Preparations for spring planting have been slow going as growers have had to pick and choose what fields they can get into based on soil moisture conditions. This is a problem that is welcome to most growers. After all, it has been several years since a growing season has started with a full moisture profile. At this time corn is being planted and fertilizers and other preparations are being made on fields going to grain sorghum and cotton. As growers make progress towards planting there are a couple of thoughts they might need to keep first of mind.

First, while TopGuard has been extremely useful in the control of cotton root rot, phytotoxicity issues have also occasionally been associated with this product. There are several scenarios in which this has occurred, but a miss application is a sure fire way to create a problem. With that in mind growers need to note that both TopGuard and TopGuard Terra are available for use in cotton root rot control. TopGuard has once again received a Section 18 label, while TopGuard Terra has a full label for cotton root rot control. The difference between the products is that TopGuard has 1.04 pounds of active ingredient per gallon and TopGuard Terra has 4.17 pounds of active ingredient per gallon. Therefore, an applicator could easily apply close to 4 times the desired rate if they are not careful.

Herbicide resistance management should also be considered as we prepare for planting. In recent years, many weed species have become resistant to certain herbicides, further complicating weed control efforts. Many of these resistance issues developed due to over reliance on a single herbicide mode of action. The use of residual herbicides and multiple modes of action are the best way to fight weed resistance. However, it is often hard to determine which products have similar modes of action. To help aid in herbicide mode of action rotation, Dr. Josh McGinty – Extension Agronomist and Bobby McCool – San Patricio Extension Agent have developed a Quick Guide to Herbicide Modes of Action. This new publication was written as a “working tool” to help with planning a rotation of herbicide mode of actions. It can be printed off of the web at: http://bit.ly/1MN6E59

And finally, the Sugarcane Aphid will undoubtedly continue as a major concern to growers. Observable differences in this aphid’s preference for various hybrids have been observed on farms and also in replicated trials. Ratings of aphid populations or amount of honeydew on several hybrids were recorded at replicated trials in Gregory and Hondo and can also be accessed at http://varietytesting.tamu.edu. Currently, there are six hybrids that have been designated by either Sorghum Partners or Dekalb as tolerant sorghum hybrids identified in USDA screening test. However, it has been pointed out that “tolerance” does not mean the plants cannot be affected by the aphid and tolerance certainly does not mean “resistance.” While these varieties might be included in an integrated pest management approach to combat this pest, growers should not discount the need for field scouting. The most recent information on the Sugarcane Aphid can be found at http://ccag.tamu.edu/sugarcane-aphid/.