|July 1, 2005
Callahan, Concho, Gillespie, McCulloch. Reeves and Taylor Counties have harvested their wheat plots and results will be posted soon. Taylor, Callahan, and McCulloch Counties harvested their wheat plots with a small plot combine. As the summaries from these tests are completed and copies received, they will be linked to the newsletter. Summaries are sent to the companies that provided seed for tests so they can determine which varieties preform best in each region. The companies that receive summaries early tend to support our programs favorably each year. Linked is the summary from the Concho County Test.
The rainfall in May was greatly appreciated. A large portion of the small grain acreage was impacted. Some grain was discolored and some initiated germination. If you examine the seed in the picture sent by Lance Rasch you can see that germination had begun. The seeds may still have a good germination but its vigor is in question. If this were the only seed available for planting I would make sure that the soil temperature was within range (it won't tolerate high or low temperatures very well) and soil moisture needs were favorable. Avoiding plant stress at the time of planting and for the first seven days after planting will be important to establish a stand.
Late planted cotton will require special management if the weather pattern continues as it has in June. Our daily heat unit accumulation has been good. I would prefer that the maximum air temperature be in the 92 to 95 degree range to reduce plant stress. It is going to be very important to set all the squares we can until first bloom. After boll set begins, it will be important to maintain as many bolls as possible for the first three weeks. Other bolls will be retained by the cotton plant and will contribute to yield, but the quality of lint from the later set bolls is a concern. The bolls that develop in the later part of the season will accumulate less heat units than would be needed for quality fiber development. It is not uncommon to have a discount of 10 cents per pound for low micronaire cotton.
Two of the 23 tests established this year have been lost due to weather conditions. If you loose a plot please let me know, seed company representatives often want to visit the tests during the summer.
A side-dress application of nitrogen can be made until the 1/3 grown square stage, if it isn't completed by then, producers will need to wait until the crop begins blooming and foliar apply nutrients. Urea is used by a number of producers to apply foliar nitrogen; the big question is how much? The cotton plant can absorb about 5 to 6 pounds of nitrogen per application. So a producer would be applying 10 to 12 pounds of urea per acre each trip. If a higher rate of nitrogen is applied, leaf burn can be expected. The foliar applications can generally be made on a weekly basis without any injury to the plant. Due to cost, most producers won't make more than three applications.
If July and August is hot, the plants with a week root system will suffer. Factors causing the greatest concern are: 1) plants with a lot of leaf surface area that transpire water through the natural openings in the leaves faster than the roots can meet the demand, 2) the root system is not adequately developed and can't extract moisture and nutrients from the soil fast enough to meet demand, 3) even though adequate soil moisture and nutrients exist, once the plant begins blooming and setting fruit the root system's development is slowed greatly due to the plants normal processes of boll development. So the best opportunity to develop a more extensive root system is before blooming begins. Producers can encourage root development by making sure that adequate nutrients are available. If the window of opportunity was missed to make soil applied side-dress applications of nutrients, then foliar application is the alternative.
Is it to late to plant grain sorghum? It just depends on how big a gambler you are. If you plant a 100 day grain sorghum on July 1 you may or may not have enough time. It will depend on the temperatures at the end of the season and when it freezes. If you do plant grain sorghum late, the application of nutrients should be made prior to the seven- to ten-leaf stage. Several producers have called asking about varieties of grain sorghum to plant. Linked is a list of companies that sell grain sorghum. Most of the web sites provide information on the varieties. The producers will be selecting varieties with a medium maturity.
Iron Deficiency Symptoms in Grain Sorghum--An Annual Occurrence
In the past two weeks several callers have inquired about yellowing in peanuts and also grain sorghum. These questions surface annually in June. In West Texas and eastern New Mexico iron typically becomes limiting in crop production when soil pH is very high (like most of our caliche soils) or when soils become temporarily water logged. For all crops (peanuts, grain sorghum, etc.) Iron deficiency symptoms are on the younger leaves with green veins in the leaf and yellow in between. Iron is not mobile within the plant. Most crops here in the High Plains tend to grow out of the condition to some extent as the rooting volume expands and conditions dry out. Crops on highly caliche soils, however, will remain chlorotic throughout the season, and growth restriction can be severe for both peanut and grain sorghum.
