Texas crop, weather: El Niño fizzles, winter not so wet
South Plains: Most of the South Plains received a widespread killing freeze on Oct. 27. The region had cooler weather with scattered showers in some areas. Mitchell and Scurry counties reported from 0.6 inch and 1.25 inches of rain, but most counties remained dry. However, humidity was high in the early mornings, which delayed cotton harvesting until around noon most days. About a third of the Lubbock County cotton crop had been harvested. Yields ranged from about a half bale to four bales per acre on some irrigated fields. Many acres were zeroed-out by insurance adjusters and destroyed due to low yields as the drought continued. Winter wheat was progressing well. Rangeland and pastures were mostly in fair to good condition, but needed rain in most areas. Livestock were mostly in good condition.
Southeast: San Jacinto County farmers were planting winter wheat. Already planted wheat was 4 to 5 inches tall. Optimal soil moisture levels were expected to maintain growth. Jefferson County temperatures ranged from lows in the 70s to highs in the mid-80s. Orange County continues to have dry weather, which was good for hay harvesting, but soils drying out were a concern.
Southwest: Some counties received light showers, but more moisture was needed. Fall armyworms were a problem in pastures and small grains, but cooler temperatures were expected to considerably slow the pests’ activity. Cooler temperatures also will put many rangeland plants and grasses into dormancy. Supplemental feeding was still necessary to maintain livestock. The pecan harvest continued. Cabbages were being harvested, and spinach was planted. Oats and winter forages needed rain.
West Central: Days were warm most of the week, then weather turned cold by the weekend. Some areas had the first frost, but the freeze mostly affected only low-lying areas. The cotton harvest was in full swing. Late-planted cotton was trying to catch up. Early planted wheat was off to a good start due to recent rains. Fall planting of wheat and other small grains continued. Fall armyworms were reported in some wheat fields. Rangeland and pastures continued to improve because of warm days and recent moisture. Winter grasses were beginning to emerge, but the early light freeze set them back slightly. Livestock remained in fair to good condition, with the need for supplemental feeding lessening somewhat. The pecan harvest was under way. Some producers reported nuts have sprouted and shucks slow to split. Walnut caterpillars were reported in some orchards.