PRESS RELEASE Texas Cooperative Extension - Denton County 306 N. Loop 288, Suite 222 Denton , Texas 76209-4887 September 11, 2002 Rebecca H. Parker, County Extension Agent - Agriculture Texas Cooperative Extension - Denton County (940)349-2880 or METRO (972)434-8812 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE SMALL GRAIN ESTABLISHMENT Denton County producers normally are thinking wheat (or oats, or rye) establishment at this time of year. Moisture has been plentiful, especially when you consider the conditions of the past few years. This will make ground preparation and planting much easier this year. Small grain establishment is considered a staple for many producers whether it is used for pasture or grain production in Denton County. Tillage practices may be used to enhance water storage in the event that the water runs out and we have dry conditions this winter or in the following spring. No-till or low till systems leave large amounts of residue on the surface and will reduce evaporative losses. Keep in mind that some tillage may be necessary to allow moisture penetration but deep tillage may release deeply stored soil moisture. Shallow sweep tillage that leaves a dust mulch and crop residue on the surface is an option. Use chisel plows only in fields that have a hard pan. Wheat should be planted on a normal schedule this year. Careful consideration must be made regarding pasture versus grain systems. The earlier the wheat is planted, the greater the need for water and the greater the possibility that insect problems may have a true impact. However, if planted too late, it will not be able to establish a deep enough root system before dormancy. I have heard several forecasts that we may be in for a hard winter this year. A decrease in rainfall in October (which historically may happen) may inhibit a stand that is planted later in September. The use of adequate fertility will improve water efficiency and yield potential. The use of Phosphorus at a 6 - 8 inch level will greatly improve yields. Consider using a low rate of nitrogen in the fall and follow it with a topdress application in the spring. Weed control can also be very important. Weeds compete for available moisture and fertility. Make herbicide decisions early when low rates will be effective. The use of low rates of sulfonyurea herbicides used as pre- emergence for large populations of broadleaves is commonly used weighed against profit potential for the crop. A seed treatment insecticide such as Gaucho may be warranted to control greenbugs, aphids or mites. Keep in mind that decisions on these treatments and applications should be made in view of the history of a small grain crop in the field, current prices and forecasts, as use for the crop. Educational programs conducted by the Texas Cooperative Extension serve people of all ages regardless of socioeconomic level, race, color, sex, religion or national origin.
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