AgriLife agronomist: Crop prospects not good at this time
Rolling Plains: Daytime temperatures were in the 60s and 70s with plenty of sunshine. Farmers took advantage of the weather by preparing fields for the upcoming crop year. Those cultivating and listing fields noticed that subsoil moisture content was higher than expected thanks to the snow and rain during the winter months. However, soil moisture was extremely variable, with some no-till fields showing moisture to four feet deep, while pasture soils were only moist to about 6 inches deep. The rain and snow helped pastures and rangeland, but with dry and windy conditions, growth slowed. With minimal winter wheat, livestock producers were providing supplemental feed to cattle daily. Livestock were in fair to good condition. Some producers were shipping calves to take advantage of the high cattle prices as well as to relieve grazing pressure on pastures. Ponds and lakes still needed runoff.
South: Without rain soil moisture continued to decline. Winds further contributed to the drying of rangeland and pastures. In the northern parts of the region, soil moisture was short to very short. Some pastures greened up as soil temperatures rose but were held back from lack of moisture. In Frio County, potato planting was completed, early corn planting began, and irrigated wheat and oats continued to develop. In Live Oak County, oats and winter wheat were in good condition. In McMullen County, livestock producers were providing supplemental feed at a steady pace, and cattle body condition scores remained in fair condition. In the western part of the region, soil moisture continued to decline with not much spring greening of native rangeland and pastures. Oats in Maverick County were still green. In Zavala County, the cabbage and spinach harvests were ongoing, onions, oats and wheat responded well to irrigation, and late spinach planting was finished. In Webb County, ranchers were considering restocking cattle, but as the cost of replenishing herds remained high, they were waiting to see how the market will do in the next few months. Also in that county, stock-tank water levels — already lower than normal for this time of year — continued to decline. In Zapata County, dry pastures and brushy areas posed a fire hazard. A shortage of forage availability increased supplemental feeding of livestock in Zavala County. In Starr County, onions were progressing well, spring planting was underway and supplemental feeding continued. There was not much field activity reported in other counties in the southern part of the region.
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