Texas crop, weather report

Weeks of frequent rainfall have southeast hay producers crying, "uncle," according to Wayne Thompson, Texas Cooperative Extension agent for agriculture in Harris County.

"There has just been too much rain," he said. "And just like we had problems with weeds that are drought-tolerant a while back during the drought, now we're have problems with weeds that are tolerant to excessive rain."

Sedges are "out of control" in most pastures, he said.

Sedge is a native, invasive weed with more than 100 varieties.

"The soil is saturated, and the rain will carry away nitrogen fertilizers used to improve the soil," Thompson said. "This year's hay is likely to be high in fiber and low in protein because the producers can't get to the fields at the right time to cut it. And, when they do get it cut, it rains again and they can't bale it."

Extension officials offered these weekly reports about conditions throughout Texas:

PANHANDLE: Slightly above-average temperatures preceded a midweek cool front, which dropped temperatures below normal for the remainder of the week. Rain in some areas measured a trace to 1 inch. Soil moisture is rated short to surplus with most areas reporting adequate. Corn is rated fair to excellent, with some reports of tasseling. Isolated, small colonies of spider mites have been reported. Cotton is showing some improvement and is rated mostly fair to good. Cotton fleahoppers and Lygus bugs have infested some fields and are causing loss. Peanuts are rated fair to good. Sorghum is rated fair to excellent with most areas reporting good. Soybeans are rated mostly good. No pest problems were reported for peanuts, sorghum or soybeans. Wheat harvest is almost complete with dryland yields of 40 to 80 bushels per acre and almost 100 bushels per acre in irrigated yields. Range conditions are rated mostly good. Weed problems were reported in some areas. Cattle are in excellent condition. Fly and mosquito problems continue.

SOUTH PLAINS: Hot days, warm nights and above-average humidity was accompanied by isolated rain, which measured a trace to more than 3 inches. Eastern and northern counties received some damaging hail. Wheat harvest is almost complete with above-average yields reported. Corn is in good to excellent condition. Rainfall and above-average humidity have contributed to excellent pollination. Pre-plant herbicide in many cotton fields broke down because of heavy rains and led to extensive weed problems. Grain sorghum is in flag leaf stage with many fields now beginning to head out. Cotton is squaring with more mature fields beginning to bloom. Cotton across region remains two to three weeks behind because of weather problems early in the growing season. Rangeland and pastures in southern counties are responding well to moisture, but facing increasing pressure from grasshoppers. Peanuts are growing well in response to recent rainfall. Sunflowers are maturing rapidly. Livestock are in good condition with good grazing potential in most native and improved pastures.

ROLLING PLAINS: Range and pasture conditions are excellent. Most cotton is expected to make a good crop. Some producers are still harvesting wheat. However, in the areas that received rain after the June 1 harvest, seed sprouting in wheat heads is a problem. Most of the custom wheat harvesters are gone because of the excessive rainfall. Producers with combines are trying to get wheat out, although the quality is low and expected to bring only half of the current market price. Drier weather has allowed hay growers to cut and bale this week. Hay fields are making excellent growth with improved soil moisture and warm temperatures. Many growers are harvesting their second cutting of high quality forage. Grasshoppers are damaging some hay fields, but in most cases the damage doesn't warrant control. Livestock are in good to excellent condition.

NORTH: Soil moisture is surplus with heavy rains continuing. Moderate flooding has been reported along the Red River. Rain has prevented the ground from drying out enough for field work. Wet conditions are hindering grain harvest and delaying forage baling. Some winter wheat and oats have been harvested; the wheat and oats remaining in the fields is essentially lost. Some fields are showing regrowth of 3 to 4 inches in fields where shattering occurred. The summer hay crops are maturing past the optimal periods of nutritional value because wet conditions are preventing harvest. Cotton conditions are declining, and the plants have stopped squaring due to excessive moisture. Hay producers can't cut and bale because of the rain. Some forage producers are waiting for their second cutting because of the daily rains. Soybeans and sorghum range from excellent to good condition. Rice is in good condition. Recent rains have resulted in large numbers of mosquitoes and flies. Livestock is in good condition. Range and pasture conditions are good to excellent.

EAST: Two rain systems caused severe flood damage to the entire district. Some counties received as much as 10 inches of rainfall. Extension agents worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to assess water damage. County judges have declared a local state of emergency and are requesting a disaster declaration from the governor's office and Federal Emergency Management Agency. More than 50 roads have extensive erosion, and more than 30 culverts and bridges were destroyed. Local producers' roads and pond dams were also damaged. Hundreds of acres are still underwater; the extent of the damage is as yet undetermined. Many hay producers have lost two cuttings of hay because of rain. Pastures are too wet to run equipment to cut and bale hay or spray for weeds. Cattle prices and demand continue to be strong. Fruit, nuts and vegetables are having disease problems from excessive moisture and humidity.

FAR WEST: Soil moisture ranges from very short to surplus, and crops and pastures are in very poor to excellent condition. Corn is in very poor to good condition. Cotton is in very poor to excellent condition. Sorghum is in fair to excellent condition. Chile crop is at first blooming stage. Harvesting for cantaloupes, watermelons and onions has begun. Pecan and grape growers are maintaining their base plants and hoping for a better turn next year. Shrimp are growing well.

WEST CENTRAL: Temperatures returned to normal. Some light rain was reported in a few areas. Crops continue to thrive due to recent rainfall. Cotton crops are looking very good. Sorghum and corn crops are progressing. Hay producers were delayed from cutting and baling because of wet conditions. Some wheat and oat producers were unable to get the harvest from the field because of wet conditions. Insects have been a problem since the rain. Range and pastures continue good growth due to recent rain. Brown rot continues on peaches. Some pecan trees are dropping nuts. Internal parasites, flies and mosquitos are problems for livestock; however, they remain in good to excellent condition.

CENTRAL: Fields and rangelands are drying out after recent floods. Standing water and high humidity have contributed to increased problems from horn flies and mosquitoes around livestock. Hay baling has resumed in some fields some worries of corn falling.

SOUTHEAST: Rains have stopped, and producers are cutting and baling hay.

SOUTHWEST: The excellent moisture conditions and relatively cool weather helped crops progress, and the region is green. Forage availability is above average. The sorghum harvest began last week. Cotton is progressing. The watermelon harvest continues, but yields are off as a result of heavy rains during prune the pollination period. The peach harvest is at its peak. Peanut planting ended behind schedule due to wet fields. Pecans are making excellent progress, and good yields are expected.

COASTAL BEND: Wet conditions continue to hamper harvest in most areas. Some grain sorghum fields dried enough to allow harvest to resume. Some discoloration is noticeable, but most fields have maintained above-average yields and acceptable grain quality. More rain could bring additional damage to grain and the possibility of boll rot and fruit shedding in cotton. Grazing and body condition of cattle are excellent.

SOUTH: Soil has dried. Cotton has responded well to better growing conditions and is cutting out in most fields. Sorghum harvesting resumed in most of the counties and yields have averaged very well. Excellent native range and pasture conditions remain and have been the best for summertime in recent years. Hay is cutting and baling began.

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