Grasshoppers break out — but not as much as 2011
Rolling Plains: Western parts of the region received from 3 to 6 inches of rain. Motley County also received hail and damaging winds that downed power lines and overturned pivot systems. Although the storms caused considerable damage to crops, they benefited pastures and rangeland. Stock-water ponds were filled and pastures were greener than they have been for more than two years. Sudan grass began to look very good, improving enough that some producers were already grazing it to allow pastures to rest and recover. Low lake levels remained a major concern in some areas. The wheat harvest was completed. Producers reported yield reductions of 10 to 70 percent due to earlier freeze damage. Cattle were generally in good shape, with rangeland and pastures in mixed condition depending on stocking rates and rain. Cattlemen were able, however, to ease up on supplemental feeding. Parker County reported that grasshoppers were starting to damage some pastures, and a few producers were already spraying.
South: Soil-moisture levels varied across the region. Atascosa and Frio counties reported 100 percent adequate soil moisture; Jim Wells County, 75 percent adequate; Dimmit and Maverick counties, 80 percent adequate; and Zavala County, 100 percent adequate. Other counties’ soil moisture ranged from short to very short. In Frio County, peanut growers were planting, corn was maturing and sorghum was turning color. McMullen County rangeland and pastures improved but were still poor in many fields because of the drought and overgrazing. However, ranchers were able to reduce supplemental feeding, and cattle body condition scores were mostly good. Duval County reported crops were not well-rooted and showed signs of stress because of very high temperatures. Jim Wells County also reported heat and moisture stress on range, pastures and other vegetation. Producers there were harvesting hay. In Zavala County, rangeland and pasture conditions continued to improve. As a result of good grazing, supplemental feeding of livestock ceased or was greatly reduced. Also in that county, cotton, sorghum, corn and other crops were doing well, and the onion harvest resumed. In Webb County, supplemental feeding also declined, but livestock producers were still waiting for an alleviation of drought conditions before restocking herds. In Cameron County, some producers were harvesting grain sorghum, cotton was setting bolls and irrigation was active. In Hidalgo County, producers were harvesting grain sorghum.