August 2, 2004


The grain yield information from Coke, Coleman, Concho, Gillespie, Jones, McCulloch, Runnels, Taylor and Tom Green Counties have been summarized and linked here. Complete test summaries have been received from Coke, Concho, Runnels (Bredemeyers and Workman), and Tom Green Counties. Wheat variety test results varied greatly due to location and timeliness of the rain.

A lot of planning has gone into developing the 2004 Big Country Wheat Conference to be held in Abilene, Texas on August 19. There are a number of excellent speakers on the program and it will be worth your time and effort to attend. Click here for an agenda.

The time to contact me for planning small grain tests is now. I will attempt to find the lowest price seed, for the last two years it has averaged around $9.00 per bag. Some of the limited varieties have cost as much as $20 for a fifty pound bag. Variety tests can be designed to look at grain production, forage production or both. Seed may be needed for grazing studies looking at planting date and/or livestock removal date, seed treatment studies, and small grain comparison tests. Other types of demonstrations include fertility and weed control tests. For weed control we will be looking for plots that have problems with Wild oats, Ryegrass, Rescuegrass, or Jointed Goatgrass.

Field preparation for planting small grains should be completed soon so the seedbeds have time to firm. Volunteer plants and weeds serve as host for insects and disease and need to be terminated a minimum of two weeks before planting. The use of a burndown herbicide will also work, but time is needed to allow for the plant to die and dry out.

Similar to last year, my guess is that Agripro will require an "Agripro Wheat Demo Seed Distribution Agreement" form to be signed by you and the cooperating producer of the result demonstration plots. Basically, the agreement form is to prevent anyone from saving or selling any seed grown within the county demonstration plots. TAES is also considering a similar form for its experimental lines currently in Foundation Seed. I will keep you updated.

The following varieties are being considered for the uniform variety trials in the West Region. Jagalene, Cutter, 2145, TAM 111, Stanton (Kansas), Thunderbolt, Jagger, Dumas, Coronado, TAM 110 CL, Longhorn, Sturdy 2K, WinMaster, Hardeman Grain 9, and Abilene Ag Exp. #1.

If you need assistance in securing other Small Grains (oats, barley, etc.) or Ryegrass for tests please contact me soon.


The July rains were appreciated and the potential for a good cotton crop exists. To avoid delays in cotton plant development producers should consider making a foliar application of nitrogen. This is important if the soil is more sand than clay and have received 3 inches of rain. The available nitrogen in the small cotton may have leached below the root zone. By applying 5 to 6 pounds of actual nitrogen the plant can continue to develop and eventually will be able to extract needed nitrogen from the soil. Urea is used by a number of producers for this purpose and their primary 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. 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.

The cloudy weather certainly impacted cotton plants that were blooming. Total cloud cover for more than 72 hours causes a carbohydrate stress and the plant aborts all bolls under 4 days of age until the stress is relieved. This gap in fruit load will cause a problem at the end of the season as we try to time harvest aid applications.

Producers are asking for late planted cotton strategies. You can't speed the cotton up since it is driven by heat. The cool temperatures in July cost us a little time but I expect that August will be hot. The cotton plant functions at maximum level if the temperature remains between 72 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. As daytime temperatures get above 95 degrees we are losing plant development time. Square retention on cotton impacted by high air temperatures in August will be a challenge. Cotton plants will not develop enough leaf canopy to shade most of the soil surface. As the small squares (less than five days of age) are developing, the heat generated from the soil surface is high enough to result in pollen sterilization. Generally, if there was only one or two days of these hot temperatures, most producers would not even notice the loss of bolls at flowering. However, with a week of these temperatures, we will have an obvious gap in the cotton fruiting pattern and producers will want to blame it on a flush of insects or something. The biggest problem will be apparent by September 5th. For quality lint the cotton needs to bloom in our region by that date. After that date, it may make lint but the micronaire and yield per boll will be low. To help reduce the impact of low micronaire, producers may want to reduce plant development by applying mepiquat chloride during the first week in September. This will reduce the amount of low quality lint by reducing the number of immature bolls harvested at the end of the season. The cotton will need a lot of heat units in September and October and a late freeze if it is going to make it.

How do you decide when to apply a growth regulator? No growth regulator is needed if the plant is:

  1. Moisture stressed,
  2. Approaching cutout (less than 5 nodes remain above the top white bloom in the first position),
  3. Averaging a combined length of less than 10 inches on the top five nodes, and
  4. Averaging more than six bolls per plant.

Harvest Aids

Some of the early planted cotton is progressing at a rapid rate and may be ready to terminate by the middle of September. If your planning to conduct cotton harvest aid termination tests let me know. Currently, Rick Minzenmayer, Warren Multer, and Tommy Yeater are planning to establish tests this fall.

Pesticide Recertification Training

On August 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


August 2, District Office, Office Conference
August 4, Runnels County, Establish Weed Control Test Plot
August 9, Brown County, Small Grain Production Meeting
August 10 & 11, Dallas County, Bayer Crop Sciences Meeting
August 19, Taylor County, Big Country Wheat Conference
August 20, Tom Green County, Professional Ag Workers Meeting
August 20, Burnet County, Small Grain Production Meeting
August 27, Tom Green County, Southern Rolling Plains Gin Delegates Meeting
August 31, Schleicher County, Small Grain Production Meeting


September 2, District Office, Sheep and Goat Field Day
September 6, Holiday,
September 13, District Office, Office Conference
September 15 - 18, Moline, Illinois, National ESP Meeting
September 21, District 7 Office, Specialist Scheduling


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