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We had another good rain this morning. It rained about 1.5
inches. This picture of our field actually looks better than it does
in real life. Many of the leaves have dried-up and fallen to the
ground. These wet conditions will slow the drying process.
The ground is very soggy this morning. I had to put on my rubber boots to get around the field. As we mentioned before, this rain won't help this crop, but we plan to plant wheat in this field after sunflower harvest and this moisture will help the wheat.
If you compare this head to pictures from previous dates, you would see the difference in how the head is maturing (ripening or drying). It's rather common to see head moth larvae lesions or symptoms of Rhizopus head rot on the heads' backside. Let's look at a cross-section.
This is a different head than the previous picture and I wish that I had taken the cross-section from that head, because I'm unimpressed by this one. This head is a wreck! It's loaded with head moth larvae and it doesn't appear to have any seeds in the center. Let's look closer.
Man, that's not good. There are very few seeds in the center of this head. We talked about this before. More than likely this is due to the heat and drought that we had in late July and August. To remind you about how hot it has been this summer, there were 8 days in July and 11 days in August that were above 100 F with not a lot of rain.
This head is falling apart. What's the problem? If you're thinking this is the result of Rhizopus head rot, you would be correct. Obviously, this head will fall to the ground and what little seed is in it will be bird seed.
The dead plant is an example of a fungal disease called Phoma black stem. This disease is associated with stem weevil and other insect infestations and you'll remember that we have stem weevils in this field. These dead plants are scattered around the field. Early symptoms are black lesions on the stem. Infected plants wilt and die prematurely.
Well, here's another dove sitting on a head. It sees me, too. There's a pigweed plant behind the dove. Just for the record that pigweed plant is NOT in our sunflower field, but rather at the field's edge. The sun just emerged from behind the clouds for the first time today and the wind has picked up a bit. However, the forecast is for some rain again tomorrow.