It seems like we are either too wet or too dry, and I know you have heard that old saying "We just can't buy a rain."

Well, that sums up our current situation. Corn could sure use some rain now as our growing degree-day heat units are well above normal for this time of year. Some cornfields are at stages in which rapid growth is occurring and the number of kernel rows and ear size is being determined.

Grain sorghum degree-day growing units are above normal, as well, by about 20 percent for this time of year. But the crop is not yet at a critical growing stage as it is currently in what is known as the GSI period, which is characterized by vegetative growth.

Sorghum at this stage can tolerate stress from drought with little adverse affect on yield. Rain would sure improve the crop outlook, and we are all hoping rain will come soon.

Coastal Bend seminar to review oilseed crop options

Although traditional crops like cotton, grain sorghum, and corn now have excellent prices being offered, it is always good to diversify ones farm operation.

A growing demand for oilseed worldwide has sparked an interest even in South Texas, in various oilseed crops as farmers look to diversify their farm operations. Moreover, the current dry weather pattern we are experiencing is stimulating interest in more drought tolerant crops like sunflower and sesame.

To address the growing interest, an Oilseed Production Seminar will be held at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center, located at 10345 State Highway 44, just west of the Corpus Christi International Airport on April 12.

The seminar will run from 1:30 to 4:15 p.m.

There will be a registration fee of $10 per person to cover expenses related to the educational program delivery.

Topics will include an overview of cool season oilseed crops, including canola, safflower, and flax, along with sunflower production tips by Rob Duncan, Extension small grain specialist. A growing interest in sesame production will be addressed, including planting tips and in-season management by Jerry Riney of SESACO.

Insect management of these oilseed crops will be addressed by Roy Parker, Extension entomologist.

Locally planted canola, safflower, and flax variety tests will be toured, as well.

Two continuing education units will be offered for pesticide applicators and certified crop advisors. This seminar is being sponsored by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service.

New landowner

series begins April 15

So you recently purchased your "Back 40," have your property in the country and are looking for ways to improve your property while at the same time keep it in agriculture production. You just need some help to attain that goal.

An educational program to address your very needs will be launched locally very soon.

The Landowner Series is a unique and innovative series of informational meetings designed by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service to assist new landowners in understanding the concepts of rural living.

Participants in the series will be given exposure to ideas on raising livestock, plant identification and pasture management, and instruction on how to properly apply pesticides, the importance of soil testing to improve your land, water testing to insure water quality, stock pond design, construction, stocking and more.

The series is a great way for new residents in South Texas to network and meet new people, find out what type of agricultural enterprise would be best for their property, while at the same time gain valuable tips to practice good stewardship on your piece of Texas.

The first in a series of meetings will be held on April 15 at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center, from 1:30 to 4 p.m.

The focus of this first session will be support for landowners, with topics including an overview of services provided by Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Farm Service Agency and the Natural Resource Conservation Service.

In addition, tax valuations for agriculture and wildlife, options for leasing pastures, loan options for agriculture enterprises and pesticide applicator license requirements will be reviewed.

Topics to be covered at later dates include the following:

May 20 - Pasture and brush management June 17 - Beef cattle production July 15 - Natural resource management

This series is being sponsored by Extension staff in Nueces, Jim Wells, San Patricio and Kleberg counties. More detailed information is available upon request from County Extension Agents in these counties. Fees for this series are $40 per person or $60 per couple if attending all sessions. If you choose to participate in only certain sessions, registration is $20 per session.

For more information please contact the Nueces County Extension Office at (361) 767-5223.

Jeffrey Stapper is the Agricultural and Natural Resources Agent for Nueces County. Readers may contact him at (361) 767-5217.