Doug Jardine & Diseases in Sorghum

(Jamie) Thanks for staying with us. Let’s see what Dr. Jardine has to say about diseases found in sorghum, specifically Fusarium and Charcoal Rot.
(Duane) Duane Toews joining you once again with AGam in Kansas. And while the 2016 Sorghum Schools were going on across the state a chance to catch up with Plant Pathologist at Kansas State University Doug Jardine. And Doug, we think about sorghum crops, not always the most glamorous as far as diseases are concerned but there’s some old school diseases that continue to plague that particular crop. (Doug) That’s right Duane and we covered a lot of different diseases today, but in grain sorghum in Kansas, most of our problems come either at the very beginning of the year, or at the very end of the year. So, in the first part of the talk, we talked a little bit about the seedling blights that are out there. There are no magic bullets for the growers to try and control those. Our sorghum seed comes treated with a fungicide and for the most part it does a pretty good job. But in certain years, especially if we get a lot of rainy cold weather within a week or two after planting, those products just don’t keep up and then they can have some problems. So, we talked a little bit about that and the conditions that are brought on. In the middle of the talk we covered a lot of areas of things that maybe are just occasionally seen. So, they may be curious about them. But in the big picture things, they really don’t cause any yield loss. An then the thing that we really hit hard, was the stalk rots. In 2015 there were many places in the state, especially in the north central, northwest area of the state, where we had significant lodging in many fields. I personally saw fields that had lodging that were several acres in size. I mean, they were absolutely flat on the ground. And of course, that becomes a harvest nightmare for the growers. Even if the yields are there, if they want to try and pick it up, they have to drive real slow and time is money for them. And so, we talked about the conditions that can bring on stalk rot in Kansas. We have two. One called Fusarium and one called Charcoal Rot. Fusarium likes a little cooler, wetter weather. Charcoal Rot likes hotter and drier. In 2015 pretty much everything we saw out there was Fusarium stalk rot. And so there’s things they can do controlling insects because the loss of leaf area can increase Stalk Rot. There are some fertility things we know, adding chloride if it’s needed to a field can increase the standability. And then we talked about genetic resistance and we used some current field data where they had significant amounts of lodging in some of the hybrids and zero in others. And we talked about how they can use information, for instance in the Kansas State Sorghum Performance Test to help them make those final selections on hybrids. (Duane) Obviously when you see those lodging issues it becomes very apparent what your yield loss is. You and I’ve talked before that healthy plants are the most productive plants and sometimes our disease issues tend to be that silent yield robber. (Doug) That’s right. One of the things we talked about with growers is that you can in fact have Stalk Rot without lodging. Lodging is the most severe case of Stalk Rot and in some of our late planted sorghum this year, it got iced on and it got big winds and that caused a lot of lodging. But just the decay of that lower stalk, it reduces the flow of nutrients and water up to the head as it’s developing and you end up with smaller heads with smaller seeds and maybe five or ten percent yield loss with no lodging at all out in the field. (Duane) Our thanks to Doug Jardine for joining us here at KFRM and AGam in Kansas with the 2016 Sorghum Schools. Jamie, we’ll send it back to you.
(Jamie) Thanks, Duane! Folks, come back after the break for the Kansas Farm Bureau Legislative Update.

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