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Friday, April 20, 2018

Wind Damage


  We have experienced entirely too much wind lately, and I've seen varied degrees of stressed cotton in all three of my counties. The wind damage along with the cooler temperatures have been rough on a lot of seedling cotton. If your plants have a live green growth point and the stem isn't crispy, it's likely the plant will recover. Research shows that fields can still be considered viable with stand counts as low as 13,000 to 26,000 plants per acre, as long as they are evenly spaced.

Wind Damaged Cotton
Photo: Kate Harrell

Wind Damaged Cotton
Photo: Kate Harrell

Wind Damaged Cotton Seedling with New Growth
Photo: Kate Harrell

Wind Killed Cotton Seedling
Photo: Kate Harrell

Wind Damaged Cotton Seedling
Photo: Kate Harrell

Wind Damaged Cotton Seedling with Viable Growth Point
Photo: Kate Harrell

Wind Damaged Cotton, Dead Seedling on Left, Two Viable Seedlings on Right
Photo: Kate Harrell

  Thrips are also a concern currently. Seed treatments have worn off after 3 weeks, even if the plants have been in the ground but haven't been up for that long. Thrips can add stress to our already stressed cotton. Our economic threshold for thrips is an average of at least one per true leaf, until the 5th true leaf stage.

  I have been picking up sugarcane aphids on Johnson grass on the edges of fields. A&M is participating in a nation wide mapping project for the sugarcane aphid movement, and I check very few sorghum locations. If you see sugarcane aphids moving into sorghum, I would greatly appreciate it if you would contact me. Your input will help a great deal with this mapping project.

  Feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns. I hope everyone has a great weekend and our weather gets a little more cooperative.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Ag Symposium

  A web-based producer training, or webinar, is scheduled for April 17, 2018. It will be taking place at the Wharton, Jackson, and the Matagorda county office. The addresses and a phone number for each location are:

Wharton County Extension Office- (979)532-3310
315 East Milam Street, Suite 112
Wharton, TX 77488

Jackson County Services Building, Kitchen- (361)782-3312
411 North Wells Street
Edna, TX 77957

Matagorda County Extension Office- (979)245-4100
2200 7th Street
Bay City, TX 77414

1 CEU in the IPM category and 1 CEU in the general category will be offered to Texas Department of Agriculture Pesticide License Holders. There will also be an EPA Auxin Specific Training at the end of the program for those that still need to attend one. There is no fee to attend this program. Please check out the program schedule below:

2018 Corpus Christi Agriculture Symposium: Putting $ Back in Your Pocket
April 17, 2018
7:30 am-12:15 pm

7:30-8:00 am REGISTRATION
8:00: Baitfish as a Secondary Crop for Aquaculture Producers – Dr. Andrew Ropicki, Marine Economics Specialist
Live marine baitfish represents a potentially profitable new market for current Texas marine aquaculture (red drum and shrimp) producers. This presentation examines the economic feasibility of Texas red drum farms adding pigfish production to their operations. 
Range and Livestock

8:30: The Forgotten Goat – Dr. Joe Paschal, Extension Livestock Specialist
Since cattle are the main livestock enterprise in Texas, they are the typical focus for most educational programs.  Learn about the goat, another excellent meat animal, and considerations for managing a herd!

9:00: Alternative Ranching Operations – Dr. Megan Clayton, Extension Range Specialist
Review some options for adding to an existing conventional ranch or develop value-added programs to increase profitability.

9:30: Tips for Stretching your Dollar in Forage Production – Dr. Josh McGinty, Extension Agronomist (0.5 General CEU)
Highlighting ways to increase the efficiency of inputs in improved pasture and hay production, including species/variety selection, fertility management, and weed control.

10:00: Internal and External Parasites in Livestock – Dr. Joe Paschal, Extension Livestock Specialist (0.5 General CEU)
Review parasites that could decrease cattle productivity, how and when to treat them, and preventative measure to take.

10:30: Cost Saving Tips for Brush Control – Dr. Megan Clayton, Extension Range Specialist (0.5 IPM CEU)
Management of brush can be an expensive endeavor. This session will review a few ways you can reduce your cost through thoughtful follow-up treatments, equipment ideas, and chemical selection.

Cropping Systems

11:15: Protecting your Investment in Cotton and Grain Production – Dr. Josh McGinty, Extension Agronomist (0.5 IPM CEU)
In light of the development and spread of herbicide-resistant weeds, economical weed management is becoming an increasingly complicated prospect.  This will be a discussion of the options for managing the most problematic weeds in cotton and grain with a combination of both older and new weed management technologies.
11:45: Potential Profitability of No-till vs. Conventional Cotton & Grain Sorghum – Mac Young, Risk Management Specialist
An evaluation of potential yields and profitability of conventional vs. no-till cultivation practices in dryland cotton and grain sorghum in South Texas.

