www.mozilla.com Weather Central
Voices
Headlines

2014 Farm Bill decision making steps upcoming for consumers -12/21/2014, 4:27 PM

Clubs and meetings -12/21/2014, 4:26 PM

The Brady Bunch: Remembering to stay the course when things are gloomy -12/21/2014, 4:26 PM

FHSU joins other institutions in alternative-credit consortium -12/20/2014, 6:01 PM

Community members encouraged to vote for favorite cause in spirit of giving -12/19/2014, 4:17 PM

God can be our light during bleak times today, tomorrow, future -12/19/2014, 9:38 AM

Sneak exercise into your holiday activities -12/18/2014, 9:13 AM

Natoma Auxiliary spreads cheer -12/18/2014, 9:13 AM

The joys of the holiday season are all around us -12/17/2014, 10:30 AM

First Care Clinic gets grant -12/16/2014, 4:16 PM

Westar Energy expands commitment to Kansas wind energy -12/16/2014, 12:48 PM

Brownback appoints new Cheyenne County commissioner -12/16/2014, 12:48 PM

'The Battle of the Five Armies' lacking -12/16/2014, 8:23 AM

Baby keeps family active -12/16/2014, 8:23 AM

Hays native serves as intern for Moran -12/15/2014, 11:55 AM

Several ways exist to integrate stepfamilies, holidays -12/15/2014, 9:20 AM

Business Briefcase (Dec. 14, 2014) -12/14/2014, 2:59 PM

Soil test information can lead to bountiful financial returns -12/14/2014, 2:59 PM

