Jack Frost continues to take bites out of Texas wheat
Far West: Highs ranged from the mid 70s to upper 80s. Dry, windy conditions meant red-flag warnings for wildfire remained in effect for most of the area. Pastures suffered as the drought became more severe. Mesquite, sand sage and shin oak were greening up. Annual weeds and wildflowers were sprouting in bar ditches and low areas. Cotton growers continued planting preparations.
North: Soil moisture was adequate to surplus. Corn planting was completed except for those fields that were too wet to enter. For those fields, producers were expected to plant grain sorghum. Wheat and other small grains were doing well with recent rains. Most wheat was headed out and looked good. From 50 to 100 percent of sorghum was planted and in fair to good condition. All cotton and 40 percent of sunflowers were planted. Ryegrass and winter pastures looked good, and livestock producers were able to use them for grazing. Livestock were in good condition, though flies were becoming a problem.
Panhandle: Temperatures varied widely, from above average one day to freezing the next. Soil moisture was very short to adequate, with most counties reporting very short to short. Farmers continued preparing fields for spring planting. Corn growers planned to start planting soon, and some producers were pre-watering. Wheat was in very poor to good condition with most counties reporting poor to very poor. There were reports of wheat damaged by freezing weather throughout the region. Most producers with irrigation were shutting sprinklers down when a freeze was forecast. Several pivots in the Deaf Smith area were damaged in the last freeze, either partially falling down or totally collapsing due to the formation of ice. Greenbug pressure increased, and producers continued to monitor. Rangeland and pastures were mostly in very poor to poor condition.
Rolling Plains: Parts of the region received another freeze, with temperatures dropping into the upper 20s on April 18. AgriLife Extension agronomists held a freeze-assessment clinic in Hardeman County, and most samples showed moderate to severe freeze damage, with only a couple of samples damage-free. The freeze will no doubt result in major yield reduction and hay quality. Producers were waiting on insurance adjuster’s decisions about losses. Some producers will graze out wheat while others will bale it for hay. Cotton farmers were preparing fields for planting while waiting for warmer temperatures and more moisture. Some began pre-watering. Pastures continued to green up, but freezing temperatures also slowed grass growth and injured new leaves. Parts of the region got from 1 inch to 2 inches of rain. Beekeepers reported swarming. Producers were fertilizing and controlling weeds on Bermuda grass pastures.