Crop Progresses in South Texas

Warm temperatures have even the earliest planted sesame up and off to a very good start for 2012.

This sesame was planted by Hollis and Dustin Swanberg near Lyford, TX on March 21.

It has 3 pairs of leaves, or nodes, three weeks after planting. Above the third pair is the apical meristem or the main growing point of the plant. Inside the meristem are multiple small leaves and buds already beginning to form. These bottom leaves shown here have not reached the maximum size but may grow as large as 5 to 6 inches long and 4 to 5 inches wide or more. This provides quick ground shading to help prevent germinating of weed in the plant row. When using a solid drill, full canopy can be reached by 4 to 5 weeks.

It is only 10 to 14 days before sesame starts its aggressive growth vertically just before beginning to flower and set capsules.

A good stand and a clean field

The key to a successful crop is starting with a good stand and a clean field. In the field pictured here, sesame has a clear advantage over weeds - all that is needed now is heat, moisture, nutrients, and time. Typical of South Texas, grass weeds will need to be monitored closely, but few things can go wrong from here. Getting a stand can be the biggest challenge but is completely achievable as shown here.

From the the day this field was planted (March 21) to now (April 14) 393 Growing Degree Day or Heat Units have been accumulated compared to 257 on average for the last 30 years. Sesame's base temperature for counting GDD is 60 degrees.

In 10 to 14 days sesame will be developing a node every 1 to 1.5 days. That is two new leaves and two new capsules being developed every day.

There are 22 plants here against this ruler. Over time the large plants will be come dominant with large leaves shading the smaller plants. 

The larger plants will pull nutrients away from the small plants and they will almost disappear. 

This is the self thinning process often seen in the field. In the end 4 to 8 of the plants will be contributing to yield. 

The normal and high yields are achieved this way.

Water in the seed trench


Frontis Newell of Rio Hondo, TX is in his third year of applying water in the seed trench with seed. 

He has been able to comfortably lower his seeding rates by adding 25-30 gallons per acre and maintain a uniform stand. In very dry conditions adding water to the trench is the difference between having a crop or not.

Adding water in the trench initiates imbibing of moisture into the seed quickly and allowing the radicle to penetrate into the soil in advance of the drying line.

Larry Skloss is in his second season of sesame production and this year added 25 GPA of water to the seed trench. 

He too has now experienced that he can lower his seeding rate by adding the water.

Ray Jones is taking sesame to the next level as well. 

He has developed a way of double row planting sesame on a 40 inch bed

We are excited to see this work out for Ray.

Please review our latest Producers Guide and find your closest source of planting seed and marketing agreements here.

Please contact us with any inquiries or questions.

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