Texas crop, weather: El Niño fizzles, winter not so wet
Central: Irrigated small grains looked good, but dryland fields needed rain. Armyworms were reported in small-grain pastures. The pecan harvest began; most trees had a heavy nut load. Some producers were planting ryegrass and taking their last cutting of warm-season grass hay. Mild weather allowed all types of field work to proceed.
Coastal Bend: Bee County reported unseasonably muggy, warm weather with no rain. Pastures that received rains earlier were still growing and producing hay. Cattle numbers remained low, with continued liquidation of herds. Bee County has the lowest cattle inventories in decades. Washington County reported hay producers were harvesting the last hay cutting of the season as a cool front moved in. Warm-season grass growth was slowing down, but oats and wheat grown for grazing were doing well. Some producers were planting ryegrass. In the drier parts of the county, producers continued supplemental feeding of livestock. Pecans were maturing and some early varieties were being harvested. In Refugio County, rangeland and pastures continued to be in fair condition. The area received light showers throughout the week. In Wharton County, the cotton harvest was completed, with average yields of 2.75 bales per acre reported. Although rice acreage in the county was nearly 20,000 acres down, yields on the 27,000 acres that were planted were outstanding this year.
East: As much as 1 inch of rain fell as a cold front moved through the region. Some areas had a light frost. Producers were taking a final cutting of hay with very good yields. Cooler weather drastically slowed warm-season grass growth. Some producers struggled to find a market for surplus hay. Winter pasture planting continued, with some plantings already emerged and growing. This year, producers were planting more legumes, especially clovers. Cattle remained in good condition. Weaning and selling of market ready calves and cull cows continued. Feral hog activity increased. The pecan harvest began.
Far West: Cooler temperatures arrived, but the drought continued. There was high wildfire danger with the windy cold fronts, but the area was yet to have a freeze, and forbs and grasses were still growing. Cotton producers defoliated fields and were ready for harvest. Winter wheat and oats looked good. Those fields planted early were nearly ready to graze. Hay producers were taking a last cutting. Rangeland and pastures looked better than they have all year but could benefit from more rain before a frost. The pumpkin harvest was going strong. Some late-planted watermelons were being harvested. More pecans were splitting shucks and falling. Livestock producers were scrambling to store hay for winter. Hunters were filling feeders in anticipation of the deer season.
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