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Copyright © 2012 Whitney Consulting Group
It is hard to believe that this pretty flower could cause lots of problems in hay fields but it is! Texas Toadflax is the only weed that survived 1.5 pts of Grazon Next HL herbicide applied on April 6. It is not known to be a tough weed to kill but unfortunately the herbicide has selected it out of all the other weeds and now it is the dominant weed in the field. Looks pretty but it sure will make the hay quality low.
This has been an unusual year and it is becoming evident in our small grain crops. The fall was one of the driest ever on record and most of the grain was up but not growing and looked almost dead in December - then it rained. The rains we got around Christmas and then the first of January was just what the crop needed and it started growing. But, we went from rain to unusually warm temperatures at night and the crop switched from vegetative growth producing good tillers to reproductive. In almost all fields I go to there is the first node visible at ground level and in some cases we are at boot with heads exposed. The photo at left is of triticale that has headed out in a large field. There were just a few spots like this but the rest of the field was at hollow stem with heads close to emerging.
What does this mean for grain or forage production. Well they will both be light. Most of the crop is short and since it is now heading it wont grow much more. Any tillers produced now wont make grain and they wont grow much since energy is going to grain production. So, sadly it looks like we wont have much of small grain crop in this very unusual year.
Khaki weed (Alternanthera pungens) also known as creeping chaffweed or matt chafflower, is probably one of the worst yard weeds we can have. As you can see in the picture it is very low growing so that the mower never touches it. Khaki weed will grow all season and you barely notice it and then in the fall it becomes exposed and flowers. The flowers you see are spiny, very spiny, and those spiny flowers will stick in your shoes or even worse in your feet.
Control must take place early in the season or like most weeds it gets mature and almost impossible to control. For homeowners the Ortho Product called Weed B Gon will do the job but it must be late spring.
Woolly Croton, commonly known as dove weed has been a huge weed problem this year across the Cross Timbers area of Texas. This weed is typically not a problem unless we have a drought and competition from other forages is less. This weed can produce a deep root system searching for moisture and the stems can get so woody and hard that it is hard to shred. Most of the broadleaf weed control products will work if applied early in the spring when the weed germinates. By the stage we see in the picture control is not possible.
There are always questions about what herbicide works the best on certain weeds. In this demonstration we applied 4 chemical combinations to control both henbit and mustards growing in oats. The application was made on November 7th using the applicator pictured. Swaths of chemical were applied and 2 outside nozzles were turned off for a check between treatments. Treatments were 4 ounces of Dicamba per acre in plot 1. Plot 2 is 1.5 pints of MCPE per acre. Plot 3 is 4 ounces of Dicamba with 12 ounces of 2,4-D per acre and the last or Plot 4 is .4 ounces of Affinity and 1 pint of MCPE per acre. Evaluating the plots at two weeks showed the Dicamba with little effect, the MCPE and Dicamba/2,4-D with some effect but very slow and the Affinity/MCPE working very well. Further evaluations will be done.
Most growers that get low prices want to blame somebody and there are two "somebodies" that come to mind - Stink bugs and Pecan Weevil! Any pecan buyer is going to be looking closely for either insect problem when they buy your pecan crop and by the time you have your pecans at the buyer, you are too late. Of course stink bugs cause the dark brown to black spots on the pecan kernel and those spots taste terrible. Nobody wants to buy a pecan with stink bug damage and if the kernel is in a pecan show sample, there is no choice but to grade it way down. Pecan weevil larvae eat the inside of a pecan nut which is not so bad if you are shelling them because that can be eliminated. The problem becomes selling the nuts inshell - nobody wants to buy them knowing they have pecan weevil. So, if prices are lower this year we may have lots of somebodies to blame but make sure you don't have to blame these two somebodies!
Oklahoma and Texas endured a severe drought in 2011, and dry conditions persist for 2012. Drought conditions cause extreme stress on pecan trees. Water is critical for tree survival and nut production, and is involved in all processes within the trees, ranging from nutrient transportation to the production of leaves and fruit. It is important for producers to understand the effects of drought and how pecan trees cope with the stress it brings. To read more go here Drought Stress on Pecan Trees
It is hard for me to believe but after only 6 months in Africa Laurie and I are headed home to Texas. There has been a change in agreements between TAMU and the Buffett Foundation and as a result they don't need a farm manager from Texas. Now I can add working in Africa as an item on my CV!
CIMMYT (International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center) does a tremendous amount of research on varieties adapted to local conditions. Here you see a picture of Seed Maize ready to send out to African Seed Producers. This is Basic and Pre-Basic seed that will be planted and crossed with other maize varieties to produce a local, adapted variety that farmers can plant. Lots of work but worth it in the long run.
The yellow-bellied sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius), a member of the woodpecker family, is a migratory bird whose summer breeding range includes Texas. The identifying field markings of adult birds are a black crescent on the breast, pale yellow belly, white wing stripe, and a crimson crown. The male also has crimson chin and throat, distinguishing him from the female whose chin and throat are white.
Although insects make up part of its diet, the sapsucker is better known for its boring of numerous holes in the bark of live trees to obtain sap, the activity from which it derives its name.