Extension Agent: Victoria County Crops Tour approaches

June 10, 2014 at 1:10 a.m.

By Peter J. McGuill

What a tremendous difference a good rain can make. Although not everyone received ample rainfall during Memorial Day and the day that followed, much of the area was thoroughly soaked.

As a result of this much-needed moisture, the crops and pastures have responded quickly, and the outlook for plenty of grazing and a favorable harvest has improved. Grain crops benefited the most from Mother Nature's irrigation.

Corn and sorghum as tassel and heading are at their peak water needs. Cotton and soybeans benefited as well, but those crops have a long way to go and will need a few well-timed showers to see them through to harvest.

Each year in agriculture provides growers with a new set of challenges that must be faced. Weather, plant diseases, new insect pests, herbicide-resistant weeds and other problems change from year to year.

A new pest that has affected grain sorghum in south Texas and is now present in the Victoria area is the sugarcane aphid. Proper detection and management of this pest is important to ensure that sorghum is protected from economic yield loss.

In an effort to provide education related to this insect and other crop production management topics for farmers and ranchers, the Victoria County Extension Crops Committee and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will conduct the Victoria County Crops Tour on Thursday at the Sons of Hermann Hall in DaCosta. Registration for the pre-tour educational program will be at 1:30 p.m.

Pre-tour educational program topics include soil fertility, integrated pest management, understanding the farm bill, corn board update and variety selection. The bus tour begins at 3:30 p.m. with stops that include applied research projects in corn and grain sorghum as well as instruction on proper identification and management of sugarcane aphid. A meal will be provided at the conclusion of the tour featuring locally grown produce and fried fish.

Three continuing education units for Texas Department of Agriculture pesticide applicators will be awarded at this event. There is no fee to attend this educational event thanks to the many sponsors and donors that have contributed to support agriculture in Victoria County.

For more information, contact the extension office at 979-575-4581 or email pjmcguill@ag.tamu.edu.

Peter J. McGuill is the Victoria County extension agent - ag and natural resources. Contact him at 361-575-4581 or pjmcguill@ag.tamu.edu.



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