More than 40 farmers, experts and seed company representatives took a tour around Nueces County to look at different sorghum and cotton crops planted as part of the AgriLife Extension's annual crop tour. Jason Ott led the tour to three different fields to show side by side comparisons in different sorghum and cotton crops that were planted with the cooperation of the AgriLife Extension office.

Sorghum and cotton are two of the most predominant crops commonly seen on South Texas farms, with several different varieties of each available to farmers. The various strains have different traits and tolerances to different herbicides depending on the needs of the farmer for his crop that year.

State Extension Cotton Specialist Dr. Gaylon Morgan spoke on the importance of farmers adding their information to the online Texas Crop Registry. “The online registry is only as good as the information that is entered. We need farmers to put in the crops and chemicals that they plan on using so that we can work with them to avoid compatibility issues with surrounding crops,” said Morgan. Other points that Morgan made were the adaptation to chemical technologies due to overuse and the problems associated with ground and crop saturation. Morgan stated that if farmers need assistance with these or other issues, they may contact the extension office.

AgriLife Extension Entomologist Dr. Robert Bowling informed farmers of some of the risks to crops posed by pests such as sugarcane aphids. Bowling spoke to the farmers in attendance about continuously monitoring crops for aphids. “The economic threshold is 50 aphids per leaf,” said Bowling who added, “...watch those populations... Colonies collapse but we don't know exactly why.” Bowling stated that there are many factors that can contribute to the collapse of these colonies but could not point to any one factor as the catalyst. However he did state that it is important to watch for aphids so that action can be taken to save crops as quickly as necessary.

Agent Jason Ott spoke to farmers about the a soil probe attached to the back of one of the AgriLife Extension pickups. The purpose of the probe is to take soil samples and check the nutrient levels in the soil. This is helpful to farmers because they can decide if they need to add any fertilizers to their crops and, if so, how much is needed.

These were some of the experts that spoke during the tour. Three fields were visited, after which the tour made it's way back to the extension office for lunch and a few presentations that included having crop insurance and certification for the emerging technology of unmanned aircraft systems.

The information that was given was rather valuable and can give farmers a leg up on making adjustments for next year's growing season. For more information on assistance with farming or ranching issues, feel free to contact the local AgriLife Extension office at (361)767-5223 for Nueces County, (361)668-5705 for Jim Wells County, or (361)256-4591 for the Duval County office.