Josh Lofton, David Kerns, Trey Price, and Sebe Brown- Macon Ridge Research Station, LSU AgCenter
The 2014 season has been a challenging one for grain sorghum producers around the state. These challenges began with planting. The cooler spring temperatures and high soil moisture delayed early season planting in many areas around the state. Many growers were able to get grain sorghum in the ground and emerged in a timely manner. However, those that were not able to plant early planted on the latter side of the optimum time frame, planted later than recommended, or did not plant. Overall, once emerged, environmental conditions were generally favorable and little drought stress was noted. However, with the heavy rainfalls experienced throughout the season, higher rates of diseases were evident during the season, including anthracnose, corn leaf blight, and head rots/grain molds. While there were other issues within the grain sorghum crop, insect pressure was of highest concern for the 2014 season. In 2013, the sugarcane aphid affected numerous fields across the state; however, it appears that a greater number of total acreage was identified this year as being influenced by the sugarcane aphid. While this pest seemed unbearable during curtain times of the year, current recommendations appear to be the best course of action against this pest. However, research from Dr. David Kerns and other LSU AgCenter entomologists as well as others throughout the grain sorghum growing regions will be critical in the coming years. Furthermore, while many have begun to focus on the sugarcane aphid, it must be noted that damage from other pests (i.e. sorghum midge and head worms) can be just as detrimental to sorghum production in the state. A conscious effort should be made to use sound IPM principles and practices to manage, not just a dominant pest but all of these pests.
As we begin to wrap-up the current growing season, it is never too early to begin looking forward to next season. In coordination with producers and LSU AgCenter extension agents across the state, on-farm hybrid demonstrations were carried out at two Louisiana locations in 2014. While these trials provide valuable information for growers and crop managers on hybrid selection, it is critical to understand that these are only tools that should be used in conjunction with LSU AgCenter official variety trials to aid in hybrid selection.
For further questions or comments feel free to contact:
Josh Lofton, Agronomist and State Grain Sorghum Specialist, jlofton@AgCenter.lsu.edu
David Kerns, Entomologist, DKerns@AgCenter.lsu.edu
Trey Price, Pathologist, PPrice@AgCenter.lsu.edu
Sebe Brown, Northeast Region IPM Specialist, SBrown@AgCenter.lsu.edu