Jack Frost continues to take bites out of Texas wheat
South: The region had mild temperatures. The northern counties reported 50 to 70 percent short soil moisture levels. The eastern, western and southern counties had 40 to 100 percent very-short soil moisture levels. Throughout the region, livestock producers continued to reduce herds as rangeland and pastures were not recovering. In Frio County, potato, corn and wheat were developing well under irrigation; cotton planting continued and sorghum planting was complete. In McMullen County, forages continued to decrease in quality and quantity, supplemental feeding of livestock was heavy, and cattle body condition stores further declined. In Jim Wells County area, the few crops that emerged were showing signs of moisture stress. Other crops had not yet emerged at all. The drought was also taking a toll on wildlife in many areas in the region. In Maverick County, winter wheat was 100 percent emerged and in good condition. In Zavala County area, corn, onion, cotton, sorghum and cabbage producers continued to irrigate. Also in that area, producers reported wheat being 20 to 25 days from maturity. In the Cameron County area, irrigation water restrictions are taking place in selected water districts. In Hidalgo County, citrus and vegetable harvesting continued, and many acres of various crops and pastures were stressed as a result of the lack of water for irrigation. Many acres of both dryland and irrigated crops were expected to fail. In Starr County, growers were preparing to harvest onions. In Willacy County, many crops did not emerge. Early-planted sorghum did emerge, but stands were very spotty.
South Plains: Continued severe drought with high winds and three late season freezes damaged developing wheat. In some counties, the freeze damage was severe, while in others it was surprisingly been less than expected. Most wheat will either be cut for hay, grazed or killed and put in cotton or sorghum. Some counties reported Russian wheat aphids in fields. Producers began pre-plant irrigation along with fertilizer and herbicide applications. Temperatures were all across the board with highs one day in the 90s and lows the next into the 20s. There was no measurable precipitation. Rangeland and pastures were in fair condition, as were livestock with supplemental feeding on cool/cold days.
Southeast: The last very late frost was of concern for wheat growers. Annual forages are showing good growth in response to recent rains. Madison County continued to have good rains, and pastures grasses were growing well in many areas. Walker County needed more rain though pastures were currently alright. Burleson County reported below-average temperatures slowed the development of warm-season pastures. In Chambers County, rice producers were waiting on fields to dry out before planting. Without further rains, they expect to get back in fields next week. Forage growth was rapid in Orange County. The weather has been diverse, with rain and high humidity followed by a front that brought cooler temperatures and sunny conditions.