September 2, 2005

Wheat

Small grain results from the West Region Uniform Variety Trials conducted in Callahan, Concho, Gillespie, McCulloch, Reeves, and Taylor Counties have been compiled and linked here. Complete test summaries have been received from Coke, Concho, and McCulloch Counties.

Information from other wheat tests are available.

Several counties have requested wheat and oat seed for result demonstrations to be planted this fall. When the seed is ready to be picked up I will let you know.

The recent rains resulted in the germination of a lot of weeds and volunteer wheat seed. To retain the moisture and the firm seedbed for planting purposes, producers may have to apply a herbicide. A 10 to 12 ounce application of Roundup will take care of most of the small plants. However, in some fields the weeds are large and an application of Gramoxone Max (paraquat) may be needed. Remember that paraquat is a contact herbicide and adequate carrier and pressure will be needed to get the desired coverage. By eliminating these unwanted plants, you will have given yourself a better chance of avoiding early season insect and disease problems. By using herbicides instead of a plow the seedbed remains firm which helps to support the weight of the drill and allow the seed to be planted at the desired depth of 1.5 to 2 inches. Planting depth is usually shallower (1.5 inches) in hot, dry soils and is planted to a depth of 2 to 2.25 inches in the mid-October time frame. The planting depth is reduced to 1.5 inches when we get to the mid-November time frame.

Some small grain tests that can be conducted include: 1) Effect of planting date and rate on forage and grain production; 2) Determination of forage production in the Fall and in the Spring; 3) Timing and rate of nutrient application; 4) Disease ratings of wheat; 5) Weed control; 6) Pull off date for grazed wheat and its impact on grain yield; 7) Insect ratings; 8) Comparison of certified wheat with standard wheat; and 9) Plant height, standability, test weight per bushel, moisture and grain yield.

In 2005, Hessian fly caused wheat losses in several counties. The buildup of natural enemies is not likely due to hot dry summer temperatures in this region. The best recommendation is to use resistant varieties and to be careful when moving straw from areas with known infestations.

Cotton

The cotton crop varies greatly on maturity. Some will be ready for harvest aids by mid-September and about 200,000 acres will need a hot open fall to develop quality lint. All of the bolls that will make an open boll with quality lint and yield are now on the plant. The bolls will need warm temperatures through September (all 30 days) for boll maturation to occur. Several cotton crop termination tests have already been arranged.

The application of harvest aids is done by more than 50 percent of the producers in our region. The harvest aid used by most dryland producers is paraquat. I use this active ingredient name because Syngenta keeps changing the name. For years paraquat was sold as Cyclone , a 2 pound material; then it went to Cyclone Max, a 3 pound material; and now it is called Gramoxone Max, which is a 3 pound material. Gramoxone Max use rate is not to exceed 21 ounces per acre. From tests previously conducted with paraquat, an application of the product in the late evening provided the highest level of desiccation. For defoliation purposes the chemical needs to be applied in the middle of the day.

Your seeing a lot of press on ETTM, a product marketed by Nichino America Inc. It was used on test plots in Tom Green County in 2002 and 2003 as ET-751. It worked well but had no advantage to Aim , Blizzard or Resource which work basically the same way. If your familiar with Aim then you have a good idea of how ETTM works.

I would appreciate it if you would estimate the number of cotton samples that will need to be ginned in November or December of 2005. Once the total is determined I can book the gin at Lubbock for either one or two days. If you have your plot information completed please forward me a copy.

Four days of solid cloud cover resulted in a loss of several cotton bolls; you will have to look at the plants closely to see the problem. That gap in fruit set was not caused by some insect infestation that went undetected. The gap of boll set was due to the cloud cover and carbohydrate stress that resulted. The bolls 1 to 4 days old were aborted by the plant. There is not anything that the producer can do about this. What needs to be watched closely is the plants reaction to the reduced fruitload and the increased amount of soil moisture. If the plant growth is out of control an application of Pix may be needed. The sooner it is put on the less that will be needed to get the job done. Basically, you have to get the amount of Pix to approximately 10 parts per million to slow plant growth; the larger the plant the more growth regulator needed.

Due to the start up cost charged by electric companies to cotton gins, producers may want to work with their gin to delay processing of seed cotton until enough modules are available to justify starting. Lint yield and quality can be preserved for a long period of time if the module is built correctly. The module needs to be packed firm with lint moisture kept below 12 percent. It should look like a loaf of bread and the tarp securely attached. These modules need to be placed on a packed well drained area until they can be ginned. Several studies have shown that these well built and properly stored modules can maintain quality of lint and seed for six months.

Sticky cotton is BAD! With the number of aphids that are present on cotton leaves, producers will need to keep a close watch on the developing cotton bolls. Before the first boll opens, aphid populations will need to be reduced to less than five per leaf. With a 18 million bale cotton crop--buyers will not just discount sticky cotton--they will not buy it!

Weed Control Opportunity

This fall may provide a great opportunity to control perennial weeds. Soil moisture is favorable for growth, weeds have a minimal amount of dust on the leaves, and weeds have developed with minimal moisture and heat stress. If this describes your weeds, then an application of a herbicide should result in a high level of weed control.

Pesticide Recertification Training

On September 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 Gary Bomar at (325) 672-6048.

If you have training or a CEU course during the next two months, please let me know so I can share that information with other agents and producers. Thanks.

Monthly Calendar

September

September 1, District 7 Office, Sheep and Goat Field Day
September 2, Deaf Smith County, Pick Up Wheat Seed
September 12, District 7 Office, Office Conference
September 13, Reagan County, Multi-County Crops Tour
September 16, Tom Green County, Professional Ag Workers
September 20, District 6 Office, Specialist Scheduling
September 21, Howard County, Harvest Aid Test Plot Establishment
September 22, Mitchell County, County Crops Tour
September 27, District 7 Office, Specialist Scheduling
September 21, District 7 Office, Teleconference
September 28, Tom Green County, Crop Tour
September 29, Runnels County, Crop Tour
Throughout September, Several Counties, Establish Harvest Aid Tests
Throughout September, Several Counties, Establish Perennial Weed Control Tests

October

October 3, District 7 Office, Office Conference
October 6, Fisher County, Ag Day
October 11, McCulloch County, Soil and Soil Fertility
October 21, Tom Green County, Professional Ag Workers
October 25, McCulloch County, Plant Growth and Development
Throughout October, Several Counties, Establish Harvest Aid Tests
Throughout October, Several Counties, Establish Perennial Weed Control Tests


Sincerely,


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