West Texas and Coastal Bend ag producers facing challenges
Coastal Bend: Many counties reported very little moisture, but most of the district had two days of freezing temperatures. Cold weather prompted heavier feeding of cow/calf herds. Livestock producers continued to feed hay and protein supplements. Crop producers were hoping for rain to replenish subsoil and topsoil moisture. One county reported cranes were putting “grazing pressure” on emerged wheat, but the crop appeared to be doing well otherwise. Geese were a problem on ryegrass. Matagorda County reported some rain, which helped replenish topsoil moisture. Most row crop fields were ready to plant.
East: The southern part of the region reported ice and snow with accumulations of 2 to 4 inches. The northern part of the region only saw snow flurries, but the entire region had extremely cold temperatures. Ice damaged winter forages or slowed their growth. However, the melting of the ice and snow helped soil moisture in the southern counties. Soils in the northern counties were drying out. Field preparations for vegetable planting continued. Many producers had already planted potatoes, onions and winter vegetables. Livestock herds were in good condition and calving. Producers were feeding hay and supplements.
Far West: A cold front brought low temperatures into the teens and highs in the upper 30s to low 40s. The region remained dry with strong winds late in the week. The winds dried out what little topsoil moisture was left. The pecan harvest was nearly finished and growers were hedging orchards. Some pecan farmers were irrigating. Cattle conditions were stable as producers provided supplemental feed as well as large amounts of minerals.
North: After no rain for 10 days, the region was becoming a little dry. The weather was sporadic, with morning temperatures in the low 20s and 30s to daytime highs in the 60s and 70s. Windy weather associated with another arctic front further dried out soils. Most winter crops were in full production and decent looking. However, pastures and small grains could have used rain. Livestock were doing well for the most part across the region. Titus County reported livestock were stressed by lower-than-normal temperatures. Supplement feeding of livestock continued across the region. Camp County reported damage from feral hog activity.
Panhandle: Temperatures began cold and windy, then warmed to above average by the weekend. Northern counties in the district reported some precipitation, but soil moisture continued to be mostly very short to short. Farmers were actively irrigating on warm days. Irrigated wheat was mostly in fair to good condition. Winter wheat continued to struggle because of no moisture in much of the region; some producers were trying to irrigate wheat for pasture. Deaf Smith County producers were trying to decide what to do with the upcoming dry spring. They were talking of possibly planting more cotton and dryland grain sorghum. Rangeland and pastures were in very poor to poor condition with most counties reporting very poor. Dallam and Hartley counties reported ongoing problems with tumbleweeds. The tumbleweed problem was expected to last for some time. County road crews were staying busy keeping rural roads open so residents could get to their homes and care for livestock. Supplemental feeding of livestock continued.