Texas crop, weather: El Niño fizzles, winter not so wet
North: Soil-moisture levels were short to adequate. Rain and runoff were needed to replenish stock ponds. All cotton was harvested. Pastures were in adequate condition, and farmers were planting either winter wheat or ryegrass. Livestock were in good condition. Some producers began feeding hay.
Panhandle: The region had above-average temperatures at the beginning of the week, but by the weekend, cooler temperatures arrived, with some areas receiving a killing freeze. No moisture was received, and soil moisture continued to be mostly short. Mild weather allowed harvesting of crops. However, very windy weather postponed some harvesting. The corn and grain sorghum harvests, and wheat planting were all ongoing. Producers with irrigation were watering wheat because of the dry weather. Wheat was in mostly fair to good condition. Rangeland and pastures were mostly in very poor to poor condition. Cattle remained in good condition, with continued supplemental feeding.
South: Soil-moisture levels were short to very short in the eastern and southern parts of the region, and short to adequate in the northern and southern counties. In the northern counties, scattered showers continued throughout the week. Rangeland and pastures were in fair to good condition but forage production remained low. Stock-tank water levels improved, and livestock were in fair condition. Peanut harvesting was ongoing, wheat and oats emerged. Peanut hay was being baled in some counties. In the eastern counties, dry weather continued. Rangeland and pastures recovered somewhat in most of the area. Another long, dry winter was expected. Corn and sorghum had matured, cotton was in fair to poor condition with 100 percent of bolls open, and sunflowers were harvested in some counties. In the western counties, rangeland and pastures improved somewhat thanks to rain the previous week. Webb County livestock producers were feeding hay, molasses and range cubes. Zavala County livestock producers had good grazing, which allowed them to reduce expensive supplemental feeding. Maverick County producers were harvesting coastal Bermuda grass hay. In Zavala County, growers were busy planting wheat, the pecan harvest was finished, and early planted cabbage made good progress. In the southern counties, soils were dry. Preparations for spring planting continued, sugarcane and citrus were being harvested, as were late-planted cantaloupes.