12:15: ADJOURN (for those who do not need the auxin training)

12:30-1:15 pm: Optional Auxin Applicator Training – Dr. Josh McGinty, Extension Agronomist (1 additional CEU)
This training is now required for anyone (pesticide license holders and workers making applications under the supervision of a licensed applicator) who will be applying the dicamba-containing products XtendiMax, Engenia, or FeXapan in 2018.  This training will cover the updated label requirements and best management practices for reducing the risk of off-target movement of these herbicides.  

Friday, April 6, 2018

Cotton Emergence, Heat Units, and an Ag Symposium


  This season has been off to a good start, I've been in the field planting a few variety trials and gearing up for this year. I know some folks were planting as early as the first week of March, and others are still planting now. The rain over the weekend was good for a lot of folks, and I hope the weather cooperates with us this season.

  Cotton growth is strongly influenced by temperature, and germination occurs quickest in warm (above 64 degrees Fahrenheit), moist soils with a high oxygen content. Seeds are in a state of suspended animation due to a lack of water and oxygen. Germination begins when the seed tissue absorbs water, activates metabolism and initiates growth. Inside the seed, the cotton embryo has a radicle at one end and a plumule at the other. The plumule will form the stem and leaves, while the radicle will form the roots. Temperatures below 50°F can kill the radical in the soil once the seed has begun to germinate. Cotton plants require more than 100 hours above 64°F to emerge. Germination can begin when the daily temperature is 60°F at the seedling's depth, but growth will be slow. Cotton needs about 50 heat units to reach emergence.

  Heat units (DD60s)are an estimation of the accumulated temperature effect during a day based on the average of the maximum and minimum daily temperatures in degrees Fahrenheit.

             (°Fmax + °Fmin)
DD60=                 2              - 60

  I calculated the heat units for this past week (Sunday to Friday) using online recorded high and low temperature information:

Wharton: 8.5; 15.5; 15; 4; 4; 8.5
Total for the last 6 days= 55.5

Bay City: 10.5; 16; 16.5; 5.5; 6.5; 14.5
Total for the last 6 days= 69.5

Edna: 12.5; 17.5; 14.5; 6; 5.5; 12.5
Total for the last 6 days= 68.5

  Emergence has been a little spotty in places with the cooler nighttime temperatures we've had. If you are worried about stand in a field, plant populations from 13,000 to 26,000 plants per acre with some spacing uniformity are considered viable stands.

  Below I have included a flyer for our upcoming Ag Symposium. This will be taking place in Wharton, Jackson, and Matagorda counties. Contact your local extension office to find out more for each location and to RSVP.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments, and have a great weekend!







Weather information from Weather Underground's Calendar

For more information check out:

Cotton Growth and Development overview

Cotton Growth and Development

Replant Decision Making

Soil Temperatures for Cotton Planting

Friday, February 16, 2018

National Cotton Council Webinar- Seed Cotton Program and Disaster Program

Howdy Everyone!

  This next week there are a couple of things that I would like you to have on your radar, a webinar on the 2018 seed cotton program, and a series of auxin herbicide trainings. Next Monday, Corrie and I will both be hosting the National Cotton Council Webinar on the 2018 seed cotton program. Corrie will be at the Northside Education Center at 707 Farenthold, El Campo TX, and I will be at the Matagorda County Extension office at 2200 7th Street in Bay City. Both of these webinars will be taking place from 3:00- 4:30pm. Please check out the news releases and the flyers below for more info.

National Cotton Council to Host Webinar: 2018 Seed Cotton Program

 By Corrie Bowen
County Extension Agent
Wharton County

 As you have probably seen in the recent news, the budget agreement passed last week by the U.S. Congress and signed by President Donald Trump included the Hurricane Disaster Supplemental.  Included in the Disaster Supplemental is the language that establishes a Seed Cotton program for 2018.  The effort to get cotton back in Title 1 of the farm bill is an issue that the cotton industry, led by the National Cotton Council with support from South Texas Cotton & Grain Association, has worked on for the past three years.  
 To share information of the Seed Cotton Program, the National Cotton Council will be hosting a webinar on Monday - February 19, 2018 from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. at the Northside Education Center located at 707 Fahrenthold, El Campo, TX  77437.   Information will be provided on provisions of the Seed Cotton program including examples of support levels under various price scenarios and examples of generic base conversion options.  In addition, updates on the new farm bill will be discussed.  Participants will have an opportunity to ask questions at the end of each session. The Northside Education Center is just one site where the Webinar can be viewed.  For a complete list of webinar locations, contact Jeff Nunley with the South Texas Cotton and Grain Association at jnunley@stcga.org    If you have any questions about the webinar, please contact Corrie Bowen at the Wharton County Extension Office at 979-532-3310. 

