May 8 - 14, 2007
Planning Brome Grass Harvest
This is Ag Outlook 2007 on 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte, Geary County, K-State Research and Extension Ag & Natural Resources Agent. I believe I mentioned this a couple of weeks ago, but I want to go back to it again now - bromegrass. It was set back by the Easter freeze just like the wheat, but I haven't had many folks asking me about it - in fact just one so far. The lingering effects of the freeze are going to make it tricky to know when to cut your bromegrass for hay. We always recommend to cut bromegrass just as it is starting to bloom so that we get our best quality. The further into bloom and then seed production that you go, the more tonnage you get and the quality goes to heck in a hurry. And to be right honest, most people cut their bromegrass far too late. This year, I have already started to see a few bromegrass heads popping. But if you get out into a stand of brome you aren't going to find many heads or even tillers. In most years, we would be cutting bromegrass in late May and early June. I honestly still don't know how many seed head tillers we are going to have this year. And the recent rainfall is certainly going to help the bromegrass grow. What I am recommending at this time, is to monitor your bromegrass fields. If you find, in another week or two, that there are a lot of seedhead tillers coming on, then just hold off and cut the field when the heads start to come out of the boot and flower. IF you don't find many or any seedheads forming, I wouldn't wait too long. I would plan to be ready to start cutting no later than the end of the first week of June. Cutting early won't hurt the stand, it'll just reduce your yield. Cutting too late may hurt the stand and certainly hurt your quality. This has been Ag Outlook 2007 on the Talk of JC, 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte.
Continuing Wheat Crop 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 status of the wheat crop is still foremost on everyone's mind. Now, with the way the weather has been going, we may be to harvest before fields dry out enough to even consider about planting a different crop - the wet weather may force more fields to stay in wheat than had originally been planned. Someone asked me recently how long after a plant headed could I tell if the head was good or if it was sterile. Fortunately, given the time and stage of development that our wheat was at when the freeze occurred, it makes this task a little easier. Assuming, of course, no further freezes, if the tiller has continued to develop then the head is fine. In most cases, a hard freeze from jointing to pre-boot which kills the head will also cause the tiller to die in just a few days. The fact that the head is continuing to develop is a good sign. Frosts and freezes at boot and early heading can be a lot trickier to diagnose. The anthers or pollen sacks, are probably the most sensitive to the cold temperatures. A light frost at the wrong time will cause all or part of the head to be sterile. But the good news is that if the tillers are still developing, the head should be fine. If you really want to know, then about five days after flowering, a tiny developing kernel should become visible, although it might take a magnifying glass to see it at first. On the plus side, the cloudy, humid, rainy weather has been good for the freeze damaged wheat. And while some wheat is starting to head out, there are an awful lot of late tillers that really need to come on strong to help cover what we lost in that freeze. And we're still a long ways from harvest! This has been Ag Outlook 2007 on the Talk of JC, 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte.
Herbicides and delayed planting
This is Ag Outlook 2007 on 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte, Geary County, K-State Research and Extension Ag & Natural Resources Agent. Let's start this morning with delayed crop planting and impact on yield. It has not been a good spring for planting corn and the past few days haven't helped at all. We all pretty well accept that we would normally like to get that corn planted in the last 10 days of April. And here we are rapidly approaching the middle of May. If we still have corn to plant, what's going to be the impact on yield? Bottom line, planting around May 21st will reduce grain yields 25 to 50% and planting corn on May 31st will reduce it by 50% or more. Even if all you want is some silage, plant growth will be stunted UNLESS we have a really strange summer. Bottom line, if you can't get your corn planted by May 21st, you may want to start exploring other options. And fortunately, we are just now coming in to the normal start of soybean and grain sorghum planting time so we have over a month to get these crops planted. Some people have asked if planting soybeans on failed wheat acres will cause a problem because of all the nitrogen that was applied for the wheat crop. Fortunately, it won't hurt yield at all. If residual nitrate is available, the soybean plant will use it first and then switch over to making its own through nodulation. The extra nitrogen won't boost your soybean yields, but it won't hurt them either. But your soybean crop probably won't leave you as much nitrogen after harvest either. And quickly for you sorghum growers - the herbicide Lumax has been approved for use on grain sorghum through June 15th. If you are going to use Lumax you must have a copy of the Section 18 label - if you need assistance in getting that label, contact me! This has been Ag Outlook 2007 on the Talk of JC, 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte.
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