Global surface temperatures likely to set a new record this year
Coastal Bend: Drought conditions continued to get worse with no significant rainfall recorded. In Austin County, farmers had nearly wrapped up planting corn, rice and sorghum. Cool-season grasses had not fully recovered from last year, but grazing was plentiful. In Wharton County, farmers were still planting grain sorghum. Topsoils were dried out by the windy weather. Soil temperatures were still low, making ideal cotton planting conditions weeks away, but some growers were planting while there is some soil moisture. The average soil temperature at 8 inches deep has not exceeded 59.7 degrees in the past 10 days. In Victoria County, a lack of rain and high winds were rapidly depleting topsoil moisture, undermining those crops already planted as well as permanent pastures and hay fields. In Jackson County, farmers continued to plant row crops. Most producers planted early when there was good soil moisture, and these crops were already emerging. Some were planting under marginal soil-moisture conditions hoping for a rain. Livestock producers continued to feed hay and supplements. Hay growers were fertilizing fields. In Refugio County, the weather remained dry, causing rangeland and pasture conditions to decline. Farmers were working overtime to plant corn, sorghum and cotton, trying to take advantage of what soil moisture there was.
East: Little to no rain, high winds and low moisture increased the threat of wildfires. Trees were budding out, and pollen counts were high. Livestock were in good shape, and producers were preparing for spring cattle work. Clovers and ryegrass grew as temperatures warmed up, which meant livestock producers could largely reduce supplemental feeding of cattle. Vegetable planting was slowed by dry conditions. Feral hogs were active.
Far West: Conditions were warm, windy and dry, with the danger of wildfire high and burn bans still in place. The higher elevations had cooler temperatures, with highs in the mid to upper 50s and lows dipping into the teens. In other areas, highs were in the 80s. Farmers continued preparing fields for spring planting. Alfalfa growers began taking their first cutting.
North: Soil-moisture levels were short to adequate. Some counties received 2 to 4 inches of rain. Rangeland and pastures were in fair to good condition. Winter ryegrass, wheat and oat pastures began to look better. Some producers were able to use their winter pastures for grazing. Winter wheat grew steadily and was in good condition. Corn planting was ongoing, with an estimated 25 to 30 percent of anticipated areas finished in some areas. About 10 percent of sorghum was planted. Livestock were in good condition. Feral hog activity was on the rise.