Series of auxin herbicide trainings for area producers in February

By Corrie Bowen
County Extension Agent
Wharton County

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will conduct a series of auxin trainings for producers in the Wharton County area in February.  The Texas Department of Agriculture has required a special auxin-specific training in 2018 for those applying the new auxin formulations of dicamba.  The auxin training is required for all applicators including licensed applicators and unlicensed applicators who spray Engenia, Fexapan, or Extendimax under a licensed applicator. 

Why is this training important?  In response to an elevated number of off-target movement claims in many states in 2017, this training has been mandated by the EPA for application of newly formulated dicamba products.  XtendFlex® cotton acreage in 2017 accounted for 65% of all cotton planted in Texas, and that number is expected to increase for 2018.  It is important to understand the potential impacts these products can have on sensitive and susceptible plants.  It is extremely important to understand the factors that can cause off-target movement and how to effectively manage it. EPA has set an expiration date for these labels of December 2018.  Renewal of these labels will depend on the success demonstrated in 2018.  As a weed management tool, the loss of this technology would be detrimental to cotton growers in Texas.

The training is not required for those using range and pasture dicamba products.  The Auxin Specific Herbicide training is an annual training, so licensed applicators and unlicensed operators will need to complete the training again next year, in 2019.  Auxin training is not required to purchase seed or chemistry, it is only required prior to
applying Engenia, Xtendimax or Fexapan herbicides.   

Dates, times and locations for the trainings, which all share the same curriculum are:

– Thursday - February 15, 2018  9 a.m. – 10 a.m. , Wharton County Extension Office
– Thursday - February 22, 2018  9 a.m. – 10 a.m. , Wharton County Extension Office
– Thursday - March 1, 2018  9 a.m. – 10 a.m. , Wharton County Extension Office

Each program will be one hour and will provide one Texas Department of Agriculture laws and regulations continuing education unit (CEU) and will meet the annual Auxin training requirement for 2018.  An applicator or operator must attend only one of the three available trainings.  The Wharton County Extension Office reached 220 pesticide applicators in the past month with the required Auxin training, however, there will be more cotton and soybean producers who will need to complete this annual training.  Therefore, I’m providing these three trainings on Thursday mornings through March 1st.  The Wharton County Extension Office will continue to provide these trainings through the growing season as needed.  The Wharton County Extension Office is located at 315 E. Milam, Suite 112, Wharton, Texas 77488.  For any questions regarding the Auxin trainings, contact Corrie Bowen at 979-532-3310.

Have a good weekend, everyone!


Kate Harrell

Monday, January 29, 2018

CEU Events and Auxin Specific Training


  This week we have three events going on, one in Wharton, one in Jackson, and one in Matagorda county. Check out the information on each below.

February 1st 5-CEU Pesticide Recertification Program offered in Wharton County
Auxin Specific Herbicide Applicator Training Included

By Corrie Bowen
County Extension Agent
Wharton County

The Wharton County office of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension is proud to announce an opportunity for pesticide license holders to earn five continued education credits (CEUs) toward their TDA pesticide applicators license.   The Wharton County Office of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension will hold their annual 5-CEU program on Thursday, February 1, 2018 at the Wharton County Fairgrounds – Crescent Hall in Crescent, TX.  Registration begins at 8:00 a.m.  Program begins at 9:00 a.m.   2-IPM, 2-Laws and Regulations, and 1-Drift Minimization CEUs will be offered.  Guest speakers at this year’s pesticide recertification conference include:  Corrie Bowen with a presentation on the Auxin Specific Herbicide Applicator Training, which is a new EPA and TDA required training for applicators applying Xtendimax, Engenia, or FeXapan formulations of dicamba on dicamba-tolerant technology cotton and soybeans in 2018; Dr. Joe Paschal will educate the audience on Ticks and the Texas Fever Tick; Melissa Barton, TDA Pesticide Inspector will address updates to TDA Pesticide Laws and Regulations;  Mr. Stephen Janak, Invasive Species of the Upper Gulf Coast; and Dr. Mark Matocha will speak on Drift Minimization.  Cost is $35.00 payable to the Wharton County Row Crops Committee.  A lunch is included.  Please register by January 30, 2018 through the AgriLife Extension Wharton County Office at 979-532-3310, or download a flyer and registration form online at http://wharton.agrilife.org

  On Wednesday the 31st, there will be an Auxin Specific training at the Jackson County Services Building Auditorium at 9:00am. Please RSVP with the Jackson county Agrilife Extension Office at (361)782-3312.