My preference for correcting iron deficiency when merited is iron (ferrous) sulfate or ferrous ammonium sulfate and a sticking agent rather than expensive iron chelates. Spray coverage is important.
I have had several questions about nitrate and prussic acid poisoning concerns due to forage being baled as hay or eaten by livestock. Linked is information on nitrate and prussic acid poisoning.
Many of the early planted fields are currently being cut. Due to the timeliness of harvest, the quality of hay should be high. Other producers should be encouraged to cut hay when they see flag leaves starting to appear across the field. The protein value of this hay will be higher than in fields where mature heads are visible across the field. For producers that have healthy plants remaining after the first cutting, a second crop may be possible if timely rainfall occurs. An application of nitrogen would help to encourage plant growth and development.
Dryland Sorghum/Sudan--Planter vs. Drill
Numerous producers, particularly south of Lubbock will be seeding sorghum/sudan, or haygrazer, once another rain is received. Seeding can occur well into July with satisfactory forage yields. The nice advantage of these late-planted forage crops planted late is the lack of risk associated with having to have maturity in the crop in the fall. Grazing or baling can occur at any time once the crop reaches 24 inches in height.
But what about establishment? For dryland I have seen many poor drilled stands where producers just didn't get good emergence. Although ideally we agree that a drilled stand would be best for forage production, if we have difficulty getting a stand due to limited moisture, a rough seedbed, or an old drill that doesn't have good seed placement, then would a planter be better? I often think it would be. Two-year results at AGCARES, Lamesa, have demonstrated that good yields (2-4 dry tons/A) could be achieved using a planter in spite of dry conditions at planting. The key, in my opinion, is not necessarily the forage yield, but the ability to get the crop established in the first place.
By using a planter we have the ability to move dry soil to get the individual seeds placed in good soil moisture unlike a drill. For this dryland forage crop, the day of planting is probably the most important day in the life of the crop. Producers can also reduce their seeding rate by about 1/3 using a planter vs. a drill. A further advantage of planted sorghum/sudan vs. drilled is the reduced grazing losses from cattle tromping forage in drill rows. Usually, when row spacing exceeds 20" cattle will walk between the rows resulting in less damage and continued good tiller production.
For further information on sorghum/sudan forage types in West Texas, including brown midrib (BMR) sorghum/sudans, review "Annual Summer Forages for West Texas"
Summar annual forage seeding rates, both dryland and irrigated, for the Texas High Plains are outlined in "Suggested Summer Forage Seeding Rate Targets for West Texas"
The Extension Staffs and volunteer leaders involved in conducting the Concho Valley Farm and Ranch Safety School sponsored by Progressive Farmer on June 15 are to be commended for all their work. I had the opportunity of talk to over 100 farm and ranch youth about chemical safety. They were one of the best behaved group of young people that I have been around. The support given to this effort by adults, involved in a wide range of occupations, was impressive. It take numerous hours to plan and conduct this type of event. A statement made by several of the leaders involved was "This is worth all the time and effort if we keep one person from being injured". I can't keep from believing that we did make a difference.
On July 11, 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.
I have had several Extension Agents and producers indicate that Roundup has not been working well in controlling weeds this season. That is probably due to the environmental conditions that exist at the time the chemicals are applied and the size of the weed being treated. Weeds that developed under heat and moisture stressed conditions will prove to be a challenge due to the cuticle becoming thick and waxy. This makes getting the herbicide into the plant difficult. If the herbicide being applied allows for a crop oil concentrate to be used, that would be a better choice than a surfactant due to the improved penetration through the cuticle. Early morning applications of herbicides are also important wind speeds are lower and relative humidity is higher. Try to complete herbicide applications before the temperature gets above 80 degrees F and the relative humidity drops below 30 percent. Due to the hard water in our region, it is important to use ammonium sulphate in the tank-mix. About 8 to 17 pounds per 100 gallons of mix is recommended. Applying a herbicide to weeds that are moisture stressed or mature will generally result in a poor level of control, so it should be avoided. This combination of steps should improve the level of weed control achieved by producers.
Weed Control Tests were evaluated in Jones, Nolan and Scurry Counties on June 16. The information from the Jones County Silverleaf Nightshade Control Test, Jones County Field Bindweed Control Test, and Nolan County Hog Potato Control Test will be linked to an agronomy newsletter as soon as it is available.