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Cool Weather Potential Problem for Sorghum

20:42PM Sep 17, 2008
Cool, wet weather worries many farmers with late-planted grain sorghum on the High Plains.
"It's very much a concern. A lot of sorghum in western Kansas didn't head until late August or early September. It's looking iffy on whether it matures. The cooler trend in the weather we've had recently really makes people nervous. Once the nights get cool, sorghum doesn't move fast in terms of maturity,” says Kraig Roozeboom, Kansas Extension cropping systems specialist.
Roozeboom says about 20% of the state's sorghum acres are at risk. A smaller percentage of the state's late-planted corn may also be endangered by the cool weather.
Cool nighttime temperatures also make grain sorghum much more vulnerable to costly infection by ergot, or honeydew, says Doug Jardine, Kansas Extension plant pathologist. Once ergot gets established, he warns, there is no cure.
The weather-related situation is widespread.
"Twenty five percent of the sorghum crop is late. What we need right now is heat. The crop looks good but it's got a ways to go. We need heat,” says Tim Lust, National Sorghum Producers CEO, Lubbock, Texas.

You can e-mail Charles Johnson at