Grain sorghum, the most popular crop in the Coastal Bend, is typically planted in mid-to late February.  The ideal temperature for sorghum germination and emergence is 70 degrees F.  Although germination can occur at temperatures below 50 degrees F, emergence is delayed.  For optimum germination and emergence, one should delay planting until the 5-day average daily soil temperature at the two-inch depth reaches 60 degrees F.  If you must plant in a cool wet soil, plant shallow and use fungicide seed treatments.

For sorghum, the time from planting to emergence usually ranges from 5 to 10 days, depending on growing conditions.  Slow emergence can result in uneven, poor plant stands that will result in reduced yields.

 Prior to emergence, the plant is totally dependent on food reserves in the seed from the endosperm for survival, so slow emerging plants risk depleting their food reserves, which are important in early plant growth.

One source of soil temperature information is called the Crop Weather Program (CWP). This on-line decision support system relies on an automated network of weather stations spanning several counties along the Texas Coastal Plains. The weather stations monitor in-field environmental conditions that have a direct impact on crop performance cropping activities.  This tool is maintained by Texas AgriLife Research here in Corpus Christi.