AgriLife agronomist: Crop prospects not good at this time
East: The region had warmer temperatures, which promoted the growth of cool-season grasses. Hay consumption decreased. Many producers continued supplemental feeding while pastures greened up. Trinity County reported many producers were out of hay, and those who had been selling extra hay earlier were now sold out. Livestock were in good condition. Farmers were planting potatoes. Fruit growers were pruning and thinning trees preparing for spring. Field preparation was increasing for vegetable planting. Feral hogs were active.
Far West: The region was warm and dry. Some counties were considering burn bans due to the dry conditions. Val Verde County had a wildfire break out on Feb. 21 on the Moody Ranch along the Rio Grande River. Approximately 1,600 acres and one structure burned. Homes and farms along San Felipe creek were in jeopardy until the Texas A&M Forest Service and local emergency management teams worked through the night into Saturday to contain it. Preparations for spring planting proceeded. Fall-planted onions came out of dormancy and were at the four-leaf stage. Cotton land was being prepared, with pre-irrigation expected to start the first week of March. Alfalfa was also coming out of dormancy, and being irrigated with return flows. Pecan growers finished hedging and started clean up. Some pecan orchards were being irrigated with return flows from the city, while other farmers were using their own wells. Cows continued to calve, and livestock producers were putting out supplemental feed and molasses.
North: With little to no recent rain, topsoil moisture was short to very short across the region. Temperatures finally rose into the upper 60s and 70s. The warming trend, along with some light fertilization, made wheat fields really green up. However, more rain was needed to aid in growth. Winter pastures, including ryegrass, also continued to improve with the sunshine. Hunt County growers were beginning to topdress their wheat with nitrogen. Titus County reported that some fruit trees were trying to bloom. The warmer temperatures also relieved stress on livestock, but there was still quite a bit of supplemental feeding. Some Kaufman County producers turned their cattle in on winter pasture even though it was not yet growing well. High feral hog activity was reported in Camp and Kaufman Counties.
Panhandle: Early in the week, temperatures were well above average, setting a few record highs for the region, then dropping to near average. No moisture was received. Soil moisture continued to be rated mostly short to very short. Producers were busy applying fertilizer, compost and some pre-emerge herbicides. Center pivots were being started throughout the region to irrigate winter wheat. Deaf Smith county reported stocker cattle placements were few and far between because of lack of rain and poor performance of winter wheat planted for grazing. Ochiltree County reported that cattle on rangeland were being supplemented, and cattle on wheat pasture were performing well due to milder weather. Cattlemen were very concerned about native grass loss and the potential for blowing dust with windy weather this spring.
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