Texas crop and weather

Although high winds and hail damaged crops in some regions, beneficial weather conditions throughout most of the state helped farmers and cattle producers, Texas Cooperative Extension reports stated.

In most regions, corn and cotton are making good progress with only a few insect or disease problems reported. However, wheat production was hindered by isolated hail storms in the South Plains and by head smut, lodging and wet conditions in the North.

"Corn and grain crops are looking really good overall," said Danny Fromme, Extension agronomist at the Texas A&M System Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Uvalde. "There had previously been some damage from wind and hail, but crops in the (Southwest) region are recovering nicely, in part due to the cooler temperatures."

Producers in the Southwest region were also able to bale hay for a time, but rain interrupted the process for many, Fromme said. And cotton has been developing more slowly than expected.

"Right now one of the biggest decisions producers are trying to make is whether to turn on their pivot irrigation systems," said Jason Ott Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources for Medina County. "We're getting some dry-down, so now many of them are trying to decide if it's better to hold off or go ahead with their irrigation."

Cattle producers also benefitted from the improved weather, Extension reports said. In most regions, cattle were reported to be in good to excellent condition and to have adequate forage material. There were no reports of supplemental feeding being required.

The following are regional Extension reports for the past week:

PANHANDLE: Record-low temperatures were set in many areas. High winds caused some erosion and damage to seedlings. Soil moisture ranges from short to surplus with most areas reporting adequate. Corn is rated fair to excellent with most areas reporting good, and no pest problems are indicated. Cotton planting is nearly complete with stands rated mostly fair, but thrips are a problem in some fields. Peanut planting is about complete with stands rated fair to good and no pest problems reported. Sorghum is about 70 percent planted; stands are rated mostly good. Wheat is rated mostly good to excellent and harvest is under way in southern areas of the region. Early reports indicate yield and test weight are good. Range conditions are mostly good. Cattle are in excellent condition, though horn flies continue to pester livestock.

SOUTH PLAINS: Rainfall of 0.2 to 2 inches was reported, along with hail and high winds in some areas. Farmers are trying to plant and replant crops, especially cotton. Cotton is in fair to good condition. Wheat is in good condition and continues to mature, but at a slower pace than normal. Some wheat was severely damaged by hail storms this week. Corn is in good condition and progressing very well. Sorghum is in good condition, and peanuts are in fair to good condition. Pastures and ranges are in good to excellent condition. Available forage is excellent, and cattle condition is good to excellent.

ROLLING PLAINS: Rains slowed down wheat harvest in the region, but producers are taking advantage of drier weather to get the wheat crop out and the cotton crop in. Warmer temperatures and good soil moisture has allowed bermudagrass and other warm season grasses to take off. Livestock are in excellent condition as pastures continue to green up. Producers are starting to restock herds. Some dryland corn fields look great. Peach growers are battling disease caused by wet, humid conditions, but the pecan crop looks good.

NORTH: Soil moisture ranges from adequate to surplus. Stock ponds are full or nearly full, and recent rains have improved growing conditions for spring-planted crops and summer grasses. Both bermudagrass and dallasgrass seem to be bouncing back. The rain has delayed wheat and oat harvests.

Producers have had difficulties in baling early-season hay, but some hay cutting has resumed. While it started as a banner year for wheat, the crop has had lodging problems and head smut, along with wet weather that delayed harvest. In the areas where combining wheat has started, the yields look impressive. Corn, grain sorghum and soybeans are doing very well. Corn is in excellent shape with tassels and silks in about 65 percent of the crop. Sorghum planting is almost complete and looking good. Cotton has been planted and is in good condition. Forage crop is in good condition. Cattle body condition looks good for this time of year. Sweet potato growers are trying to finish transplanting. Pasture conditions are better than anticipated. Grasshoppers may be a problem in some areas.

EAST: Rainfall continued, and storms damaged some trees. Blueberries are growing well; and a huge crop is expected this year. Peaches are being harvested. Vegetables are being harvested, including beans, peas, squash, potatoes, onions and some tomatoes. Sweet corn is also doing well. Spraying of weeds in pastures and hayfields is under way. Grasshoppers are a problem in some pastures. Hay cuttings are yielding well.

FAR WEST: Soil moisture ranges from very short to adequate, with Val Verde County reporting surplus. Range and pastures vary from very poor to excellent condition. Corn and winter wheat range from very poor to good condition. Cotton and sorghum are in fair to excellent condition. Widely scattered showers were reported across the region, leaving from 0.1 to 3 inches of rain. Pecan casebearer activity is minimal.

WEST CENTRAL: Temperatures were in the mid- to upper 80s F with high humidity and winds. Some areas reported scattered showers. Producers are planting cotton and grain sorghum as fields dry out. Most wheat is being grazed or baled; some will be harvested soon with good to excellent yields. Range and pastures continue to show good growth. Livestock are in good condition. Producers continue to treat livestock for internal parasites. The pecan crop is looking good this year with higher-then-normal yields expected. The peach harvest is under way.

CENTRAL: Soil moisture is adequate to surplus. The small grain harvest continues, but there is some in-head sprouting of wheat due to continued moisture. Also, heavy winds have caused some lodging. The coastal hay harvest is producing excellent yields. Range and pasture conditions are improving, but weeds are a problem in uncontrolled areas. Corn is tasseling and making excellent progress.

SOUTHEAST: Dry weather allowed many fields to be harvested for hay, but the delay caused by previous wet weather has caused difficulties. Warm temperatures were reported during the day, with high humidity at night even though little or no rain fell. Mexican rice borer moths were found in the monitoring traps in western Liberty County, and some minor insect damage was reported in the region. Soybean rust monitoring continues as rust was reported on the kudzu near Dayton. The soybeans in the Dayton area are only 4 inches tall, and these and other bean fields will continue to be scouted in the coming weeks. Livestock are faring well. Hay baling is in full swing.

SOUTHWEST: Rainfall is now at about 125 percent of the long-term average, causing the region to green up and improving agriculture after more than 23 months of severe drought. Cool nights and mild days have also helped. Corn, sorghum, cotton, peanuts, potatoes, watermelons and cantaloupes are making good progress. Rains have also increased the production of forbs (weeds), which has improved the nutritional situation for wildlife. The harvesting of wheat, oats, cabbage, beets (for processing), onions, green beans and squash continues.

COASTAL BEND: Up to 1 inch of rain was received. Warm days and good soil moisture have improved the row-crop yield potential for the year. Growth-regulator treatments and weed control applications were common in cotton fields. Ranchers are baling hay. Cattle remain in good condition as summer heat begins to reduce the quality of forages in many pastures. Calving continues in many herds.

SOUTH: Very hot and humid weather was reported throughout the region. Soil moisture has been very short in general, but western parts of the region received an abundance of rain, which greened up ranges and pastures. Corn, sorghum and cotton crops in the mid-area of the region are progressing well. Hotter weather benefitted both cotton and sorghum. Some insect activity was reported in the cotton crop, but spraying was not required. Corn and sorghum are in excellent condition and should produce good to above-average yields. Sorghum harvesting is about to begin.

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