|December 22, 2006
Late planted wheat with only a couple of leaves is at the greatest risk of freezing. Temperatures in the 10 to 15 degree range, for a significant amount of time, can kill this wheat. If the wheat is being grown under a sprinkler, advise your producers to wet the top 1 to 2 inches of soil for insulation. However, care must be taken not to damage the sprinklers when operating at these temperatures. Producers will need to minimize spray drift onto the sprinkler frame.
Snow provides some insulation which protects the wheat. Wheat that is well tillered should be able to withstand temperatures in the -5 degree range for at least a short period of time. The longer it stays this cold the greater the risk of killing the growing point. Hopefully, the top 2 inches of soil will be wet to help insulate the wheat's growing point.
I have had several requests to diagnosis wheat problems. A good reference I've found for making a diagnoses in wheat is a publication called Diagnosing Wheat Production Problems in Kansas. I have a copy listed under pdf on my web page. The address for this site is: http://sanangelo.tamu.edu/agronomy/pdf/s84.pdf
Additional Information on Wheat Freeze Injury from Dr. Travis Miller:
There is no question that a wet soil surface will protect wheat better from a freeze than a dry one, and I expect any wheat that has just been irrigated will have less overall loss than wheat with a dry surface. You might see more loss to soil heaving on a wet soil surface, although overall, I expect freeze losses to be much lower on irrigated wheat. Snow is an excellent insulator with each inch of snow protecting wheat the equivalent of about 10 degrees colder.
A useful publication on freeze damage was adapted from the Kansas State freeze publication. It contains color illustrations to educate farmers and others about freeze losses in wheat. The web address is: http://sanangelo.tamu.edu/agronomy/factshet/whtfreez.htm
Wild Oat Control Tests
It has not yet rained enough to get a flush of Wild Oats up. When it does occur, we will be establishing some large plot tests in Taylor County and a replicated test in Runnels County.
Soil sampling to two feet will be important in 2006. Samples should be taken at 0 to 6, 6 to 12, 12 to 18 and 18 to 24. This will give you clear picture to the available nutrients. With the price of fertilizer increasing every pound we apply needs to be justified. Doing nothing when your nutrient supply is low will directly impact yield.
We need to go ahead and prepare the seedbeds for next years crop. Installing furrow dikes in all rows except where the tractor will be traveling will give you the best chance of keeping every drop of rain received in place instead of heading to the low spots.
When rain does occur be diligent about controlling the weeds. Loss of moisture and nutrients by weeds should not be tolerated. For the best control you should be using flat fan nozzles but remember your drift potential is much higher; so be sure you own everything around you if you use this kind of spray tip.
By now all of the cotton producing counties that sent samples to Lubbock for ginning in November should have received their summary of lint yield and quality. I do have a copy of the table linked ( Fisher County, Howard County - 5 tests, Jones County, Nolan County, Runnels County - 4 tests, and Tom Green County - 4 tests) and acknowledgment in an electronic format so it can be sent by e-mail. The file sent to you is formatted to be retrieved directly into WordPerfect. NOTE: When you finish your cotton result demonstration reports, I would appreciate it if you would send me a copy by e-mail. Thanks.
The Beltwide Cotton Conference will be held in San Antonio, Texas, January 3-6, 2006. This is an excellent meeting for increasing your knowledge about cotton production. Many of the programs are producer oriented.
At the Big Country Farm Show held on February 21 & 22, 2006 in Abilene, Texas a pesticide applicator can earn 2 CEUs each day. Just have them call Gary Bomar at (325) 672-6048 for more information. If you are having a program in the next three months that offers CEUs please let me know; I have had several calls already from applicators needing hours.