Texas Plains: Lots of Weather Problems, Few Complaints About Rain

Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson

General Status

Fields are just starting to dry out. Hopefully for not too long, but at least long enough to get our crops evaluated, decisions made, and field work accomplished. We still do not have a good handle on our planted or crop status yet. Only in the past few days have we been able to make any scouting rounds. We will be working heavy this weekend and early next week at both evaluated field establishment and planting our remaining research trials.

Despite something of a ‘rough’ establishment period that is ripe with seedling diseases, no heat unit accumulation, hail, wireworms, chilling injury, and more, I have heard no one complain about the rains. It has been plentiful enough that just about every field to my knowledge has had several inches accumulate across the entire region.

It certainly feels like we are in pretty good shape despite issues. We certainly have fields that will fail to establish, and we have missed planting windows. But we also have dryland fields actually establishing this year, good replant options, and best of all, some moisture to work with.

Cotton

The fields we have been able to scout in the last few days have only been the fields that received the least about of weather from the latest events. Most fields should be accessible for scouts by now, but it is just tough to be everywhere at once. That might be something many of us have in common over the next few days as we expect to have some days acceptable for field work upcoming.

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The fields we have been able to scout have been in surprisingly good shape, although some have definitely failed. Our stand counts averaged from the upper 30,000’s to upper 40,000’s plants per acre for our older irrigated fields. Of those that failed, our irrigated populations were well below 20,000 with very little hope of more coming up due to a plethora of issues affecting those seedlings still pushing.

I am not sure if the older/younger cotton field survivability trend will continue as we progress across more acres. I do know the fields we have looked at already should represent a higher-than-average percentage of older fields from our PPM scouting program cotton fields.

Based upon all the issues these seedlings have and are working through, I do suggest that if you are not happy with your plant stands or the health of those stands by mid-week next week that alternate options be considered due to realistic profitability expectations.

Our oldest field this week was consistently at the 3rd true leaf stage while our youngest is still in the intended planting zone. Thrips were higher in these fields than expected with some fields averaging over 2 thrips per true leaf stage and more than half the fields exhibiting thrips that were higher than the economic threshold of 1 thrips per true leaf stage.

These fields might be the exception to the rule as they were indeed older with seed treatments playing out and were in very near vicinity of many wheat acres.

Sorghum & Corn

It is a similar situation for our grain and hay crops in that we have not been able to scout very many fields. What we have scouted so far looks a tad ragged but remains in pretty good shape.

Generally speaking, our grain crops handle harsh weather better than cotton and should be of less concern. The threat is not zero from the factors these fields have been through, and I suggest checking a sampling of roots and growing points for health and chilling injury signs as soon as practical.

We expect to see several regional fields replanted to these crops soon, and I encourage producers to consult with the regions many qualified entomologists and agronomists to find the best varietal fit and quickly form a solid IPM and weed management plan for these fields. Overlooking a seemingly minor detail could short-change another wise optimistic situation.

Our oldest corn scouted is at V7 stage and our oldest sorghum is at V6, but most fields are still averaging about V4. We are still seeing any pests of note in the grain fields yet, but we are recognizing several early season disease and nutrient shortage clues.

Sorghum and corn, as long as the growing point and roots are healthy, should grow out of these early disease issues with warmer weather and most of these nutrient deficiency signs are waterlogging related.




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