Texas crop, weather: Winter wheat crop in trouble
South Plains: The region had much cooler temperatures, with the early morning lows in the 20s in many counties. With freezing temperatures in the southern counties, cotton not previously defoliated was expected to soon be ready for harvest. Only Lubbock County reported receiving any precipitation, with light rains on Nov. 18. The cotton harvest was winding down in most counties, giving time for producers who haven’t yet planted winter wheat to do so. Wheat already planted and emerged needed rain. In Lubbock County, ginning was about 50 percent completed. Garza County yields ranged from a half bale to more than three bales per acre, depending on rain received during the growing season. Rangeland and pastures were mostly in fair condition. Cattle were mostly in good condition, with supplemental feeding already beginning in some areas. While conditions were improved over 2011, the region remained gripped by drought. It was unlikely much winter wheat will have enough growth to be grazed without significant rainfall soon.
Southeast: Scattered showers benefited cool-season pastures, but many areas needed more moisture to sustain winter-annual growth. Cooler temperatures halted Bermuda grass growth. San Jacinto and Burleson counties had their first frost Nov. 15, which completely shut down warm-season perennial grass production. Armyworm infestations decreased with the cooler weather. Orange County received limited precipitation.
Southwest: Dry, windy and cooler conditions continued. Without rain, soils were drying up considerably. Rangeland and pastures continued to decline, with dormancy coming on. However, livestock remained in good condition as available grazing was still plentiful. The pecan harvest continued. Winter wheat planting was ongoing, and a good amount of hay was still being cut.
West Central: Mild daytime temperatures continued with cold nights. Very dry, windy conditions further dried soils. All areas needed rain. The cotton harvest was winding down. Fair to poor yields were reported on dryland cotton. Wheat planting neared completion, and though off to a good start, the crop was showing signs of moisture stress. Rangeland and pastures were in fair to good condition but needed moisture soon. Winter grasses were emerging. Recent freezes sent warm-season grasses into dormancy. Livestock remained in fair to good condition, with supplemental feeding increasing. The pecan harvest was in full swing.