By Kay Ledbetter

The multi-county Northwest Panhandle Ag Conference, hosted by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, will be Jan. 20 and Jan. 27 for producers in Moore, Sherman, Dallam and Hartley counties.

The programs are free, with sponsorship by Ag Texas and Western Equipment. The Jan. 20 event will be held at the Moore County Community Building, E. 16th St. and S. Maddox Ave., Dumas. The Jan. 27 event will be at the Rita Blanca Coliseum, 2222 Farm-to-Market Road 281, Dalhart.

Registration will be at the door for each event. Both programs will begin at 8:30 a.m., include lunch and conclude by 4:30 p.m. Two Texas Department of Agriculture continuing education units – one general, one integrated pest management – will be provided at each meeting.

Coordinating the events are Dennis Coker, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension agronomy agent for Dallam, Sherman, Moore and Hartley counties; Marcel Fischbacher, AgriLife Extension agriculture and natural resources agent, Moore County; and Mike Bragg, AgriLife Extension agriculture and natural resources agent for Dallam and Hartley counties.

Topics and speakers:

— Dumas only: Selecting cotton varieties based on water availability; planting for maturity crop water needs for cotton; irrigation timing for greater water-use efficiency; and strategies for determining effective irrigation in support of high yield and fiber quality. Craig Bednarz, Ph.D., crop physiologist with Texas A&M AgriLife Research and West Texas A&M University, Canyon.

— IPM highlights for cotton: Early season investments and pest control, including spray nozzle type efficacy on thrips; control and efficacy of seed treatments for early season pests; Bt efficacy on bollworm and other Lep species; scouting methods, control options; and management decisions for dealing with plant bugs. Dumas speaker – Blayne Reed, AgriLife Extension integrated pest management agent, Hale, Swisher and Floyd counties; Dalhart speaker – Kerry Siders, AgriLife Extension integrated pest management agent, Hockley, Cochran and Lamb counties.

— Dumas only: Overview of irrigated and dryland cotton and wheat cropping systems, conservation tillage and crop rotation in the semi-arid Rolling Plains. Value of cover crops in terms of soil moisture available to spring planted warm season cash crops, seedling protection from wind events, soil carbon addition, soil fertility status and key soil properties in the short and long term. Paul DeLaune, Ph.D., AgriLife Research soil scientist, Vernon.

— Both locations: Soybean production opportunities in the northwest Panhandle, including marketing and harvesting aspects. Sheila Quirk, Northern Ag Service Inc.

— Emerging economic and market outlooks for cotton cropping systems and how to cope with increasing fertilizer, fuel, pest control, and other input costs. Short- to long-term value of maintaining higher residue from rotational grain crops, and implications for carbon crediting markets. Dumas speaker – Justin Benavidez, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension economist, Amarillo; Dalhart speaker – DeDe Jones, AgriLife Extension risk management program specialist, Amarillo.

— Both meetings: Minimizing evaporative water loss and improving water-use efficiency in irrigated corn production. Comparisons of conventional, conservation, and no-till systems in terms of maintaining residue cover, corn yield and profitability. Practical use of soil moisture sensors and web-based irrigation schedulers. David Parker, Ph.D., environmental engineer with AgriLife Extension and West Texas A&M University, Canyon.

— Both meetings: Strategies for herbicide selection, application and avoidance of weed resistance issues in cotton and corn production. Outlook for new, over-the-top herbicide technology available for grain sorghum production. Kevin Heflin, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension program specialist-agronomy, Amarillo.

— Dalhart only: Overview of organic crop production in the Northwest Panhandle. Challenges and opportunities related to management of agronomic inputs, soil moisture availability and marketing of organic production throughout the region. Bob Whitney, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension organic crop specialist, Stephenville.

— Dalhart only: Concerns with effects and spread of late-season disease in corn and the need to monitor the status of these diseases in the Panhandle. Overview of 2021 demonstration on efficacy of fungicide treatments to manage the effects of these diseases. Identification, spread mechanisms and management of wheat streak mosaic virus. Ken Obasa, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension plant pathologist, Amarillo.

— Dalhart only: Alternative crop options – sunflower, soybean, hemp – for the Northwest Panhandle that are fairly-well adapted, water efficient, and generally profitable under good management. Agronomic considerations for managing soybeans in a possible rotation with cotton, corn, grain sorghum and wheat. Calvin Trostle, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension agronomist, Lubbock.

— Dalhart only: Contribution of improved residue management in cotton cropping systems to soil health, establishment of plant stand, soil water reserve, nutrient availability and cotton cropping’s relationship to an emerging market for carbon credits. Updates on the viability of planting fall cover crops for cotton cropping systems in the northwest Panhandle. Katie Lewis, Ph.D., AgriLife Research soil chemistry and fertility specialist, Lubbock.

More information is available by calling the AgriLife Extension office in Sherman County, 806-366-2081; Moore County at 806-935-2594; or Dallam County at 806-244-4434.