Looking back on previous posts on FLACROPS.com, I seem to have an infatuation with the El Nino conditions and the expectations for a possible cool, wet winter in the Southeast. However, some of our local farmers have felt like they just can’t buy a rain on their farm this winter and are wondering “What’s going on, why is it so dry?” A past update in Mid November included a report of little rainfall in the proceeding 45 days in North Florida. I visited the National Weather Service to see if any of our neighbors had begun to dry out. Imagine my surprise when looking at the previous 30 days rainfall totals, and see 10-20″ of additional rainfall in nearby areas, but only 1-2″ during the previous 30 days in North Florida. Seeing rainfall totals like those in South Alabama
and Georgia, reminds us things aren’t so bad right here.
I’m fairly certain most local farms have now recorded 2-3″ of rain from October 1 to present. Fortunately, a good rainfall on November 9th was perfectly timed to get most winter annuals planted into suitable soil moisture. That provided the optimum timing for planting and good seed germination.
We are seeing and hearing about various stresses to winter annuals including rye, oats, and ryegrass, which are typically planted as cover crop, grazing, hay/baleage, or a seed crop. These stresses included such oddities as armyworms, severe aphids, soilborne and foliar diseases, and moisture/nutrient stress. Quite frankly, we rarely encounter any of these with our winter annuals, and we have encountered so many unique problems on different operations that the lack of a consistent pattern is a bit overwhelming. Falling temperatures should reduce pest incidence, and forecasts continue to tease of high probability of rain. We will continue to look forward to whatever comes our way!