  Wednesday January 31st there will also be an Auxin Specific training and 3 CEU event at the fairgrounds in Bay City. The event will start at 8:30am, contact the Matagorda County Agrilife Extension office at (979)245-4100 for more information.

  Have a great week, everyone.


Kate Harrell

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

RESCHEDULED - Grain Handlers Conference and Western Rice Belt Conference

Howdy everyone,

The Grain Handlers Conference and Western Rice Belt Conference were cancelled this week, and have been rescheduled for next week. The Western Rice Belt Conference will on Wednesday the 24th, and the Grain Handlers Conference will be on Thursday the 25th. Please see the updated fliers below.

Stay warm, everyone!


Friday, January 12, 2018

Grain Handlers Conference and Western Rice Belt Conference

Howdy everyone,

  Dr. Bowling recently posted another addition to his Rolling with Bowling covering some good information on entomopathogenic fungi, specifically fungi that kill sugarcane aphids. His article and a some great video footage of the fungus can be found here.
  We have two conferences coming up next week, The Grain Handler's Conference (5 CEUs) and the Western Rice Belt Conference (2 CEUs). Please check out Corrie's news releases on these events and the flyers below. Stay warm this weekend!



25th Annual Upper Gulf Coast Grain Handlers Conference - January 16, 2018
By Corrie Bowen
County Extension Agent
Wharton County

The 25th annual Upper Gulf Coast Grain Handlers Conference will be held on Tuesday, January 16, 2018 at the El Campo Civic Center.  Kicking off with registration at 8:00am,  the program will begin at 8:25 am and should conclude around 3:30 pm.  A catered lunch will be provided.  Five CEUs (2 IPM; 1 L&R; 2 General)  will be offered to all TDA pesticide applicators that sign in at the beginning of the meeting and remain through the closing of the program.  No structural credits offered.
The cost of the program is $20.00 per person preregistered by January 12th or $25.00 per person at the door.  To preregister, please contact the Colorado County Extension Office and we will send a form to you.   Program Topics and Speakers Include: TDA Pesticide Laws & Regulations Update, Live Insect ID for Stored Grain, Importance of Bin Sanitation & Cleaning Techniques, Safety & Handling of Pesticides, an OSHA Update. For more information or to pre-register, call 979-732-2082.  Texas A&M AgriLife Extension provides equal opportunities in its programs and employment to all persons, regardless of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, sexual orientation, or gender identity.  The Texas A&M University System, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the County Commissioners Courts of Texas Cooperating.  Individuals with disabilities who require an auxiliary aid, service or accommodation in order to participate in this meeting are encouraged to contact the County Extension Office at (979) 732-2082 prior to the meeting to determine how reasonable accommodations can be made.

Western Rice Belt Conference and Texas Rice Council Annual Meeting - January 17, 2018

The annual Western Rice Belt Production Conference will be held on Wednesday, January 17, 2018 at the El Campo Civic Center.  Registration for the conference will begin at 7:45 a.m., with the main program to begin at 8:10 a.m.  After a catered lunch, provided by area agribusiness sponsors, the program will conclude at 2:15 p.m. 

This joint effort of our Western Rice Belt planning committee, The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, U.S. Rice Producers Association, and Texas A&M AgriLife Research will offer growers and others the opportunity to hear presentations from the top Extension and Research scientists from Texas as well as respected individuals from the rice industry.  Topics and speakers will include:  Association updates from U.S. Rice Producers and USA Rice; Rice Boards in Texas; The Outlook for Rice in 2018”, Dennis Delaughter; Rice Disease Management Update, Dr. Shane Zhou; Weed Management Update, Dr. Muthu Bagavathiannan; Insect Management in Rice, Dr. Mo Way; Pesticide Laws and Regs Update, Greg Baker; and a 2018 Farm Bill Update from Dr. Joe Outlaw.  The Texas Rice Council will also conduct their Annual Meeting in conjunction with the 2018 Western Rice Belt Conference.  The Texas Rice Council will conduct their producer elections during the lunch hour, following the announcement of the Rice Poster Contest results.

For more information, contact the Texas AgriLife Extension office in Colorado County at 979-732-2082; or Wharton County at 979-532-3310; or go to http://wharton.agrilife.org and click on Events to view a flyer for the Rice Conference. 2  CEU’s (1 L&R and 1  IPM) for TDA Pesticide Applicators will be awarded at this event.  CCA hours have been applied for and will be offered pending approval.  Pesticide Applicators are reminded to provide their Pesticide Applicator License number at registration.