Story and photos by: Blair Fannin
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The impacts of potential trade tariffs on crops such crops would send ripple effects through other agricultural commodities, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service economist.

Dr. Mark Welch, grains marketing economist in College Station, told farmers at the Central Texas Small Grain Field Day at the McGregor Research Center that a Purdue University recently projected a 25 percent import tariff by China soybeans would result in a 37 percent decline in U.S. exports.

Consequently, a decline in U.S. soybean exports would lead to fewer soybean acres.

“Where are those acres going to go? They will go to corn,” Welch said. “Given where our corn prices are, we don’t really want any more corn acres.”

From decreased land values to lessening farm net worth, the potential repercussions of tariffs on exports to China could have big impacts, Welch said.

three men talking in field
Soil and Crop Sciences professors Dr. Scott Nolte, center, and Dr. Clark Neely, right, visit with Dow/DuPont representative Dillon DeMuth during the recent small grain field day in McGregor, TX.

He said to mitigate potential price risks, producers can integrate cash marketing with other marketing tools and crop insurance.

Soil and crop sciences professor Dr. Scott Nolte, AgriLife Extension state weed specialist in College Station, advised farmers on using Dicamba and proper spray tank sanitation.
Nolte said farmers pay a considerable amount for herbicides and its important they hit their targets and are used efficiently.

“Staying on target with herbicide applications is important for several reasons. First, it is good product stewardship and an EPA and label requirement,” Nolte said. “It also provides more consistent weed control and reduces risk for injury to neighboring crops.”

Off target movement most commonly comes from physical drift, but may also occur due to volatility or sprayer contamination. Nolte stressed that understanding each of these sources and how they cause off-target movement can help the applicator know which methods and practices will help keep them on target.

Common practices such as using correct nozzles, spraying during appropriate weather conditions and thorough spray system cleanout are just some of the methods described on nearly all herbicide lables.

Dr. Scott Nolte giving presentation
Dr. Scott Nolte discussed the Flag the Technology app which is available from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension during the small grains field day in McGregor.

“Regardless of what product you are using, most product labels will tell you to triple rinse,” he said. “Use a tank cleaner and remove end caps. Clean the tops and screens to make sure everything has been thoroughly rinsed and removed. Things accumulate over time, so it’s important to thoroughly clean these pieces of equipment.”

Nolte said even the smallest amounts of Dicamba can affect sensitive crops.

“From vineyards to gardens, physical drift can severely harm these crops,” he said. “It’s important that we make sure our sprayers are performing efficiently and we are being good stewards.”

Earlier in the day, Dr. Clark Neely, AgriLife Extension small grains specialist in College Station, discussed a number of wheat varieties under testing. Overall, he said the Central Texas wheat crop yields should be close to average this year.

“We are anticipating 45 bushels to 50 bushels per acre in the Central Texas region,” he said. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see some 60 bushel yields in some areas. I would say 45-50 bushels per acre is fairly typical for this region of the Blacklands.”

The field day also featured a UAV demonstration by John Otwell, UAV product specialist with RDO Equipment in Pflugerville. Experts discussed a range of emerging UAV field uses.

“UAVs are an excellent tool to scout fields and monitor crop conditions,” Neely said. “You can tell when a crop is stressed, but we are not quite there yet in the ability to always determine what the cause actually is.”