The Annual Nueces County Crop Tour will take place on June 11, with registration at 8:30 a.m. at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center at 10345 State Highway 44, just west of the Corpus Christi International Airport, followed by the tour bus departing promptly at 8:45 a.m.
In addition to touring the traditional cotton and grain sorghum variety tests in the county, this year the tour will also feature a tour of the new Drought Research Laboratory.
Other topics to be addressed during the tour event will include; New Grain Sorghum and Cotton
Technology, Weed Herbicide Resistance Management, Sorghum Harvest Aids, Farm Policy Update, Algae Research in Coastal Bend and Pesticide Laws Update.
The tour will concluded back at the Research and Extension Center with a catered lunch and educational presentations. Pesticide applicators will be able to obtain three continuing education credits for participation in this event.
The event will conclude by 2 p.m. The tour is being sponsored by the Nueces County Extension Crops Committee, Texas AgriLife Extension Service and numerous agribusinesses.
Watch for sorghum midge
One of the most damaging insect pests of grain sorghum continues to be sorghum midge and this year's early wet soil conditions which delayed sorghum planting in some cases, will promote conditions for midge to be a problem this year as grain sorghum will be flowering over several weeks.
In a brief summary here is what the sorghum midge does to sorghum. The adult sorghum midge is a tiny, fragile looking, orange fly. Larvae hatch from eggs deposited by a female midge in spikelets of flowering sorghum heads. Each female deposits about 50 tiny, yellowish white eggs during her short lifetime of less than 24 hours. An orange maggot hatches from the egg and feeds on the newly fertilized ovary, thereby preventing kernel development.
Because midges lay eggs in flowering sorghum heads (yellow anthers exposed on individual spikelets), damage can occur until the entire head or field of sorghum has flowered. The period of midge susceptibility may last from seven to nine days (individual head) to several weeks (individual field) depending on the uniformity of flowering. The good news this year is that most our sorghum fields are uniform in their flowering, due to good soil moisture at planting.
Fields should be inspected mid-morning to shortly after noon when midge is most abundant on flowering heads. The simplest and most efficient technique for detecting and counting sorghum midges is careful, close-range inspection of all sides of a randomly selected flowering head.
Since they are relatively weak fliers and rely on wind currents to aid their dispersal, adult sorghum midges are usually most abundant along field borders.
The need to apply insecticidal control is based on the number of adult midges during the flowering period, and based on today's grain prices and potential yield, an average midge density of one midge per panicle (head) or greater would probably warrant insecticide treatment.
Insecticide residues should suppress sorghum midge egg laying for one to two days after treatment. If adults are still present three to five days later, immediately apply a second treatment. If midges are present the day following treatment, it does not mean you do not have protection for the heads; midges could be re-infesting the field, which is common.
More information about managing sorghum insects can be found at the AgriLife Bookstore found on the Internet Web site at http://agrilifebookstore.org/ by entering publication number B-1220.
Jeffrey Stapper is the Agricultural and Natural Resources Agent for Nueces County. Readers may contact him at (361) 767-5217.