Sorghum Update

(Ignacio) Sorghum conditions across the state are looking very favorable. We also are presenting some potential issues close to the end of the season. So, what other things do we need to know about sorghum at this point? Its dimensions are presenting by the USDA around mid-August are showing that sorghum yield looks able to match previous years. When you are looking at the acreage numbers we also are going up. So, this year is looking like it could be a really good year for sorghum productions. What are the main challenges from now until the end of the season on sorghum? As you can see, some of the sorghums that we have around here, sorghum was moving from flowering and we already finished most of the flowering across the state and we are moving to the coloring stage. So the coloring as you can see, it’s a different…100 percent different colors. This is the section that we are entering in to the grain filling. Again, the time of the grain filling means that this specific point of the season that sorghum needs some energy. An idea is to accumulate more sugars, increasing the seed size, accumulating more sugars on the grains. For that one of the things that we can have as a potential challenge is in the next coming weeks might be a couple things. One that we need to emphasize is the sugarcane aphid. So sugarcane aphid, this is one of the first seasons that it is a very challenging pest that is going all across the state. We have a very good group of entomologists that they are tracking down exactly where is the pest located? And we have daily updates on knowing exactly if the pest is in different counties. At this point, here in Riley County where Kansas State University is the main campus, we have some sugarcane aphids. So, that’s kind of something that we were not expecting to see. The layers of infestations are not really that high. So, at this point we are not recommending yet any application in order to control them. But we need to be very, very careful because these things extend to really populate the sorghum right away and we don’t have much time to react. So, if you see some sugarcane aphids, it’s just a red flag. And we need to be very careful and we need to make sure and have just that insecticide quite ready just to spray. Another potential issue from now until the end of the season might be the heat units. At this point we are having some weeks that we were around 90 degrees, 95 degrees. What would be the challenge might be presenting the challenge in the next coming weeks. Anytime that we are seeing temperatures dropping down, it would be a challenge in terms of closing that sorghum. When we are talking about closing the crop, it means that we will have situations that the crop will not be accumulating so much heat units. And then one of the main factors when we are looking at the grain filling for sorghum is heat. It is a factor that is increasing the rate of accumulation of dry matter into the grain. So, if we have more heat, plants are more efficient and the plants tend to yield more. What happens if we are going to low temperatures? We have another potential threat there. What happens if you have temperatures that are below 40? So in those situations we are getting to the point that we may have an early freeze. Any early freeze event at this point in the season, if it’s below 36 degrees or if it’s very intense for a couple of hours, we will be impacting filling. We also see another challenge presented by summer stalk growth. We are seeing situations sorghum that is being lodged. Some people are connecting this to high winds. Most of the time it’s very clear the situation. You go out to the fields, you take a look to the stems, you split the stems in half and you start to find what is the main cause of that lodging. And most of the situations it can be related to fusarium. Fusarium in stalk growth rot, is presenting some pink/purple colorations that are inside of the stem. So any time that the stems are not looking white, creamy and healthy, anytime that we are seeing some brownish or pink and purple, we know that they might be presenting some fusarium or stalk rot disease. The stalk rot disease are affecting the crop if the circulation is being impacted that crop will reach maturity faster. From this point until the end of the season, farmers need to make sure that you put a priority on how you are planning to harvest your crops. The crops that are being large, those are the main ones that we need to take care of. We need to make sure those heads are not really coming in contact with the ground because that’s the moment we start to get more mold and we start to get all of the diseases on the heads and then we are losing grain quality and the grain quantity. So make sure to go out, scout your fields, and let’s try to get them in the best sorghum yields possible for this growing season.

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