It’s better than it has been but drought continues to stress more than 70 percent of Texas. And, although recent rainfall has provided much needed relief, the improvements are coming at “slower rate than in previous weeks,” according to the latest Texas Drought Report from the Texas Water Development Board.
Also of concern is rainfall is not providing equal opportunity. “While some parts of the state improved, others got worse,” the report said. Also, reservoirs are not filling and remain at 20 percentage points below normal for this time of year.
Latest numbers indicate; 71 percent of the state remains in moderate to exceptional drought, up from 69 percent last week, 64 percent three months ago and down from 84 percent this time last year.
The report also noted that the latest U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook, which holds though the end of September, shows improvements in Wes Texas but continuing and developing drought across the rest of the state.
For the latest on southwest agriculture, please check out Southwest Farm Press Daily and receive the latest news right to your inbox
The latest drought map shows fewer areas in the “no drought” status. Most of those areas are on the eastern edge of the state with one small spot on the Lower Rio Grande Valley. The Panhandle remains a hot spot with significant areas still considered in severe and extreme drought and a significant area in the rolling Plains near the Southwest Oklahoma state line remaining in exceptional drought. Another ribbon of exceptional drought extends out of the Oklahoma Panhandle into the top of The Texas Panhandle.
Across the West, the map shows some improvement but with all of California and most of Oregon and Nevada projected to see drought persist or intensify through September. Large areas in Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado should see drought remaining but diminishing or disappearing. Drought is expected to develop in areas of East Texas and western Louisiana.
Crop and weather report
In his latest crops ad weather report, Texas AgriLife Extension media specialist Robert Burns indicates that rain over the Texas High Plains and Rolling Plains continues to improve the growing conditions for cotton. But it’s also good for weed.
He cites AgriLife Extension statewide cotton specialist Gaylon Morgan, College Station as saying weeds are particularly troublesome for cotton growers this year because of two reasons—the timing of the rains and glyphosate resistance.
“We’ve had much better early season rainfall than we’ve had in the last three or four years,” Morgan said. “With the early season rainfall, before the crop is well established, the weeds are much more visible, and are much more competitive than if they emerge later.”
Cotton is very competitive with weeds once it is established and growing well. Weeds emerging later in the growing season are shaded by the cotton leaf canopy and face greater competition for water and nutrients from mature cotton plants.
“However, early season competition from weeds is much more detrimental to cotton yields than weeds emerging mid-season,” Morgan said. “Cotton is a perennial plant that develops slowly as a seedling and young plant, and especially this year with cooler than normal temperatures.”
Numerous weeds cause problems, but the No. 1 weed for most Texas cotton growers is Palmer amaranth, commonly known as pigweed, he said.
“And what we hear the most about now, is glyphosate-resistant pigweeds, meaning that Roundup or glyphosate will not control these pigweeds,” Morgan said. “It was in the last four to five years in South Texas that we’ve had more and more reports of glyphosate-resistant weeds. I believe it was in 2011 that the recognition of glyphosate resistant pigweeds really became widespread in the High Plains.”
Morgan and his colleagues recently published the “4âStep Program for Managing
Glyphosate-Resistant Pigweeds in Texas Cotton”.
“The publication basically outlines the different approaches for managing or preventing glyphosate-resistant pigweeds in cotton,” he said.
The publication can be viewed or downloaded by going to http://cotton.tamu.edu and clicking on “Weeds” on the left-hand panel. The new publication is at the top of the list.
More information on the current Texas drought and wildfire alerts can be found on the AgriLife Extension Agricultural Drought Task Force website at http://agrilife.tamu.edu/drought/ .