– Most parts of the state reported rain this week. In some cases, it delayed agriculture operations; in others, it provided a little relief during an extended drought.
Texas Cooperative Extension reports from the Panhandle, South Plains and other cotton-producing regions of the state reported planting and growth for that crop were delayed due to cool temperatures and continued moisture.
However, other regions are enjoying the extra moisture, with reports of spring crops thriving and stock tanks and lakes beginning to refill.
The following are weekly reports from Extension districts around the state:
PANHANDLE: The week began with temperatures near normal, but ended above average. Rain fell over most of the area, with amounts ranging from a trace to nearly 4 inches. Soil moisture is rated short to surplus, with most areas reporting adequate. Corn is about 25 percent planted. Stands are rated fair. Wet fields have delayed planting. In the southeast Panhandle, some cotton has been planted, but, in general, conditions are too cool and too wet. Peanuts are being planted where field conditions allow. About 35 percent of the wheat is headed. The crop is rated from poor to excellent, with most areas reporting fair to good. Russian wheat aphid and bird cherry oat aphid infestations continue to be a sporadic problem. Range conditions are very poor to excellent, with most areas reporting fair to good. Cattle are in good condition. Horn flies are increasing and causing irritation to range animals.
SOUTH PLAINS: More rainfall was received this week, ranging from .5 inches to 2.5 inches. Temperatures were in the 70s F most of the week. Soil moisture is adequate. A few producers have started planting cotton, but most are waiting due to cool soil temperatures and unsettled weather conditions. Wheat is continuing to mature and most looks good. Corn planting continues. Pre-plant field work for pumpkins is under way, and planting should get started by month’s end. Pastures and ranges are in good condition. Cattle are in good condition and supplemental feeding continues.
ROLLING PLAINS: Sporadic showers throughout the week have slowed field work as producers try to get fields ready for cotton, milo and hay grazer. Soil moisture is plentiful throughout the district. Creeks and tanks are full. Livestock are in very good condition. Wheat crop conditions are good to excellent; some fields have had leaf rust, but yields should be higher than normal across the district. The peach and pecan crops appear to be good to excellent this year.
NORTH: Soil moisture ranged from short to surplus with some counties receiving up to 2 inches of rain, bringing fieldwork and planting to a halt. Crops are looking very good and pastures are in fair to excellent condition. Storm winds have caused some lodging in wheat fields, as well as Hessian fly infestations in some fields. Some hail fell, but no damage was reported. The wheat crop is headed and beginning to turn color. Corn is almost all emerged and in good condition. Soybeans and sorghum crops are in fair to good condition and both crops are 50 percent to 100 percent planted. Rains and warmer weather have boosted crop and pasture growth. May beetles and flies are being reported in great numbers.
EAST: Rainfall ranged from sprinkles up to 8 inches. Winter pastures, vegetable planting and fruit crops are all looking exceptionally good. Some vegetables are being harvested, such as squash, onions and greens. Pecans are doing excellent, with 4-5 nutlets per set. Beef cattle are in good to excellent condition and prices remain high. Ryegrass and clover patches are being cut and baled for hay. Many livestock and forage producers are worried about high fertilizer prices. Lawn diseases are becoming more of a problem with the warm, humid weather.
FAR WEST: Soil moisture is very short to surplus. Range and pastures vary from very poor to excellent. Corn and oats are in fair condition; sorghum is in excellent condition; and winter wheat is in very poor to good condition. Scattered thunderstorms brought 1 to 6 inches of rain, with reports of pea-size and nickel-size hail in some parts. Pecan trees are leafing out rapidly. Cotton producers are waiting for fields to dry before starting to plant. All watermelons and cantaloupes have been planted. Range conditions are improving with scattered rainfall. Many annuals are showing signs of growth, while many perennial grasses are showing good to excellent growth. Very little fruit is left on peach, apple and apricot trees due to the Easter weekend freeze. Wheat continues to show the effects of the Easter freeze, with estimates of 15 percent to 20 percent losses.
WEST CENTRAL: All areas reported significant rainfall through mid-week. Temperatures have been warm with mild nights. No field activity was done this week due to wet conditions. Cotton crop outlook is good due to recent soaking rains contributing to soil moisture. Wheat and oats are beginning to head out and producers will be harvesting by the end of May. Yields are expected to be above normal. About half of the early planted corn was freeze damaged; most will need to be replanted. Range and pastures continue improving with very good growth. Bermudagrass pastures are actively growing. Producers report stock tanks are filling up with good runoff. Livestock are in good to excellent condition. Spraying of pecan orchards is on hold because of wet conditions.
CENTRAL: Heavy rains and very strong winds passed through counties, laying over many wheat and oat fields. Soils are saturated. Stock tanks are full and lakes are rising. Corn, wheat and oat fields need to dry out. Pecan nut casebearer moths have been detected in orchards. Cattle are in good shape.
SOUTHEAST: Rain continued delaying agricultural operations, with 1.5 to 3 inches falling. The excessive rain has damaged newly emerged corn and delayed cotton planting, as well as cutting of hay fields. Temperatures are warming to 70 degrees F at night, and 88 degrees F during the day. Livestock are doing well. There are reports of coyotes killing young calves.
SOUTHWEST: Sporadic storms brought light to heavy rain showers and isolated hail. While year-to-date cumulative rainfall is just below the long-term average, the region remains relatively dry. The soil profile remains dry as a result of the 24-month drought. Pastures and ranges are green. Forage availability is adequate and wheat, oats, corn, sorghum, cotton, potatoes, cabbage and other spring vegetables are making good progress. More rain is needed to sustain spring growth. Wheat and oats are maturing, but production will be below average. A large proportion of wheat and oat planting were lost to the drought. The cabbage and carrot harvests continue.
COASTAL BEND: Some areas received rain, but those which didn’t could decline without additional moisture in the next few weeks. In most of the area, improvement continues with hot, humid conditions promoting growth in row crops, forages and rangeland. Some insect control on corn and sorghum is being applied. Farmers are cultivating and spraying for weeds. Cotton is growing slowly as a result of cloudy weather. Cattle prices are still very good, and cattle are in excellent condition.
SOUTH: Short to very short soil moisture conditions were reported. All row crops throughout the eastern part of the region are doing well, and the sorghum there has been headed. In the middle of the region, the harvesting of citrus, sugarcane, vegetables and spring onions continues. The western part of the region received about 1 inch of rain. Overall, pastures have progressed well.