Texas crop, weather: Many areas backsliding into drought
COLLEGE STATION – While crops were doing reasonably well in Central Texas, much of the rest of the state is backsliding into drought pretty quickly, said a Texas AgriLife Extension Service expert.
“The area north of Waco, up through the (Dallas/Fort Worth) metroplex and a bit east of there, is in probably as good of shape as anywhere,” said Dr. Travis Miller, AgriLife Extension program leader and associate head of the Texas A&M University soil and crop sciences department. “Go a little south of there, into the Williamson County/Georgetown area – and it’s pretty darned dry.”
Many counties south of that area haven’t seen a rain since about May 7, Miller noted.
In many areas, including Central Texas and the Brazos County area, the cotton crop is in pretty good shape, he said.
“Right here in Brazos County, we’ve had several good rains, and we’re in good shape for the time being,” he said.
Elsewhere, it’s dry or drier, according to Miller and the U.S.
“The southern Panhandle is particularly dry. There are some areas that have had some pretty good rains — and hail — but overall it’s dry,” he said.
The western Rolling Rlains is another really dry area where it’s going to be a moisture-limited crop, Miller said.
On a positive note, wheat was ready for harvest earlier than has ever been seen before, he said. A warm winter allowed some unusually early plantings and a wet spring offset some of the higher temperatures that came later.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Texas Crop Progress and Condition report for June 24, nine percent of corn was in excellent condition, 51 percent good, 30 percent fair and 10 percent either poor or very poor.
As for cotton, five percent was rated excellent, 31 percent good, 40 percent fair and 24 percent either poor or very poor.
As for sorghum, 10 percent was in excellent condition, 47 percent good, 28 percent fair and 15 percent poor or very poor.
As much as 37 percent of pasture and rangeland was rated as being in poor or very poor condition.
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:
Central: Rain made all crops look good in many areas. Peaches and vegetables were maturing early. Wheat and oats were either grazed out or chopped for silage and not harvested for grain. Grasshoppers were damaging significant amounts of vegetation in row crops and hay fields. The forage and silage harvests were in full swing. Conditions remained steady from the previous week. Cotton looked good with low insect damage. All sunflowers were headed out and blooming.