Texas crop, weather: Winter wheat crop in trouble
AgriLife Extension district reporters compiled the following summaries for the week of Nov. 12–19:
Central: Overall, conditions remained very dry. Pastures and small grains were beginning to show stress from lack of moisture. Winter wheat was really starting to suffer. Light frosts in the bottoms slowed summer pasture growth. Winter pastures were slow to respond to earlier rains. Stocker producers will have to delay turning out cattle to graze on wheat and oats. The pecan harvest continued, with many pecans germinating while still on the tree.
Coastal Bend: Most areas reported below-normal temperatures with very little rain. Soils remained extremely dry, which discouraged farmers from applying fertilizer. The pecan harvest was ongoing, with good quality reported. Some areas reported ryegrass, wheat, oats and clover for grazing looked very good, and that hay supplies were sufficient. The ratoon rice harvest was winding down. Field preparations for next season’s crops continued under favorable weather, but rain will be needed before planting in early 2013. In Wharton County, only 0.34 inch of rain was recorded so far for November, with only 0.43 inch in October.
East: There was little to no rainfall across most of the region, with cooler temperatures and morning frost. Hay harvesting ended, with fair to good supplies going into winter. Livestock producers continued weaning and selling market-ready calves and cull cows. Higher-than-normal winds dried soils. In some areas, winter pastures were slow to emerge and grow because of lack of moisture.
Far West: Without rain, the area was becoming droughty again. Temperatures were cooler, with lows in the lower 20s, the upper teens in the mountains, and highs in the lower 60s to 70s. There was a killing freeze. Winds picked up with the passage of cold fronts, increasing wildfire danger. A lack of rain and cooler temperatures continued to push grasses into dormancy. Without moisture, rangeland and pastures were rapidly yellowing and browning. Fall-planted onions were at the three-leaf stage. The last alfalfa cutting was taken, and the cotton harvest was going well. Pumpkins were harvested, pecans were rapidly maturing, and the hay and sorghum harvests were winding down. Wheat planting was about finished, with more than 90 percent of the already-planted crop emerged, but all needed rain for growth to begin. Cattle were on supplemental feed and consuming large amounts of mineral, and livestock producers were looking for alternatives . Most cattle remained in good shape. Calves weaned much heavier than last year, and the percentage of successfully bred cows was also much improved.