Texas crop update: wheat below normal
But a lot of wheat is his area is “just hanging on,” and needs a good rain.
“You can have wheat that doesn’t look very good, but we can pick up a rain in March and then again in April and be very surprised of how productive it can be,” Trostle said.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, about 75 percent of the state remained under severe to extreme drought.
More information on the current Texas drought and wildfire alerts can be found on the AgriLife Extension Agricultural Drought Task Force website at http://agrilife.tamu.edu/drought/.
AgriLife Extension district reporters compiled the following summaries for the week of Feb. 12-19:
Panhandle: Most of the region received much-needed moisture in the form of snow, from a trace up to 8 inches. Soil-moisture levels varied from very short to adequate, with most counties reporting short. Wheat was in from very poor to excellent condition, with most counties reporting poor. Many producers started pivot irrigating wheat to realize some grazing. Rangeland and pastures were in very poor to fair condition, with most reporting poor to very poor. Stocker cattle numbers were low because of limited grazing. Feed costs continued to increase, and producers further reduced livestock herds.
South Plains: Most counties reported some precipitation, from a trace to 1 inch of rain, with as much as 4 inches of snow in some northern counties. While the moisture was helpful, most dryland winter wheat remained in poor condition and in need of moisture. Irrigated wheat was in fair condition. Daily temperatures in some counties were in the 70s already, with most averaging in the 50s and 60s. A rapidly moving cold front reduced the highs to the 30s and 40s for a couple of days. Producers were getting ready for spring planting. Some were applying herbicides to reduce pigweed populations in the spring. Pastures and rangeland were dry and mostly in fair to poor condition. Ranchers had reduced stocking rates in the past couple of years and were expected to continue to do so if there is no rain by spring. Livestock were in mostly fair to good condition with supplemental feeding continuing, especially on cold and wet days.
The 12 Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Districts
Rolling Plains: Although parts of the region received rain this past week, soil-moisture levels remained relatively low, and more moisture was needed for pastures to recover from the drought. Some producers recently cleaned out dirt tanks or ponds and reported finding moisture down to 2 feet, but dry dirt below that. Grazing was running low, but livestock were in fair condition. Producers were running cattle on winter wheat, but without moisture, this year’s wheat crop won’t last long. Livestock inventories were considerably lower than in previous years, but ranchers were not planning to restock due to lack of grazing and cattle prices. Supplemental feeding included syrup tubs. Native rangeland and pastures were in poor to very poor condition. Farmers began preparing fields for the upcoming crop year and found adequate soil-moisture levels but worried they would drop with spring planting. Some counties remained under strict water-conservation measures.
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