Air April 24 - 30, 2007
Alfalfa Field Evaluation
This is Ag Outlook 2007 on 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte, Geary County, K-State Research and Extension Ag & Natural Resources Agent. If you can get past the lost yield and the potential economic impact, that freeze has really been an opportunity to observe a lot of reactions from plants. Let's take alfalfa. It took until Friday the 13th of April, how appropriate, to finally have enough warm weather following the freeze to start to see damage. Up until then, alfalfal plants were all crooked over, but the stems were still green. By the 18 or 19th of April though, most of the stems were pretty brown. I'm sure many people are thinking they wasted some weevil spray that first week of April. What we were seeing recently though is that every field that was sprayed, even just a couple days before the cold weather, appears to have pretty good kill, although it took quite a while to really tell for sure. In fields not sprayed, weevil larvae have been very active and lack of regrowth may be due to weevil feeding damage. As expected, most plants that I was looking at recently were showing regrowth primarily from the crown, sometimes from the bottom bud or two on the original stem and occasionally we would find a stem that wasn't badly damaged. But what really showed up, was how weedy many of the alfalfa fields are. If you have driven by your alfalfa and saw some brown plants but a lot of green, it is highly unlikely that any of the green was alfalfa. It was grass or weeds, often henbit. The alfalfa is coming back and we should have a good cutting. It's too late to do much with those weeds now. But if you keep that field in alfalfa, you need to seriously plan to apply a dormant season herbicide. This has been Ag Outlook 2007 on the Talk of JC, 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte.
Wheat Field Evaluation
This is Ag Outlook 2007 on 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte, Geary County, K-State Research and Extension Ag & Natural Resources Agent. We've had enough warm weather and sunshine to start showing the damage to the wheat and we can officially say, there was damage. But that's about the only thing that is definitive at this time. Late last week I was seeing a lot of dead and damaged tillers, I saw a lot of late tillers starting to develop. If we get a week or two of hot dry windy weather between now and June 15th, the wheat crop will be toast. If we have rain, clouds and cool weather, we'll have a good crop. But what will we have? Most years I would be encouraging you to just ride it out and take the wheat crop to harvest. But this year we have to confounding problem of really good wheat prices, AND soybean prices, AND milo prices. It makes the decision a whole lot harder for me and you. Here's my gut feeling at this point in time. If you have a wheat field where more than 50% of it is laying flat, and you probably know exactly what I mean, you may well want to destroy it and go to a secondary crop depending on what your wheat herbicide choice will let you do. That's a big if with our wheat herbicides today. If it is less than 50% flat you are probably better off to let it continue growing. The good news is that we are still a couple weeks out from starting most soybean or milo harvest. We don't have to decide today or even this month. Sure you might want to get some soybean seed, but don't gamble too much. We can wait two weeks and see what the wheat is looking like. We can wait and see what the 30 day forecast is looking like. Right now the long range forecasts are very neutral on temperature and precipitation. So we probably need to just need to take it a day at a time. This has been Ag Outlook 2007 on the Talk of JC, 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte.
Brome Fields and other grasses
This is Ag Outlook 2007 on 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte, Geary County, K-State Research and Extension Ag & Natural Resources Agent. Of all the questions that I have received since the freeze, only one has been on bromegrass and that was from a farmer from northeast of here quite a ways. Sure, for many of you, bromegrass is a secondary hay crop that may be in the waterways or in a hay field, but it's not a major crop like wheat or alfalfa. But brome is still pretty important to a lot of folks and I'm surprised I haven't had more questions. But on the other hand, we honestly know even less about the damage to the bromegrass than we do about the damage to the wheat! Bromegrass is a perennial and it does have a little bit more flexibility to produce seed tillers than an annual grass like wheat. I'm sure some tillers were killed but for most of our production, we're looking at hay, not seed. In fact, if we were to have a reduction in the number of seed head tillers this year, that might not be a bad thing. The tonnage might be reduced, but the quality would be improved greatly. In fact, the freeze may increase tiller numbers, lengthen the vegetative period this spring and it may work out okay. I do know that late last week, the bromegrass was looking a lot better than the wheat. For native warm season grasses, the freeze was a non issue. Most of them weren't growing yet and the moisture that came with the cold weather was an absolute boon for soil moisture and I'm even seeing more springs, seeps and seasonal streams running than I have in quite a few years. Bottom line, the forages should be in pretty good shape, and there may even be some opportunity to graze out a little wheat, the way some of those fields are looking! This has been Ag Outlook 2007 on the Talk of JC, 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte.
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