Cotton and grain sorghum weathered an early October freeze better than many observers feared, but some problems may warrant attention as growers prepare for harvest, say Texas AgriLife Extension specialists.

Kerry Siders, integrated management specialist for Hockley and Cochran Counties, says follow-up observations of crop damage 10 days after the freeze are encouraging.

Dr. Calvin Trostle, Extension agronomist at the Lubbock AgriLife Research and Extension Center, “has done an excellent job of tracking the impact of the freeze on grain sorghum,” Siders said.  

Trostle’s report indicates better than expected conditions.

“On Oct.17, I revisited selected fields that I assessed for freeze damage on Oct. 9-10,” Trostle reported. “What I saw in the field was encouraging. In the Oct. 10 report I noted that outcome of the freeze appeared to depend on whether the portion of the stalk above the canopy up to the head avoided a freeze.”

(To review the earlier report, view online at:  http://lubbock-tamu-edu.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/files/2012/10/Grain-Sorghum-Frost-Freeze-Assess-11Oct2012-TX-S.-Plains.pdf

“I have not found any apparent frozen stalks in the fields I have looked at. The upper portion of the stalks in all revisited fields retains a light, pale green color and is actively functioning.  Further feedback from growers and consultants parallels my conclusions last week that the freeze did not have the damaging impact we feared. 

Trostle says some fields as far south as Dawson County — in low-lying areas appear to have a greater proportion of the leaf canopy — up to half — killed. “More typical fields were about 1/4 to 1/3 frozen.