Clubs and meetings (Dec. 14, 2014) -12/14/2014, 2:59 PM

Community Bulletin Board (Dec. 13, 2014) -12/13/2014, 3:11 PM

The heart of Christmas -12/12/2014, 8:49 AM

DHDC announces new board members -12/11/2014, 4:17 PM

Area student selected to livestock judging team -12/11/2014, 8:50 AM

Bake ahead, freeze for holidays -12/11/2014, 8:50 AM

Extension estate planning workshops announced -12/10/2014, 3:31 PM

Remembering the Japanese invasion, World War II -12/10/2014, 10:12 AM

DHDC kicks off annual partnership program -12/9/2014, 12:05 PM

A few holiday movies to enjoy -- again -12/9/2014, 9:31 AM

New addition to family brings smiles to faces -12/9/2014, 8:18 AM

Steps can be taken to help stepfamilies adjust to holidays -12/8/2014, 9:41 AM

Genetically modified organism fact or fiction -12/7/2014, 4:12 PM

Clubs and meetings (Dec. 7, 2014) -12/7/2014, 4:11 PM

Yes, there is a Santa Claus -12/5/2014, 9:03 AM

Getting out of balance disrupts life satisfaction -12/5/2014, 9:03 AM

A month of busyness at Hays Public Library -12/5/2014, 9:03 AM

Cookie exchange raises money for children -12/4/2014, 3:27 PM

Master honored with inaugural award -12/4/2014, 8:55 AM

DCF unveils new Hays service center -12/3/2014, 3:29 PM

What's in a color -12/3/2014, 8:57 AM

Several honored for milestone celebrations -12/3/2014, 8:57 AM

A chance encounter overseas -12/3/2014, 8:57 AM

FHSU bands to perform Friday -12/2/2014, 10:19 AM

Dealing with stepfamilies during the holidays -12/1/2014, 8:48 AM

Study finds GMO's safe for livestock -11/30/2014, 3:36 PM

Business Briefcase (Nov. 30, 2014) -11/30/2014, 3:36 PM

Clubs and meetings (Nov. 30, 2014) -11/30/2014, 3:35 PM

Real Black Friday began thousands of years ago -11/28/2014, 9:22 AM

A lifetime of achievements in 4-H -11/26/2014, 7:45 AM

Fort Hays honors courses will serve as pilot courses -11/26/2014, 7:35 AM

Yoders welcome a new baby boy recently -11/25/2014, 9:34 AM

Stepfamily dynamics can be tricky to manage -11/24/2014, 9:55 AM

Clubs and meetings (Nov. 23, 2014) -11/23/2014, 3:11 PM

Business Briefcase (Nov. 23, 2014) -11/23/2014, 3:11 PM

Local Knights of Columbus announce essay winners -11/21/2014, 8:57 AM

Grocery collection for ECMA on Saturday -11/21/2014, 8:56 AM

Feast on these holiday savings this season -11/20/2014, 8:13 AM

Birthdays (Nov. 20, 2014) -11/20/2014, 8:13 AM

HPMH partners with counties for outreach -11/19/2014, 3:49 PM

Kansas Next Step announces honors -11/19/2014, 2:09 PM

Senior volunteers honored for years of service to communities -11/19/2014, 9:09 AM

Living life by the five senses -- plus another -11/19/2014, 9:09 AM

'Big Hero 6' is slightly under-inflated -11/18/2014, 9:15 AM

KHP gives tips for safe Thanksgiving travel -11/17/2014, 1:06 PM

Latest donations move FHSU closer to goal -11/17/2014, 1:06 PM

Kansas is reading to preschoolers -11/17/2014, 12:56 PM

Great American Smokeout is Thursday -11/17/2014, 11:35 AM

Keep little helpers safe in kitchen -11/17/2014, 11:35 AM

Moran receives Legislator of Year Award from home care association -11/17/2014, 11:26 AM

Hammond named to fraternity commission -11/17/2014, 9:45 AM

No stepfamily is immune to holiday stress -11/17/2014, 9:26 AM

Community Bulletin Board (Nov. 17, 2014) -11/17/2014, 9:26 AM

Get the most from grazing crop residue -11/16/2014, 5:35 PM

Clubs and meetings (Nov. 16, 2014) -11/16/2014, 12:52 PM

Choice overload -11/14/2014, 9:05 AM

God and Ebola -11/14/2014, 9:05 AM

Birthday -11/13/2014, 8:30 AM

10 tips for stress-free Thanksgiving cooking, planning -11/13/2014, 8:30 AM

Do you need that annual mammogram? -11/12/2014, 11:52 AM

'Warcraft' preview stirs excitement; 'Interstellar' is solid -11/11/2014, 8:40 AM

Favorite coffee cake and being introduced to Sassy Sundae -11/11/2014, 8:40 AM

Many types of stressors can affect holidays -11/10/2014, 9:09 AM

Time for film's encore, German cooking at library -11/10/2014, 9:09 AM

Business Briefcase (Nov. 9, 2014) -11/9/2014, 4:30 PM

Westview hosting youth lock-in -11/7/2014, 8:22 AM

A prayer that stands the test of time still holds true today -11/7/2014, 8:22 AM

Extension program gives tech tips for parents -11/6/2014, 9:24 AM

Birthdays -11/6/2014, 9:24 AM

Foreigners must report land holdings -11/5/2014, 3:39 PM

Jana's Campaign fundraiser nets $33,000 -11/5/2014, 10:29 AM

Getting out and voting, because I can -11/5/2014, 8:40 AM

Waterline works will hamper traffic -11/4/2014, 4:08 PM

Email issues resolved -11/4/2014, 11:43 AM

Gloria's birthday present, followed by barbecue pizza -11/4/2014, 8:41 AM

Many live in stepfamilies in United States today -11/3/2014, 8:58 AM

Taking care in providing proper animal health -11/2/2014, 8:31 AM

Clubs and meetings (Nov. 2, 2014) -11/2/2014, 11:10 AM

After 5 gathering Nov. 10 in Hays -10/31/2014, 7:50 AM

Time for trick or treating -10/31/2014, 7:49 AM

Gella's to show Turning Points film encore -10/30/2014, 1:53 PM

State's Cold Weather Rule takes effect Saturday -10/29/2014, 9:33 AM

myTown Calendar

SPOTLIGHT
[var top_story_head]

Spotting stalk rot in grain sorghum

Published on -9/28/2013, 1:57 PM

Printer-friendly version
E-Mail This Story

Sorghum harvest is getting near. One of the few remaining potential stumbling blocks to a successful crop could be lodging -- often caused by stalk rot. Stalk rot can be an even bigger problem in grain sorghum than in corn due to a generally thinner stalk in sorghum.

