Posted: Aug 21, 2013 3:33 PM
Updated: Aug 21, 2013 3:33 PM
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) The following reports were compiled by AgriLife Extension Service for the week of Aug. 20:
Central: Pastures were in better condition than last year, but rangeland had not recovered from the last few years of drought. Light showers were reported in some areas on Aug. 15-16. Corn, grain and forage sorghum were giving good yields. Cotton was in good shape, but drought conditions worsened for much of the district. Pond and creek levels were dropping.
Coastal Bend: Hot, dry conditions persisted in most of the region. Farmers in most of the district began cotton defoliation. The corn harvest was finished and the rice harvest was ongoing. A few areas reported most small-grain fields a total loss. Pastures were declining as there were no significant rains. Ranchers were providing supplemental feed. Late-planted grain sorghum and stubble was being baled.
East: A cold front moved through the area bringing cooler temperatures, but drought conditions for most areas continued to worsen as there was little to no rain. Lake and pond levels continued to drop. Where there was rainfall, it came fast and briefly, not allowing the moisture to soak into the soil. Where there was rain, the cooler temperatures helped forages green up and improved grazing quality. Some producers continued harvesting hay. In areas where there were good rains earlier, producers have had three to four cuttings of good quality hay. A few producers in San Augustine County were beginning to feed hay early due to drought. Parts of Trinity County have little or no pasture grass. Grasshoppers continued to be a problem. Cattle were in good shape. Producers were weaning large calves. The blueberry and blackberry harvests were complete. Cotton was blooming. Feral hogs were active.
Far West: The region received from a trace to 0.8 inch of rain. Conditions continued to be hot and muggy. Pastures looked good, but without moisture soon, they will soon dry out and revert to drought-stressed condition. There were concerns that continuing drought conditions will result in a tremendous amount of dry-grass fuel for wildfires due to low stocking rates. Irrigated cotton was looking good, and the grain sorghum harvest was completed. Cattle were in fair to good condition, with those pastures that received earlier rains doing better than others.
North: Most of the region had sporadic showers, but soil-moisture levels were short to very short. Temperatures were unseasonably cool, with mornings in the mid-60s and days in the upper-80s. The harvesting of corn and grain sorghum began, with about 10 percent of the crops already harvested. Some sunflowers were already harvested as well. Cotton was setting bolls and reported to be in good shape across the region. Livestock continued to be in good condition. Pastures generally were in decent shape, though in some areas they were drying out. Forage growth slowed due to lack of moisture. Grasshoppers continued to be a problem for most area pastures.
Panhandle: Temperatures varied widely at near normal ranges early in the reporting period, then cooler than normal, then back to seasonal highs. Most of the region received more rain, from a trace to as much as 4 inches. In some areas, the rain allowed irrigators to stop pumping for a while. Hail accompanied some of the storms, and some fields in Deaf Smith and Gray counties were completely lost. The rains helped all crops but were especially welcomed by farmers hoping to get early planted wheat off to a good start. Weeds were becoming a problem in some areas. Rangeland and pastures continued to improve thanks to the rains but were still mostly in very poor to poor condition. Cattle were in good condition. There was an increase of insect pressure, particularly from corn earworm and cotton bollworm.
Rolling Plains: Much-needed rainfall fell across parts of the region, with amounts ranging from 1.5 to 3.5 inches. Cotton was looking good but needed warmer weather as most fields were in full bloom. Some late-planted cotton was still behind in maturity. Farmers had a bumper crop of weeds. Cattle remained in good condition, as did most rangeland and pastures. However, area lakes and tanks need a really big rain to fill them up. Hay production was proceeding better than expected. Farmers were preparing fields for planting winter wheat. Grasshoppers remained a nuisance, but weren't as bad as they were a year ago.
South: Extremely hot and dry conditions continued throughout the region. Soil-moisture conditions were very short to short in most counties. The exceptions were Jim Wells and Maverick counties, with both reporting 50 percent adequate levels. Jim Wells County had 4.5 inches of rain; Starr County 0.1 to 1 inch, but the rest of the region only had very light scattered showers or no rain at all. Livestock grazing and stock-tank water supplies were becoming more and more difficult to manage throughout the region. Extreme temperatures in the high 90s to 100s continue to affect forage quality and availability of grazing. In Atascosa County, all corn and nearly all grain sorghum was harvested. Most cotton in that county had opened bolls, while peanuts were doing well with only mild disease pressure. In Frio County, the corn harvest was completed, while the grain sorghum harvest was ongoing. Frio County peanut growers reported light foliar disease pressure. In Jim Wells County, significant amounts of hay grazer was baled and stored for the winter. In Maverick County, most spring crops have been harvested, and Bermuda grass as well as sorghum hay was in abundance. In Zavala County, dry conditions were great for corn harvesting. Zavala County cotton was progressing well, and most cotton producers reported their cotton was opening bolls. In Hidalgo County, the cotton harvest was in full swing. In Starr County, producers were actively irrigating sugarcane and baling hay.
South Plains: The region received more rain, with about 3 inches being the most common accumulation, but there were reports 4 to 5 inches in some counties. Most crops were maturing. Insect pressure continued to be uncommonly light, but there were problems with herbicide-resistant weeds. Some producers were preparing to plant winter wheat. Hail accompanied rain in parts of Lynn County, damaging cotton, grain and forage sorghum. No damage estimates were in yet. Rangeland and pastures were recovering where rain was received, and cattle were mostly in good condition.
Southeast: Overall, soil-moisture levels were short to very short, and rangeland and pasture conditions were very poor to fair. The exception was San Jacinto County with surplus soil moisture and excellent rangeland and pasture conditions. Corn was in poor condition in Burleson County and good in Brazoria County. Rice was in good to excellent condition, and soybeans were fair to good. Montgomery County received a few showers that helped green up pastures, but soil moisture was still very short there. Walker County was also very dry, with trees dying and grass either not growing or dead. Burleson County reported grasshoppers are still terrible. In Chambers County, the rice harvest was in full swing. Rains delayed the harvest, but farmers expected to catch up quickly.
Southwest: Some areas had drought relief with limited rainfall and slightly cooler temperatures. Rangeland and pastures were very dry with little to no green vegetation. Even some drought-tolerant South Texas brush species were dying from years of drought stress. Irrigated row crops remained in good condition as sorghum and corn harvests neared completion. Overall, livestock were in good condition though grazing was becoming very limited.
West Central: Very hot, dry weather persisted. A few areas had some scattered showers, but no significant rainfall was reported. Farmers were finishing their field preparations for fall planting. The hay harvest continued, but was expected to wind down soon. Many producers got as many as three hay cuttings this year, and some were expecting to take a fourth. Rangeland and pasture conditions were good, with warm-season grasses growing well, though some heat stress was beginning to show. Livestock remained in fair to good condition, but numbers were low. Pecan growers were actively irrigating.