May 1, 2008


In several areas across the region, ice covered the wheat plants on the morning of April 28. In 2004 the same thing occurred in Jones and Haskell Counties and resulted in freeze injury even though the temperature never dropped below 32 degrees. Linked are pictures of wheat plants with symptoms you would expect to see if freeze injury occurre in the Heading (Example 1 and Example 2) or Flowering Stage (Example 3).

Example 1 shows awns with white tips. Awns can be tightly held or trapped in the wheat plant auricles causing the head to push through the leaf sheath.

Example 2 shows a damaged head that has no grain. Color can range from yellow to white.

Example 3 shows wheat heads that were effected during flowering. The blank in the center of the head indicates that it occured early in the bloom period. Blooming starts in the middle of the head and then moves to the top and bottom portion of the head.

Lack of soil applied herbicides, herbicides applied later than recommended, flushes of weeds emerging after application, poor weed control, and favorable weather conditions promoting weed growth have resulted in several weedy small grain fields. Producers may be asking about harvest aids to use to burn down these weeds prior to harvesting the crop. Linked is additional weed control information.

The harvest of wheat will soon begin. 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. 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 please get the remaining production information from your demonstration cooperator.

Linked is information concerning Wheat Streak Mosaic Virus sent to me by Brent Bean who is the Professor and Extension Agronomist at Amarillo.

Producers that are keeping seed for planting purposes next year need to closely inspect the acreage being harvested. If weeds or diseases are a problem, they will have to have the seed cleaned, bagged and treated with the appropriate fungicide.

For the counties that have Hessian Fly, you may want to remind producers of cultural practices they can use to reduce the population of the insect pest. 1) Don't spread the problem--be sure that harvesters are clean before they leave the field. 2) Turn the residue under a minimum of nine inches. 3) Planting wheat after November 1 helps reduce the problem. 4) Select resistant varieties to plant next season. Linked is a list from 2007 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 matter--not the insect.


As cotton test plots are being established please collect the needed production information listed on the linked sheet. It will provide the necessary information for the materials and method part of your result demonstration report.

Several areas across the district has had significant rainfall events after pre-plant incorporated herbicides were applied. In some instances this may reduce the amount of protection you would expect from your "Yellow Herbicides". If producers are planting conventional varieties they may want to consider using a pre-emerge herbicides at the time of planting.

During cotton production programs this spring it was stressed that producers planting Liberty Link cotton need to make some modifications to their sprayers. Ignite herbicide is a contact material and requires a minimum of 15 gallons per acre to get adequate coverage of the material on the plant. Coverage is critical anytime a contact pesticide is used!

From all indications we better be ready for insect pressure. As the wheat dries down there will be a significant increase in thrip leaving the wheat and going to young cotton. Some producers are planting now and the cool soil temperatures will cause germination and growth to be slow. This may be a year to get new pictures of thrip damage in cotton.

The soil temperature this season has been slow warming up. The weather station located east of San Angelo records soil temperature in an unplanted furrow at the 8 inch soil depth. Temperatures collected are available for viewing from the San Angelo Web Page. The URL is The minimum temperature for planting cotton is a ten day average of 600 F at the 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.

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. If you are planting into 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.

Insect Scout School

Why should you attend an 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.

The annual cotton insect scout school will be held June 2, 2008 at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center at San Angelo. If you would like to travel to Taylor, Texas to fine-tune your scouting skills, please contact Rick Minzenmayer at (325) 365-5212.

Hail Damage

On the afternoon of April 26, several areas around the region received hail. For the corn and grain sorghum the focus of evaluation should be on the growing point and remaining stem to determine if the plant can recover. Remaining plants can then be counted to determine the plant population per acre to see if replanting is necessary. Injury in wheat is going to be on the head and stems. Wheat yield reductions can be expected and difficulty in harvest will require some adjustment in the type of header used.

Pesticide Recertification Training

On May 12, 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 (325) 672-6048.

Monthly Calendar


May 2, Taylor, Callahan, and Shackleford Counties, Wheat Tour
May 2, Callahan County, Wheat Symposium Planning Meeting
May 3, Tom Green County, District 7 4-H Roundup
May 5, Brown County, Natural Resources Day
May 6, Concho and McCulloch Counties, Wheat Meeting and Tour
May 7 & 8, Brown County, Extension Professionals Board Meeting
May 13, Runnels County, Wheat Tour
May 15, Nolan and Jones Counties, Wheat Meeting
May 21 - 23, Burnet County, District 7 TCAAA Meeting


June 2, District Office, Insect Scout School
June 12, San Saba County, Nitrate and Prussic Acid Meeting
June 17, Glasscock County, Turnrow Meeting


Billy E. Warrick, Ph.D.
Professor and Extension Agronomist
Texas AgriLife Extension Service
Texas A&M System