|September 4, 2007
The grain yield information from Callahan, Concho, Gillespie, Glasscock, Runnels, and Taylor Counties has been summarized and linked here. Wheat variety test results varied greatly due to location, timeliness of the rain, and impact of an April freeze.
By now, the producers planning to plant for forage production should have plowed or sprayed their land to kill emerged weeds which will reduce problems with disease and insects. Also, early field preparation allows the soil time to firm up, this helps to support the weight of the drill allowing producers to plant seed at a 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) Note when dormancy breaks in each variety; 7) Pull off date for grazed wheat and its impact on grain yield; 8) Insect ratings; 9) comparison of certified wheat with standard wheat; and 10) Plant height, standability, test weight per bushel, moisture and grain yield.
Hessian fly caused wheat losses in several counties last year. In our region this insect has few natural enemies. The best recommendation is to use resistant varieties (http://sanangelo.tamu.edu/agronomy/newsltr/wht2007.htm) and to be careful on the movement of straw from areas with known infestations.
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. Some fields are approaching maturity and will need to be terminated. Several cotton crop termination tests have already been arranged. 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.
The ideal temperature for cotton boll development is 95 degrees for the max air temperature of the day and a minimum air temperature of 65 degrees at night. This allows for cotton to develop 24 hours per day. The cotton plant goes into a survival mode once the temperature gets above 95 degrees and that loss of development time is critical to developing bolls. Also, development time is lost when the "cotton boll" temperature is below 60 degrees; development of lint and seed is stopped.
If the boll development is slow we will get into the cooler part of the fall and the potential for freeze increases. Several studies have been conducted that have shown a benefit of applying Prep (Ethephon) three days before a freeze. The benefit of this 1.33 pint application has been the opening of bolls that remained closed in the untreated plots.
The crop is progressing well. We will need to prepare for an early harvest on the cotton planted before May 31. This cotton should be ready for termination by the end of September. That is a general statement excluding the loss of bolls from environmental stresses and insect damage. As cool temperatures become more common and the length of daylight hours continues to shorten then the boll maturity period will continue to increase. That will result in crop termination being delayed.
I would appreciate it if you would estimate the number of cotton samples that will need to be ginned. Once the total is determined please call me with the totals so I can book the gin at Lubbock for either one or two days.
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 content 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.
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, weeds 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.
On September 10, there will be a training conducted at Abilene for producers needing to obtain a Private Applicator's license. For more details and to register for the meeting, call Gary Bomar at (325) 672-6048.