Air April 10 - 16, 2007
Wheat Evaluation, post freezing
This is Ag Outlook 2007 on 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte, Geary County, K-State Research and Extension Ag & Natural Resources Agent. As I always like to say, Mother Nature always bats last and she has a much bigger bat! It may easily be several weeks yet before we can really ascertain how much damage was done from the freezes. I've heard reports as low as ten degrees in some locations in Geary County. I've been in some fields that were just starting to joint at the time of the coldest temperatures and there was very little damage other than burned leaves. Do not rush out to destroy any wheat anytime soon. First of all, damage is going to be worst in lowest lying fields AND in fields that were furthest along. The fields that were furthest along, in general were the earliest planted fields. Now, I don't mean to rub salt in an open wound, but I'm sure if I go back through my files, I'll find at least one or two radio programs where I strongly encouraged you NOT to start planting until after October 5th. There are many reasons for that, and we have now seen one of those reasons. Later planted fields, as in those planted notill into soybean stubble should have less, perhaps much less, damage. Not all tillers on a plant joint and develop at the same time. There are often many tillers that start to develop, but don't finish because of growing conditions. So even if you lose one or a couple of the early tillers on each plant, there are many more tillers that can yet develop and take the place of those lost tillers. Cool and damp conditions following the damage will greatly decrease the likelihood of yield loss and we are certainly seeing that right now. Bottom line, slow down, don't panic and wait to see what develops. This has been Ag Outlook 2007 on the Talk of JC, 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte.
Post Freeze Alfalfa evaluation
This is Ag Outlook 2007 on 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte, Geary County, K-State Research and Extension Ag & Natural Resources Agent. The good news is that even though the first cutting has been set back, the long term impact on the alfalfa crop should be nominal. The bad news is that the cold weather probably did little to reduce the alfalfa weevil population! In evaluating alfalfa damage following a hard freeze it is essential to pay close attention to the growing point of the alfalfa stem, which is that cluster of unfolded leaves at the top of the stem. If several days of warmer temperatures, being 40 or above, have occurred and that tip is still wilted over like a shepherds crook, then the growing point is probably dead. This is most likely the scenario that we are going to be facing given the temperatures we experienced and the length of time that we were blessed with them. If after a week there are not new shoots growing from lower parts of those stems then that shoot is dead and will eventually wilt down to nothing. If you do nothing at this point, the plant will eventually start shooting up new stems from the crown, but it might take a while. It would be best if you could go in and rotary mow the existing growth off about 2 to 3 inches high. This clipping action will stimulate the plant to start growing new shoots sooner. The other option is to flash graze it with cattle, but that means you will need to manage the bloat. Even though it might be wilted, it isn't dry enough not to cause a bloat problem. Weevils, while a few were killed, are pretty tough and will be waiting to feed on new growth once it starts to warm back up. Pea aphids can also move in and develop very quickly on new growth following a freeze so you will need to monitor the regrowth for those as well! This has been Ag Outlook 2007 on the Talk of JC, 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte.
Spring Crop Plans
This is Ag Outlook 2007 on 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte, Geary County, K-State Research and Extension Ag & Natural Resources Agent. I know that a lot of you out there have been busy scrambling for soybean or milo seed to plant into your failed wheat crop. I know that because the dealers have told me they've been getting the calls. SLOW DOWN! First of all, I'm going to bet that most of the fields are not as badly damaged as you may think. There are going to be some that get hammered, but most will NOT be hurt bad enough to justify tearing out and replanting with something else. Secondly, take a little bit of time to remember what you sprayed with for weed control and when that was done. I'm betting that most of you applied Finesse and it was probably sometime since the first of the year. Assuming that you have a soil pH below 7.5, your only option would be to plant STS soybeans or IR corn hybrids and then it has to be at least four months since the application of the Finesse. If you had that field treated in January, 4 months would put you into May. If you had the field sprayed in February, we're now talking about a June planting date. We're going to know pretty well where we are by the 20th of April and that will still leave you plenty of time. I've also had a few questions on corn planting time. On March 30th, the weekly average soil temperature was 61 degrees. On April 10th, the weekly average soil temperature had dropped to 49 degrees with a daily low of 43. It is too early to be planting corn, based on those temperatures. I would expect that until after the 15th we aren't going to have much warm up so I would be rather reluctant to start planting corn prior to about April 20th. You can plant earlier, but those seeds are going to sit in cold soil and that's when bad things happen. This has been Ag Outlook 2007 on the Talk of JC, 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte.
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