This item was first prepared for Texas Grain Sorghum Association’s “Sorghum Insider”
South & Coastal Texas
With record high prices on grain sorghum in much of Texas, some have wondered if the prices might stir interest in Central & South Texas of planting a mid-and late summer sorghum crop for fall production. Texas A&M AgriLife does not have data on the potential for these crops if planted in Central Texas, the Coastal Bend, and far South Texas. Historically this has never been a practice. AgriLife Extension agents Vidal Saenz, Hidalgo Co., and Jaime Lopez, Nueces Co. contributed to the following comments on possible late grain sorghum for South Texas.
- What is the soil moisture status? The U.S. Drought Monitor, http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu, indicates dry and moderate drought conditions in the Corpus region. Without good soil moisture (and no irrigation) then planting is problematic.
- Though some Lower Rio Grande Valley farmers will plant late corn (mid-July to Aug. 1), this has not been done for grain sorghum. Cooler temperatures in the fall are nice, but if a freeze occurs in November (the case the past two years; January is more normal) then sorghum is hurt. Corn handles cooler temperatures better than grain sorghum.
- Bird damage is expected to be especially harsh (likely closer to town) on late grain sorghum. There are not feasible, cost-effective means to control it.
- A high potential level of sugarcane aphid on late grain sorghum is also a concern.
- Planting a fall crop could sap needed soil moisture and nutrients for the typical spring crop.
- Fall crops of any kind in south and coastal Texas are subject to tropical storm risk.
- There is no crop insurance for a late planting.
- Sorghum prices as of 6/29 were about $12.00/cwt in the LRGV, but ~$10.40 in Nueces Co.
- Farmers in the region have commented that late summer/fall crops usually don’t do as well.
- There is the hope that input costs will be lower next spring compared to now.
20th Annual Hailout/Replant/Late-Plant Guide, Texas High Plains
This annual guide for the High Plains is posted on the main page at http://lubbock.tamu.edu This information is centered on the Lubbock region. But it can be extrapolated in all directions. There is still time in the lower High Plains for grain sorghum plantings to near mid-July if hybrid maturity is shortened. Prices for grain sorghum are strong as in addition to export, ethanol plants in the High Plains are also using grain sorghum.
For the South Plains, last plantings of June 25 in the northwest South Plains to about June 5 in the Lamesa region is good for medium maturity. Shorter maturity hybrids in the Lubbock region are OK to about July 10, the 15th to the south.
AgriLife’s experience is the true early maturity hybrids yield about 15-20% less than medium-early hybrids. Some producers find it an acceptable risk to push the medium earlies a little late for more yield potential.
The above replant guide has many of the “first things” a High Plains farmer (or surrounding region) needs to consider for late grain sorghum.
Sugarcane Aphid in the Texas High Plains—First Report
Lubbock Extension entomologist Dr. Pat Porter reports small sugarcane aphid colonies are present on grain sorghum at our AgriLife Center station. Do not discount the needed scouting, etc. that for any grain sorghum in the region. For AgriLife sorghum insect info., see https://extensionentomology.tamu.edu/resources/management-guides/sorghum/
Dr. Calvin Trostle, Extension Agronomy, TAMU Dept. of Soil & Crop Sciences, Lubbock, (806) 746-6101, firstname.lastname@example.org;