research has shown that wheat varieties differ in their ability to compete against weeds.  Therefore, the goal of the wheat component of the Breeding for Organic Production Systems project is to identify and breed wheat varieties that are able to suppress Italian ryegrass growth and maintain high yields in infested fields.

Although many researchers have suggested breeding crops for increased competitive ability, very few, if any, programs are actually releasing cultivars that compete well against weeds.  In a 2011 pilot study we chose three varieties of wheat with very different morphological traits, and tested potential methods of screening wheat plots for ryegrass competitiveness.   We found that counts of ryegrass seed heads at the end of the growing season were strongly associated with how much ryegrass, compared to wheat, was present in the plot. 

In this year’s expanded study we will use this new screening method to test the weed suppressive ability of the entire 2012 NC Official Variety Test and several hard winter wheat lines being developed for organic production systems.  Laboratory studies have suggested that some wheat varieties gain a competitive edge against weeds through allelopathy, the release of chemicals through roots that suppress the growth of neighboring plants.  We have conducted a laboratory bioassay to test the allelopathic ability of all of the varieties in the Official Variety Test.  This year we intend to test the effectiveness of allelopathy in the field and the relative contribution of height, tillering, and early vigor to the competitive ability of the varieties included in this expanded study.  Based on this information we hope to be able to recommend commercially available varieties with good competitive ability to the organic community and select varieties to include as parents in a breeding program. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     

@ 2005 North Carolina State University