Hermine helps most crops, hurts some cotton

Rainfall across the state left some Texas farmers scratching their heads, wondering when they would get back in the fields, while others were pleased for the moisture to green up pastures and provide moisture for small grain planting.

Rains from tropical storm Hermine a week ago greened up pastures and rangeland, and provided soil moisture for fall planting through many parts of the state, according to Texas AgriLife Extension Service personnel.

However, in South Texas and the Coastal Bend, AgriLife Extension agents reported that the cotton harvest was put on hold, and in some cases damaged by wind and rain.

But most areas welcomed the rain and milder temperatures. For example, many AgriLife Extension agents in North Texas and Central Texas said the rain was a godsend.

"Six inches of rain last week turned the county green," said Roger Skipper, AgriLife Extension agent in Fannin County. "Hopes are this will provide another cut of hay to help with short supplies."

"We got 8 to 12 inches of rainfall this past week, with no severe flooding except in the river bottoms," said Lyle Zoeller, AgriLife Extension agent in Coryell County, west of Waco. "Some small grains were planted. All (water) tanks are full. The water supply will be good going into winter."

"The rainfall amounts ranged from about 5 inches up to 10 inches across the county," said Rick Maxwell, AgriLife Extension agent in Collin County, north of Dallas. "The rain was very much needed for pastures and cropland. The rains came a little too late for the grain crops, but will help by providing soil moisture for the planting winter annual pastures and small grains."

The rains weren't welcome everywhere, however. For some Texas Blacklands cotton and corn growers, the heavy rains couldn't have come at a worse time, said Shane McLellan, AgriLife Extension agent for McLennan County, Waco.

"Many producers are scratching their heads in disbelief. Especially cotton producers, many of whom sprayed a defoliant or desiccant onto their cotton fields early last week in preparation for harvest later that week," he said.

McLellan said McLennan County cotton producers would have to wait for flooded cotton fields to dry out before they can get back into the fields.

"As usual it is either feast or famine, dust or mud for Central Texas Blackland producers," McLellan said.

One county to the north of McLennan County, it was a different story.

"We got from 4 to 11 inches of rainfall this week due to the tropical storm," said David Winkler, AgriLife Extension agent in Bosque County. "It was a great blessing for range and pasture land."

In most of the cotton areas of the state, particularly the South Plains and Rolling Plains regions, cotton was doing very well, and the rain - which mostly consisted of light showers - was welcomed. In the Rolling Plains, dryland cotton remained behind irrigated cotton, AgriLife Extension agents reported.

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