Texas crop, weather: Rice harvest sinking following wet summer

The rice harvest in East Texas is sinking, said Brenda Setliff, secretary-treasurer for the Texas Rice Improvement Association, which has offices located in the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station in Beaumont.

Rice harvesting typically begins by the end of August, Setliff said. A wetter than normal summer has caused mold in some fields.

"When it has rained as much as this year, you can't get into the fields for harvesting because you can't get the combine in or it will sink," Setliff said. "So you end up losing the whole field." She said one field is completely lodged. Lodging occurs when a rice crop is flat on the ground, a result of getting too wet. Once lodged, the rice begins to sprout.

"We were able to go into one of the fields that was lodging and get the harvest," Setliff said. "But you don't get as good of germination when it's harvested after lodging."

The following conditions were reported by Texas Cooperative Extension officials this week:

PANHANDLE: Isolated thunderstorms brought rain in amounts from a trace to 1 inch. Land preparation continues for wheat planting. Soil moisture is rated very short to adequate with most areas reporting short. Corn is rated fair to excellent with most areas reporting good. Much of the crop is in the dent stage. The silage harvest continues. Peanuts and soybeans are rated good. Sorghum is rated fair to excellent with most areas reporting good. Cotton is rated mostly fair. Range conditions continue to decline from the lack of rain. Cattle are in excellent condition.

SOUTH PLAINS: Rainfall amounts this week ranged from one-half inch to 1.5 inches with temperatures in the 90s F. Corn harvest continues, and producers reported good yields. Cotton is in fair to good condition. Grain sorghum and peanuts are in good condition. The pumpkin crop is good, and producers are preparing for harvest. The watermelon harvest continues with less than normal yields reported. Pastures and ranges are in fair to good condition. Cattle are in mostly good to excellent condition.

ROLLING PLAINS: Temperatures reached the upper 90s F to lower 100s F, and overall conditions remain good. Rainfall totals were from 2 inches to more than 3 inches. Producers are hoping that the recent rain will carry the crops to harvest. Hay baling continues. Cotton is setting bolls or shedding smaller bolls, and producers are plowing and spraying their fields. Grain sorghum has been harvested with good yields. Livestock are in good condition. Armyworms have invaded hay pastures in Parker and Wise counties.

NORTH: Soil moisture ranges from short to adequate. Corn, soybean and grain sorghum harvests continue under good weather conditions. Early reports indicate that yield from these crops will be slightly above average with some fields being excellent. Hay baling continues, and while the quality is below normal, the quantity is high. Forage crops and livestock are in fair to good condition. The cattle market was active, especially on replacement cows. Some army worms have been reported.

EAST: Weather conditions remain dry in most areas. Temperatures ranged from between the low- and mid-90s. Most areas reported an abundant harvest of poor to fair quality hay. Cattle conditions remain good. Calves are weaning and prices cows and calves were strong. There were continued reports of armyworms, and Henderson County producers began treatment. In Anderson County, the corn crop is dwindling from feral hog damage. Cotton fields that were under way during the heavy rains are a total loss. There were reports in Henderson County of pecan trees limbs breaking from heavy nut and foliage load.

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. Watermelons and onions continue being harvested. Cantaloupes suffered from the unanticipated rains and rotted in the field due to mold and wet conditions. Some grapes were salvaged after a reported loss of 100 percent in early April. Producers continue to monitor and treat for pecan weevils as needed. Long, green chilies are battling fungus.

WEST CENTRAL: Temperatures were mild, and there were some scattered showers in a few areas. Farmers began to prepare fields for fall planting. Hay cutting and baling continues, and the harvest is almost complete. Wheat planting began. Grain sorghum harvest is going well. Worms are still a concern in cotton fields, and some producers are applying a growth regulator. Range and pasture conditions are very good due to summer rains. Livestock are in good condition. The pecan crop is very good. However, scab has been a problem, and extensive damage has been reported as trees are breaking down due to weight of the pecans.

CENTRAL: Some counties received light showers. Hay yields remain high. There were reports of both good and bad yields because of flooding. Land is being prepared to plant winter grazing. Pecans are developing; however, many trees are losing branches due to the fruit load. Some armyworms were reported on pastureland.

SOUTHEAST: Wet weather slowed harvesting. It was windy, and there was as much as 3.5 inches of rain in some areas. Most of the corn has been harvested. The weather made it difficult for the rice and hay harvest. A lot of grain sorghum remains standing due to insurance claims. Grain elevators have refused the poor quality harvest, and dockage exceeds 60 percent. Grazing conditions are good. Moisture is creating more foot-rot than usual in cattle. Some pastures rated poor due to Brazos river flooding that lasted more than 45 days.

SOUTHWEST: Two to 3 inches of rain caused minor flooding in low-water crossings. Overall, the rain was generally a welcome relief. Moisture conditions are excellent with year-to-date rainfall at about 157 percent of the long-term average. Forage availability remains above average. Pecans and other horticultural crops are having above-average incidences of disease and insect problems. The corn and sorghum harvest is complete, and grape harvest is almost complete. Peanuts are making good progress. Green beans have been planted and are emerging to good plant stands. Some cabbage was replanted.

COASTAL BEND: Scattered showers this week delayed completion of the corn harvest and slowed the cotton harvest. Lint quality is declining with more rain. Hay production is on hold due to very wet conditions. Cattle prices fell.

SOUTH: Soil moisture conditions throughout the region ranged from adequate to fair. Rainfall caused complications during the end of the cotton harvest and other field operations. Corn harvesting continued and should be completed next week. Cotton continued to set bolls. All seedbed preparations for fall crops continued, and fields should be planted in the next couple of weeks. Range and pastures remain in good to excellent condition due to the scattered rainfall. Hay baling is suspended temporarily.

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