The window for planting cotton may have been closed by too much rain, but a Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientist said past trials show producers could still benefit from all the moisture with dryland grain sorghum or corn or other alternative crops.
Dr. Qingwu Xue said most sorghum is already being managed on limited irrigation or dryland because it is a more drought-tolerant crop. Even when it stopped raining completely in July in 2017 and 2018, dryland sorghum made 50-90 bushels per acre on average when planted in late June, with the help of rains in August and September.
Dr. Qingwu Xue said in both 2017 and 2018, planting date and hybrid selection had significant effects on sugarcane aphid infestation, grain yield, water use and water-use efficiency. During those years, early May planted sorghum experienced more drought stress and yielded less than late June-planted sorghum.
More mid- to late-season rainfall resulted in higher yields in the later planted sorghum. In 2017, average yield was 25 bushels per acre in early May-planted sorghum and 70 bushels per acre in the late June-planted crop. In 2018, the average yield was 50 bushels per acre in early planted fields and 61 bushels per acre in the late.
Another potential crop is cowpeas or black-eyed peas, he said. They are very drought tolerant, so make a good option if a producer can get a contract.
A major consideration on what crop to replant will be any herbicides already applied to the field. Also, he warned, nitrogen may have been leached out by the heavy rainfall, so more may need to be applied.
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