Torrential rain benefits crops in Texas
East: Most counties received as much as 4 inches of much-needed rain. Producers were preparing for hay season; many were applying fertilizer while others were cleaning up fields, cutting ryegrass hay and applying weed controls. Winter forages such as ryegrass and clovers were in seed stage as warm-season forages finally came on strong. However, producers continued to bale winter forages due to hay shortages the past couple of years. Commercial onion, vegetable, corn and watermelon crops all looked good. Area row-crop farmers were seeing great growth in cultivated vegetables. Many of the crops were already starting to flower and produce. Henderson County producers continued evaluating the impact of the late frost in April. Cattle were in good condition. Wood County livestock producers continued to provide some supplemental feed. Spring calving was mostly completed except for late calves. Feral hogs were active.
Far West: Winds above 50 mph coupled with dry conditions made for extremely high wildfire danger. Cooler temperatures earlier in the week gave way to highs topping 100 degrees. Some light and spotty precipitation was quickly dried out by the high winds. Farmers continued to prepare to plant cotton. Sunflower planting was expected to be completed soon. Landowners continued to provide supplemental feed for livestock and wildlife. They were also finishing shearing and expected to begin shipping animals soon.
North: Topsoil moisture ranged from short to adequate after the region received 2 or more inches of rain. Highs were in the upper 80s, with wind speeds 20-25 mph. Windy weather during much of the month dried out soil moisture, so the rain was much needed. The higher day and night temperatures also caused winter pastures to decline. Producers were harvesting excess ryegrass for hay. Pastures were in fair condition. In Kaufman County, winter ryegrass and wheat headed out. Collin County reported that their wheat is about 75 to 80 percent headed out. Corn and sunflowers were in good condition throughout the region. Bermuda grass and bahia grass was actively growing. Livestock were in good condition. Camp and Kaufman counties reported feral hog damage. Titus County reported increased fly populations and lots of buttercup weeds.
Panhandle: The region continued to be hot, dry and windy. Soil moisture was mostly very short. Producers were planting, irrigating and trying to stop soils from blowing. Wheat condition varied by county. In Deaf Smith County, wheat deteriorated further, with many fields being harvested as silage or hay. Other farmers continued to irrigate fields in an effort make a grain crop. Hansford County reported irrigated wheat was fair to good, while Wheeler County reported it as a loss. Farmers were planting corn at a rapid pace. Many producers were turning on center pivots immediately after planting to get the crop established. Growers were just starting to plant cotton as they finished planting corn. Rangeland was in very poor condition, and grazing was not an option for most. Supplemental feeding of cattle was ongoing. The danger of wildfire remained high.