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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fort Collins, Colorado » Center for Agricultural Resources Research » Water Management and Systems Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #330836

Research Project: Spatial Modeling of Agricultural Watersheds: Water and Nutrient Management and Targeted Conservation Effects at Field to Watershed Scales

Location: Water Management and Systems Research

Title: Simulating the probability of grain sorghum maturity before the first frost in northeastern Colorado

Author
item Mcmaster, Gregory
item Edmunds, Debora - Debbie
item Jones, Sally - Colorado State University
item Johnson, Jerry - Colorado State University
item Vigil, Merle

Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/19/2016
Publication Date: 9/27/2016
Citation: McMaster, G.S., Edmunds, D.A., Jones, S.M., Johnson, J.J., Vigil, M.F. 2016. Simulating the probability of grain sorghum maturity before the first frost in northeastern Colorado. Agronomy Journal. 6(4):44. doi:10.3390/agronomy6040044.

Interpretive Summary: Grain sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] is an important dryland crop in semiarid southeastern Colorado, and there is interest in expanding production northward into northeastern Colorado. However, there is concern that this is possible because it is thought to be limited by shorter growing seasons due to lower temperatures and earlier frost dates. This study used a simulation model for predicting crop phenology (PhenologyMMS) to predict the probability of reaching physiological maturity before the first fall frost for a variety of agronomic practices in northeastern Colorado. Physiological maturity for seven planting dates (1 May to 12 June), four seedbed moisture conditions affecting seedling emergence (from Optimum to Planted in Dust), and three maturity classes (Early, Medium, and Late) was simulated using historical weather data from nine locations for both irrigated and dryland phenological parameters. The probability of reaching maturity before the first frost was slightly higher under dryland conditions, decreased as latitude, longitude, and elevation increased, planting date was delayed, and for later maturity classes. The results provide producers with estimates of the reliability of growing grain sorghum in northeastern Colorado.

Technical Abstract: Expanding grain sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] production northward from southeastern Colorado is thought to be limited by shorter growing seasons due to lower temperatures and earlier frost dates. This study used a simulation model for predicting crop phenology (PhenologyMMS) to predict the probability of reaching physiological maturity before the first fall frost for a variety of agronomic practices in northeastern Colorado. Physiological maturity for seven planting dates (1 May to 12 June), four seedbed moisture conditions affecting seedling emergence (from Optimum to Planted in Dust), and three maturity classes (Early, Medium, and Late) was simulated using historical weather data from nine locations for both irrigated and dryland phenological parameters. The probability of reaching maturity before the first frost was slightly higher under dryland conditions, decreased as latitude, longitude, and elevation increased, planting date was delayed, and for later maturity classes. The results provide producers with estimates of the reliability of growing grain sorghum in northeastern Colorado.