What is in this article?:
- Oct. 8 freeze damages South Plainsâ€™ grain sorghum crop.
- Maturity is a key factor
- Warmer temperatures may help some recovery.
- If fields were still green and kernels were in the milk stage, there is little expectation of any sufficient grain development.
- Lubbock recorded the second earliest freeze on record.
This Oct. 10 picture shows grain sorghum heads at different stages that have been exposed to modest freeze injury. In this field, significant undamaged leaf area remains in the lower 2/3 of the canopy suggesting the conditions did not represent a hard freeze in spite of the appearance of the top leaves. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agronomist Dr. Calvin Trostle said fields should be observed for the presence of stalks that are frozen above the canopy, which would indicate no further seed maturation.
Grain sorghum producers south of Interstate 40 and around Lubbock might received damaging injury to their crops from the Oct. 8 frost and freeze, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agronomist in Lubbock.
Dr. Calvin Trostle said Lubbock recorded the second earliest freeze on record – the average freeze is Oct. 31. The damaging freeze affected crops in an area from Dimmitt to Silverton in the northern part, to Floydada on the east side, south along the Caprock to the Tahoka-O’Donnell area and west to the state line and back up north, Trostle said.
“The bottom line is, if grain was largely at least in the soft dough stage, I am hopeful it will progress meaningfully toward a marketable test weight,” Trostle said. “But if fields were still green and kernels were in the milk stage, there is little expectation of any sufficient grain development that would achieve a marketable test weight.”
He said fields that were largely in the milk stage should not be considered for grain harvest, but may be assessed for hay or grazing value.
Trostle said the current assessment indicates foliage damage in the South Plains is largely limited to only the top one-third of the plant canopy.
“At this point, I have not seen any fields that I believe received a killing freeze, though reports indicate this might have occurred in a few fields,” he said. “A killing freeze stops all growth immediately, whereas a light freeze mostly affects the leaves.”
Trostle said an indication of moderate freeze damage is the condition of the leaf sheath on the flag leaf. In a light freeze, the leaf sheath will not receive freeze damage like the upper leaves do.