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Journal stock photo by Jennifer M. Latzke.

The Oklahoma Panhandle Research and Extension Center at Goodwell, Oklahoma, showcased the latest research into fall crops and new cotton varieties, as well as displayed irrigation technologies to help farmers get the most out of their applied water, Sept. 11.

Seth Byrd, Oklahoma State University Extension cotton specialist and Jason Warren, OSU soil and water conservation/management Extension specialist, spoke to growers about cotton needs in the Oklahoma Panhandle. With support from seed companies, the researchers are starting to gather data into the agronomic needs of cotton in the Panhandle, under various irrigation systems and more.

Cotton companies are releasing more varieties that should perform adequately in the Panhandle every year and some farmers are starting to consider a cotton rotation with their traditional crops. Byrd went over cotton harvest aids and timing with growers, and said that the crop needed more days with hotter weather in order to fully develop.

For several farmers in the bunch, timing getting cotton harvested and winter wheat planted may be a bit of a stretch. Especially when growers need to use cotton harvest aids to move the crop along. Byrd pointed growers to the “Cotton Harvest Aid Considerations for Small Grains” and “2019 Oklahoma Cotton Harvest Aid Guide” put out by OSU, and available to growers.

One interesting research project on display was quantifying greenhouse gas emissions from dryland sorghum. Sumit Sharma, post doctoral research associate at OSU, explained that if farmers were able to quantify the greenhouse gas capture of dryland sorghum in a lifecycle assessment, they could capture added value from environmental markets.

“The main source of greenhouse gas emissions in the grain we produce is in the fertilizer we apply,” Sharma told growers. “A life cycle assessment looks at the greenhouse gases produced in production of the crop in the field, all the way to the ethanol that is made from it in the plant. The more emissions, the lower the marketability for the ethanol produced. But, data is limited.”

The experiment uses a metal static chamber box that is placed on the ground in the field. The box takes in air throughout the day, measuring the amount of nitrous oxide in the atmosphere at specific points of the field. The experimenters set 2.1% nitrous oxide emissions for dryland sorghum as the default. Sharma explained.

“So far, we show a 1% preliminary result,” he said. And research out of Kansas State University puts a 14-cents-per-bushel premium for this kind of sorghum produced for the ethanol industry.

Jennifer M. Latzke can be reached at 620-227-1807 or jlatzke@hpj.com.

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