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Texas South Plains Corn, Late-planted Sorghum Doing Well

21 August 2013

US - Thanks to recent rains, South Plains corn is in good shape, as is grain sorghum, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert.

“The rains we’ve had since mid-June have been a tremendous benefit,” said Dr Calvin Trostle, AgriLife Extension agronomist specializing in corn and sorghum, Lubbock. “Certainly, producers are pushing corn as best they can with irrigation and close attention to spider mite and corn earworm control.”

Producers planted more grain sorghum in West Texas because of earlier projected high prices, but then there was considerably more planted on fields after failed dryland cotton, according to Trostle.

“We have the prospects for a very decent dryland grain sorghum crop in West Texas,” he said. “The rains have pushed the crop to a point where we may be able to finish out the crop with just a little more rainfall. There’s certainly cause for optimism.”

Though numbers of acres actually replanted to grain sorghum after failed cotton are not available, they are substantial, Trostle said. One factor was most of the failed cotton due to drought was on dryland, and grain sorghum was a good option as it can be planted relatively late in the season.

“There are certainly areas that make you say, ‘Wow! There’s a lot of sorghum here,’” he said. “South Lubbock County, Lynn County would be examples. I think I can name seven or eight farmers I know that replanted at least 3,000 acres themselves.”

There’s been a substantial amount of haygrazer—sorghum Sudan—that’s been planted this year as well, according to Trostle.

“The nice thing about haygrazer it that even though if it’s mid-July, and the opportunity to plant presents itself, we encourage people to go ahead and plant because you don’t have to rely upon physiological seed maturity to have a successful crop,” he said.

In the Lubbock area, about July 5 to 10 is the latest grain sorghum should be planted, Trostle said.

“But we’ve got another couple of weeks with the sorghum forages and be confident we can make a crop,” he said.

Even though the US Drought Monitor map still shows most of the Panhandle and South Plains region in severe to exceptional drought, the maps don’t tell the whole story, Trostle noted.

“The maps can’t show a little spot four miles wide by 10 miles long that has had 10 inches of rain since mid-June,” he said. “There are some spots here and there that have had 8, 9 and 10 inches, and most of that rain has come slow so there’s minimal runoff.”

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