Taking an environmentally sensitive approach to pest management


Integrated Pest & Crop Management



AUTHOR

Allen Wrather
University of Missouri
Division of Plant Sciences
(573) 379-5431
wratherj@missouri.edu

The First 40 Days Are Critical For Grain Sorghum Health and Yield

Allen Wrather
University of Missouri
(573) 379-5431
wratherj@missouri.edu

Published: April 15, 2012

Grain sorghum is the sixth most valuable field crop grown in Missouri most years preceded only by soybeans, corn, wheat, rice, and cotton. The value of Missouri grown grain sorghum would be greater if not for reduced yields caused by seedling diseases. Grain sorghum seedling diseases are caused by several microorganisms that normally live in the soil on organic matter but can attack grain sorghum seedling roots especially when the soil is cold and wet and the soil pH is low. Seedling diseases cause dark-red to black rotten areas to develop on grain sorghum roots. The leaves of diseased seedlings may wither or appear pale-green, and diseased plants will be smaller than healthy plants. Most diseased plants die, and this causes thin stands, skips in rows, and occasionally entire fields or parts of fields must be replanted. Some diseased plants may survive, and these are often weak and yield less than healthy plants. Farmers can help protect grain sorghum seedlings from seedling diseases by following a few simple guidelines.

  1. Plant only when the soil temperature 4 inches deep has warmed up to about 65°F by 8:00 a.m. and plant only when at least 7 days of warm and dry weather are predicted immediately after planting.
  2. Plant only high-quality seed that has a high germination rate.
  3. Plant in fertile soils that have a pH of 6.0 to 6.5. Grain sorghum seedlings growing in soil with a pH less than 5.5 are more likely to be diseased.
  4. Plant in well drained fields. Make sure field surface drainage is adequate to quickly eliminate excess water and enhance internal soil drainage by breaking hardpans with a ripper.
  5. Have the seed treated with extra fungicides when grain sorghum is planted early in the season, in poorly drained fields, in clay soils, and certainly when planting in fields where seedling diseases have been a problem in previous years.
  6. Equip planters with devices to move trash away from the row when planting no-till so the sun can warm the soil around the seed faster.

Following these suggested procedures will give Missouri grain sorghum farmers a better chance of producing high yield and profit during 2012. More information is available at your University of Missouri Extension county office and is posted on the University of Missouri Delta Center web page (www.aes.missouri.edu/delta).

   About IPM     Contact Us    Subscribe     Unsubcribe

Copyright © 2018 — Curators of the University of Missouri. All rights reserved. DMCA and other copyright information. An equal opportunity/access/affirmative action/pro-disabled and veteran employer.

Printed from: https://ipm.missouri.edu
E-mail: IPM@missouri.edu

REVISED: April 10, 2012