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Old 01-26-2012, 03:41 PM   #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KemP130 View Post
7.5 inch rows
I think there is no doubt I'm going to do this next year. It was good to have a walkable field this first year as I'm figuring things out. But to maximize my space, I'll go for the commercial row spacing in the future.
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Old 02-04-2012, 12:09 AM   #72
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There has been plenty of growth since the last update, and it's starting to look like a real crop! No insects or diseases yet...

It has been 570.5 growth degree days (GDD) now since emergence, which according to the U Idaho blog, should put us at the 7 leaf stage with advanced tillering. Actually, the tillering is so advanced, that it has become very difficult to count the leaves of the main shoot:



So is the barley still on track? Up until now it has been, so I'm not worried. I know it is not ahead of schedule, because the next milestone will be jointing and elongation, which should happen around 830 GDD. This will happen sometime near the beginning of March, according to the Weather Channel's GDD predictor.

GDD are turning out to be a pretty good metric for developmental progress. My barley has been tracking the Merit barley in the U Idaho blog, even though it has taken me 65 days to achieve what only took 35 days in the Idaho springtime. The GDD are just building up more slowly for me since I'm growing in the middle of winter. See, it does get cold in California!

The fence seems to be working -- it has remained intact, with minor repairs, for a week now, and the field manager says he hasn't seen the Guinea hens in my plot.



As you can see it's just a mesh netting help up with wooden stakes. It's knee-high, and the birds could so easily fly over it. I'm just hoping it acts as a deterrent. So far, I don't have any new leaf damage to report -- so perhaps it is working? Fingers crossed.

Happy Friday everybody!

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Old 02-04-2012, 02:52 AM   #73
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Excellent, I can hardly wait for harvesting/threshing!! Keep those pictures coming.

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Old 02-04-2012, 02:16 PM   #74
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Looks awesome. Good work.

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Old 02-07-2012, 05:10 PM   #75
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Thanks, Fife and Colo.

Check out this difference in color:



Unfortunately, there are a lot of differences that may account for the color (this is not a controlled experiment!)

  • The right side is planted at 90 lb/acre, 24 seeds/ft, while the left is half that.
  • The soil on the left and right have different histories -- the left grew corn last year and had a compost treatment, while the soil on the right grew soybeans that were plowed under.
  • I fertilized the left side at a rate of 79 lb N/acre, and the right side at 56 lb N/acre.

I hear that Nitrogen is what usually accounts for green/yellow color differences, and more yellow indicates less N. I fertilized at different rates because I didn't really know how much N was already in the field, and I wanted at least part of the crop to have the right amount. Too much, and you'll get poor malting and brewing qualities, but too little N will reduce yield.

I won't know until I actually brew with the crop on the left if it has too much N. But I'll know earlier if the right side has too little, because the plants should turn a brighter yellow!

Anybody with experience growing malting barley know if one side looks more correct than the other?
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Old 02-07-2012, 05:19 PM   #76
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I love the way crop rows look when there neat and uniform like that. keep up the good work, subscribed.

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Old 02-22-2012, 11:47 PM   #77
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Aphids.



I've got 'em.



What to do? Well, the real problem is Barley Dwarf virus. Do I have it?



Maybe so.

And that may account for why a large patch of the field is growing slowly.







Sigh...

There's no way to cure plants of a virus. And Dwarf viruses typically reduce yield and grain plumpness, which makes for bad malting qualities. At this point, I'd just like to stop its spread.

I want to use an insecticide -- any recommendations?

Any insecticides you guys have used and liked?

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Old 02-23-2012, 01:10 AM   #78
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Don't go chemi... If you can help it. Neem oil is excellent as a plant antibiotic and will cure a lot of fungal type disease, and is also a great insecticide.
Also as far as aphids, you should see if you can order lady bugs. Seriously. I've used them in organic gardening lots of times, an the ladybugs are absolutely savage on the aphids. I unleashed them upon my artichoke plants that had aphids so badly there was an actual layer of them on the stems. The ladybugs absolutely obliterated them in about 3 days.
The trick is that you want to spray a little sugar water on the ladybugs before you take them out of their net sack. This will cause their wings to stick together and keep your bugs from flying away. Then let em rip.

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Old 02-23-2012, 02:09 AM   #79
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Thanks for the advice, bottlebomber. I had considered ladybugs, and I might go for it. I also read to chill them to refrigerator temps before releasing them, and to release them at sunset -- all measures (like the sugar water) to keep them from flying away.

But we have a lot of insecticides already available at the field, including Neem oil. In order to get rid of aphids, you have to apply Neem oil to every surface of the plants (difficult at this point because plant growth is dense), and you have to reapply at least once a week, twice is better, to kill newly-laid eggs. It would be a lot of work to reduce aphid levels.

So, if anyone knows of a systemic insecticide they like, I would love to hear about it. The advantage here is that the insecticide becomes incorporated into plant tissue, so it can kill aphids withoput directly touching them during application.

As far as going "chemi" -- don't forget that neem oil, even though it was produced by a plant, contains azadirachtin, a nasty chemical. It causes infertility in rats, and you don't want that stuff in your water, especially if you're pregnant. I think it's more productive to consider molecules individually -- how toxic is a molecule to people, to animals, and will it screw up the environment?

On my small scale, I can control irrigation carefully, and because we get very little rain here, I haven't had any runoff at all. Pesticides and herbicides are degraded in the soil by bacteria, most with a half-life of weeks. So as long as you keep the stuff contained in your field, you minimize risk to the environment and other animals and plants.

Anyway, I'll get off my soapbox now. Where do you buy your ladybugs? Can you order them online?

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Old 02-23-2012, 03:05 AM   #80
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The yellow barley could be anything but most likely lack of N or the virus. Hard to tell the difference. Viruses normally don't follow a straight line like I see in your pictures. You do need about 150lb of total N per acre, so your rates seem low unless there was a bunch of N in the soil. Because of our cold weather we don't have bugs very often. But when I buy chemical it is from the local farm coop. Ours has an agronomist on staff to help. If you have one near I bet they would be your best source of info.

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