Air April 17 - 23, 2007

Wheat Evaluation, a week later

This is Ag Outlook 2007 on 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte, Geary County, K-State Research and Extension Ag & Natural Resources Agent. After several days in the deep freeze, we have finally gotten enough sunshine and warm weather to start to evaluate the extent of the damage. The first day last week that the sun came out and the temperatures got above 50, we started to see damage show up in the wheat fields and show up quickly. Now a lot of that early damage was the superficial damage to the upper leaves and leaf tips. As I split those stems open, the heads were still too difficult to tell if there had been damage simply because of how deep down inside the plant they still were. But I would hope that by now, or at least in a couple more days, we'll have a better chance at determining if the head is still alive or not. I do know that early last week, some of the folks with Kansas Crop Improvement Association were doing some testing of those little wheat heads that were still looking okay, and they were finding little, if any, cell respiration occurring which would indicate death of the head. As I was saying last week, it's going to take some time and warm temperatures for all that damage to really show up, and then we are going to have to wait and see what the weather is going to do as to whether those late tillers have a chance. How cold did it really get? Sensitive recording equipment set up in wheat fields in the Humboldt Creek valley recorded temperatures 1 inches off the ground below 15 degrees. That is going to be very damaging to any head that was at that level and I would be surprised if any of those little wheat heads are still alive. Not really cheery news this morning, but that's the way it's shaping up. 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. I really hope that nobody had any corn planted yet, because this weather is not going to be good on that corn sitting down in that very cold, very wet soil. But, let's spend some more time talking about the alfalfa fields. It is pretty safe to say that all those shoots and stems from that early season growth are now dead. Even if they don't turn black, wither up and die, the growing point is dead and will make no more growth. In time, even if you do nothing, the next round of stems will shoot up from the crown, the problem is that it may take several weeks for this to happen. That is why it would be advisable to get out and clip those stems. Clipping at even 2 to 3 inches tall, will stimulate those dormant shoots to get growing and will shorten the time before we'll get that first cutting. Will this freeze reduce yield this year? More than likely, but so much, of course, depends on the weather. Even though I really would like to see you clip those stems, we need to get the soil dried out and firmed up first. We don't need to compound our problems by laying a bunch of ruts through those stressed plants. We also don't want to use a swather to clip those heads because we don't want to have a windrow burying parts of the field. It may not be much of a windrow, but it would be a problem. You can try it with a swather and if you aren't really leaving much of a windrow, have at it. Two other options are a rotary mower or flail chopper OR, if you still have that old sickle bar mower, that would work pretty good also. And then once that new regrowth starts, you probably need to be out there daily checking for weevils that survived or pea aphids that could be developing. This has been Ag Outlook 2007 on the Talk of JC, 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte.

Beef action items

This is Ag Outlook 2007 on 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte, Geary County, K-State Research and Extension Ag & Natural Resources Agent. You know, I'm getting sick and tired of looking at freeze damaged plants and talking about freeze damaged plants. Let's talk about cattle and pastures for awhile and focus on something that is alive. After that warm spell in March and then that cold April weather, keep an eye on those young calves for any respiratory or other health issues. Don't let things drag on for a long time - get the vet called and get things straightened out before you have a train wreck. With the weather, pastures may or may not get burned this year. Most pastures will burn much later, meaning with a lot of green, than many people realize. Burning on into that first week of May isn't that bad a thing. If you don't burn a pasture that you'd planned on, go ahead and use the opportunity to do some herbicide treatments on brush. Shortly after we turn cattle out on grass we're going to be heading into the breeding season so take some time now to make sure all the cows and bulls are ready. Run a soundness check on your bulls to make sure that they are ready to do the job. If you wind up with a few open cows, get rid of those cows. If you end up with a lot of open cows, get rid of the bull! Once calves reach 60 days of age, go ahead and implant them to increase weaning weight. Make sure that all the calves are identified and then go ahead and get the livestock scales and weigh those calves going into the pasture and coming out so you can see how they did. Also make sure to set up a preconditioning program of some kind to get all your cattle ready to go to grass and then make sure that your pasture is going to have enough grass for the number of head you want to ut in there. This has been Ag Outlook 2007 on the Talk of JC, 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte.

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