Don’t Mess with Texas

Good morning.  What a whirlwind week last week traveling through north central Texas looking at every sunflower field we could find.   Kevin Wall and I had the oppurtunity to be involved in two different field days while travelling through Texas, one specific to sunflowers as well as the Hill County plot tour.  The sunflower tour included variety trials by Texas Agrilife, also a very interesting plot featuring Prevathon insecticide.  Sunflower head moth is a very destructive and costly insect for sunflower growers in the south.  The last couple years we have had growers spraying for head moth up to five times, which is very costly and time consuming.  The new mode of action featured in Prevathon may allow growers very good control with only two applications.  In the past our mission was to control the moth itself while Prevathon will actually control the larvae which is the damaging stage of the insect.  We saw very good control within the plots and other fields using only two applications of this product.  If this product works they way it is intended, and from what i saw it does, we may need to change our scouting method for head moth but that may be decided by the universities.  Another benefit of this product is that it is extremely safe, it doesn’t carry a danger, warning, or caution, and has only a 4 hour re-entry period.  One other product to mention that was used on quite a few acres is Besiege which is a combination of a pyrethriod and the active ingrediant in Prevathon.  Fields that were sprayed with this product were also very free of insect damage.

On hybrid performance in north central Texas we looked at fields of Cobalt II, Daytona, and our confection 5009.  Every grower we spoke to was highly impressed with the eveness, and earliness or Cobalt II.  Fields we looked at were about a week away from dessication, and very healthy with heads filled to the very center.  The eveness of this hybrid aids in spraying for head moth by allowing the grower to protect the fields for a shorter period of flowering time which is extremely beneficial when talking about head moth.  Also, stands through the hybrids were very even with populations from 18000 to around 23000 and I’m expecting yields to be off just a little from last years almost record crop.

In our local area we were hit with heavy rains from northern ND to southern SD and throughout Minnesota.  There were also reports of hail scattered throughout the region with one large area around the Grandin, ND area where it was reported that it hailed for almost a half hour straight.  There are areas sitting under water right now, and with our warmer temps will only be about two days before these submerged crops start to die.  Also, for those growers affected by hail it is a really good idea to get out and get a fungicide on those acres as soon as possible.  Hail damage opens the plant up to a variety of different pathogens that can further reduce yield in an already stressed crop.

Finally I would like to thank all the growers, univerisity, and county folks that help guide us through Texas.  Kevin and I throroughly enjoyed our visit and are looking forwad to a continued relationship with all of you.  Next week an update on Bayer Crop Science future pipeline and what it means to farmers around our area.