Annual losses are difficult to determine, because unless lodging occurs, the disease goes mostly unnoticed. The best estimates are at least 5 percent of the sorghum crop is lost each year to stalk rot -- severe cases could create yield losses of 50 percent. The most obvious losses occur when plants lodge. More important could be the yield losses that go unnoticed.

In sorghum, these losses are caused by reduced head size, poor filling of grain and early head lodging as plants mature early.

In grain sorghum, the two most common types of stalk rot are charcoal rot and Fusarium stalk rot. Although caused by many different organisms, the symptoms of the various stalk rots are somewhat similar. Symptoms generally appear several weeks after pollination, when the plant appears to prematurely ripen. The leaves become dry, taking on a grayish-green appearance similar to frost injury. The stalk usually dies a few weeks later. Diseased stalks can be crushed easily when squeezed between the thumb and finger and are more susceptible to lodging during wind or rainstorms. The most characteristic symptom of stalk rot is the shredding of the internal tissue in the lowest internodes of the stalk, which can be observed when the stalk is split. This shredded tissue might be tan, red or salmon colored (Fusarium stalk rots); or grayish-black (charcoal rot).

Hot, droughty weather with soil temperatures in the range of 90 degrees or more are ideal for the development of charcoal rot. Drought does not cause the problem, but it weakens the plants' defenses to the disease. Charcoal rot is usually less severe if drought stress is reduced. A good rule of thumb to discern charcoal rot from drought stress is plants will die prematurely about two earlier.

Fusarium stalk rot is favored by dry conditions early in the season, which decreases nutrient solubility, making the nutrients unavailable to the plant. Later in the season, following pollination, warm (82 to 86 degrees), wet weather can leach remaining nutrients from the soil resulting in late-season nitrogen stress and an increase in stalk rot.

Stalk rot is a stress-related disease. Any stress on a crop can increase both the incidence and severity of stalk rot. Research has indicated when the carbohydrates used to fill the grain become unavailable due to nutrient shortage, drought stress, leaf loss from insects, hail, disease or reduced sunlight, the plant uses nitrogen and carbohydrate reserves stored in the stalk to complete grain fill. This loss of nitrogen and carbohydrate reserves weakens stalk tissues and results in increased stalk rot susceptibility. Early maturing hybrids are generally more susceptible than full-season hybrids.

Other than irrigation or rain, there is little that can be done to prevent stalk rot by late summer. No hybrid has complete immunity to the stalk rotting pathogens. When choosing a hybrid, a grower should select a hybrid that is not only a high yielder, but one that has good standability and "stay-green" characteristics.

This will help assure that if stalk rot does occur, losses due to lodging will be minimal. A balanced nutrition program based on soil tests should be used.

Overall fertility levels should be adjusted to fit the hybrid, plant population, soil type, environmental conditions and management program. An excess or shortage of nitrogen can lead to increased stalk rot problems.

Producers can check their sorghum for stalk rots by squeezing the lower stem with their thumb and fingers. If the stalks crush easily, they are probably infected with one of the stalk rot organisms and could lodge at any time. Check 100 plants across the field to determine the percent of affected plants. If the percentage of stalk-rot-infected plants is high, sorghum should be harvested as soon as possible, even if it hasn't dried down adequately in the field. If the stalks are firm, the plants probably will be able to stand just fine in the field for several more weeks.

Rotation with non-susceptible crops, such as small grains and alfalfa, will reduce the severity of stalk rot but will not eliminate it. A good insect control program is a must in limiting losses to stalk rot. Pathogens can enter stalks or roots through wounds created by insects. Hail damage generally will increase the amount of stalk rot damage.

For more information, see "Stalk Rots of Corn and Sorghum," K-State publication L-741, at www.ksre.ksu.edu/bookstore/pubs/L741.pdf.

Stacy Campbell is Ellis County agricultural agent with Kansas State Research and Extension.

digg delicious facebook stumbleupon google Newsvine
More News and Photos

Associated Press Videos

AP Breaking News