Texas West Plains: Grain Sorghum, Peanuts, Cotton – 2 Videos

    Open cotton boll. Photo: Larry Stalcup, AgFax Media

    Grain Sorghum – You Must Scout!

    Grain sorghum ranges from just planted for cover to nearing harvest on early planted acres.  

    Sorghum acres which have not developed a grain head yet should not worry about protecting it from pests. The economics are just not there. These acres at best will serve as a good cover crop. Those acres which have flowered and are making grain could have time to mature and may be worth protecting from sugarcane aphids and possibly headworms. The recent rains have improved the prospects on some of these acres. So, sugarcane aphids (SCA) have become more consistent in fields infested and in their numbers. Here is the link to the SCA management guide. YOU MUST SCOUT! Those fields which are post-flowering need to also be scouted for headworms.


    In peanuts I am not concerned now with foliage feeders or other insect pests. The incidence of disease has been variable since the rain. I am not seeing much leaf spot, but verticillium wilt has become more prevalent in some fields since last week’s rain. In this situation digging sooner will be a must. We need more time to mature more pods, but the longer we wait the more yield loss there will be from the vert. This open weather may buy some time for maturity. Most fields still are 20 days out if not 30 from trying to dig peanuts. Irrigate only as needed to keep peanuts fresh and/or to help digging conditions.


    The cotton crop is safe from most all insect pests at this time, other than cotton aphids. We do still have low numbers of cotton aphids, but since the rain many colonies have vanished. It was a combination of beneficials feeding on the aphids and change in the physiology of the plant such that it is a poor host at this time. Verticillium wilt has become more pronounced the past couple of weeks, especially with the recent rains. Make note of those fields which have vert wilt and select a variety next season for those fields which will be more tolerant. Now is still an excellent time to sample the soil for cotton root-knot nematode infestation. This will help determine level of management you will need to use next year as well. Cotton harvest is fast approaching. Here is the link to last year’s cotton harvest aid guide.  

    I have not had anyone ask about irrigating since we received those good rains last week. I do not anticipate that anyone will need to irrigate from this point on, though stranger things have happened. I expect that any stress cotton may go under over the next few weeks will be recovered from by morning time. So that level of stress is very desirable. That way you know the plant is recovering and you are not wasting any water or adding to the potential for regrowth. Besides the odds of measurable precipation is still good for the remainder of this month.

    I have included the results from our local harvest aid trails in our newsletter on page 4.

    Video 1 – Assessing Cotton Maturity for Harvest Aid Applications

    Video 2 – Cotton Harvest Aids

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