May 2, 2005


I had someone send me a picture from Amarillo today and they have about four inches of snow on the ground. That should have a short-term impact on wheat price until they determine the extent of damage to the crop. The lack of rain during April combined with the hot temperature on April 28 should progress the maturity of the wheat crop in our area.

The harvest of wheat will soon begin in about 30 days. As you harvest samples from variety tests, please record the information on the foot of drill row(s) harvested and the number of inches from drill row to drill row. I will need this information to calculate the yield per acre. Please take a minimum of three samples per variety to improve the accuracy of yield determination. The thrasher is located at the Research and Extension Center at San Angelo. You may want to team up with another county to thrash samples. It takes at least two people to do the job efficiently. After the thrashing of grain is complete, the grain weights can then be entered into a spreadsheet, and the information you want determined. Also, at the time of harvest you may want to get the production information from your demonstration cooperator.

Question 1. The green weeds are growing rapidly in my wheat and may need to be treated with a herbicide to dry them down. What can be applied? Linked is a list of herbicides that can be used as a wheat harvest aid. Be sure to read and follow the label directions.

Schleicher county has been added to the list of counties with Hessian Fly. For the counties that have Hessian Fly, you may want to let producers know of cultural practices they can use to reduce the population of the insect pest.

Question 2. What are some of the cultural practices that can be used to reduce Hessian Fly populations? 1) Don't spread the problem--be sure that harvesters are clean before they leave the field. 2) Turn the residue under (9 or more inches is needed). 3) Planting wheat after November 1 helps reduce the problem. 4) Select resistant varieties to plant next season. Linked is a list from 2004 that gives a rating of the resistance of wheat varieties to Hessian Fly, Leaf Rust, and Stem Rust. This information will be updated as we evaluate wheat plots in May.

NOTE: The heat of a controlled burn is not hot enough to kill the insect at or below the soil surface. Burning wheat stubble would only get rid of the organic mater--not the insect.

I have had reports of several fields with loose smut problems in wheat and oats. Producers that are keeping seed for planting purposes next year need to closely inspect the acreage being harvested. If loose smut is a problem, they will have to have the seed cleaned and treated with the appropriate fungicide.


I want to thank Ed Bynum, Warren Multer and Tommy Yeater for their assistance in obtaining, sorting, and distributing cottonseed for District 6 and 7 variety tests.

Question 3. When should cotton be planted? The minimum temperature for planting cotton is 600 F; this is a ten day average at an 8 eight inch depth. This temperature is taken at 8:00 a.m. each day. Cotton planted in warm soil, usually germinates and emerges faster and are healthier plants.

The soil temperature this season has been warming up slower than last year. The weather station located east of San Angelo records soil temperature in an unplanted area at 6 inch of soil depth. Temperatures collected are available for viewing from the San Angelo Web Page. The URL is

Question 4. What impact does cold temperatures have on newly planted cotton? Cottonseed trying to germinate and emerge in cold soils are exposed to a longer period of disease pressure. Seedling disease is a concern when soils are moist and the plant is growing slowly. If the conductive tissue in the plant has been damaged, the impact may not be obvious until later in the growing season when hot dry conditions occur. Moderate damage to cotton plants can be managed with irrigation, however, if you're a dryland producer you need to avoid this injury, so plant when the soil temperature is above 700 F for a ten day average at an 8 eight inch depth.

Question 5. With all the weeds and wheat drying down at this time, should I delay the planting of cotton? If it is early in the growing season, that might be a good strategy to reduce the impact of thrip and fleahoppers to cotton. If young cotton plants are developing when the wheat is drying down, then the insects will move to the new food source. Often plant injury occurs if the insect population is too high.

Question 6. What is the proper planting rate of cotton? The desired plant population for cotton is three emerged, uniformly spaced, healthy plants per foot of row (on 40 inch rows). This results in a plant population of approximately 39,000 plants per acre. If the cottonseed only germinated 80 percent of what is planted then 49,000 seeds per acre needs to be planted. If the seed size is 5,600 seed per pound, you would have to plant 8.76 pounds per acre to get the desired plant population.

Question 7. What is the correct planting depth on cotton? If cotton is being planted into dry loose soil most producers place the seed at approximately 0.5 to 0.75 inch. If a rain occurs that results in a crust being developed , then the seed should have enough energy to develop a plant. If you are planting in a firm seedbed with good soil moisture, then the proper seed placement should be from 1.5 to 2.0 inches. Be sure that the seed-to-soil contact is firm.

Question 8. Why can't I apply glyphosate herbicide to Roundup Ready Cotton after the fourth true leaf stage? Glyphosate applied to tolerant varieties has little impact on the developing cotton plant. The concern is in boll initiation and seed development. Applying glyphosate incorrectly can be a costly mistake. Some known negative impacts include: 1) thickening of anther sack which reduces the plants ability to release pollen and results in reduced seed production (since lint forms on the seed coat then lint production is reduced also); 2) reduced stamen length, which results in reduced pollen deposition on the stigma, which results in reduced seed production; 3) disorientation of the cells in developing seeds, which result in low vigor seeds being produced. Glyphosate is a beneficial tool when used correctly.

Question 9. Why should I attend Insect Scout School? Insect scout school provides anyone involved in the production of cotton with a refresher course on plant growth and development and insect identification and control. Some of the leading experts in the region on crop production and insect management are there to answer your questions.

Insect Scout School

The annual cotton insect scout school will be held June 6, 2005 at the Texas A&M Research and Extension Center at San Angelo [click here for agenda]. If you would like to travel to Taylor, Texas to fine-tune your scouting skills, please contact Rick Minzenmayer at (325) 365-5212.


Question 10. If I expect to have a broadleaf weed problem in my Bermudagrass pasture, what would you recommend? If the problem is annual weeds then I would apply something like Ally which will give about six weeks of control. If perennial weeds are the problem then Grazon P + D would be a good product to use; it is effective on a lot of different broadleaf weeds.

Due to the problem with leaf rust in wheat a lot of acreage was baled. To determine the type of livestock to feed this hay to, a forage sample should be taken and submitted to the Texas A&M lab. Some supplemental feeding may be necessary to maintain or increase the weight of livestock.

Pesticide Recertification Training

On May 9, there will be a training conducted at Abilene for producers needing to obtain a Private Applicators license. For more details and to register for the meeting call Gary Bomar at (325) 672-6048.

Monthly Calendar


May 2, Howard County, Deliver and Distribute Cottonseed
May 3, Tom Green County, Teleconference
May 5, Brown County, Heart of Texas Cow Calf Clinic
May 6, Taylor and Callahan Counties, Wheat Tour
May 7, Tom Green County, District 7 4-H Roundup
May 9, District Office, First Day of Water Training
May 10, Concho and McCulloch County Wheat Field Day
May 12, Wilbarger County, AgriPro Wheat Field Day
May 16, District 7 Office, Cash Management Training
May 19 & 20, Tom Green County, Kids, Kows, and More
May 20, Tom Green County, Professional Ag Workers
May 24 - 26, Burnet County, District 7 TCAAA Meeting
May 30, Holiday


June 2, Erath County, Green Chop Program
June 6, District Office, Insect Scout School
June 15, Tom Green County, Farm and Ranch Safety School
June 17, Tom Green County, Professional Ag Workers
June 28 & 29, Horticulture Training For CEAs


Billy E. Warrick
Extension Agronomist
Texas Cooperative Extension
Texas A&M University System