West Texas and Coastal Bend ag producers facing challenges
Rolling Plains: High temperatures went from 10 degrees one day to 70 degrees the next. Conditions remained dry. Wheat producers continued to report emerging stands, but as soils dried out, hopes for filling in gaps in fields were diminishing. Cotton producers were wrapping up harvest. Some were very pleased with the overall performance of the crop. Pastures and rangeland were also hurt by the dry weather. Earlier moisture gave pastures a boost, but the growth spurt didn’t last long. Cold weather stressed livestock, and some producers responded by providing more supplemental feed. Others were selling calves in hopes of reducing grazing pressure on pastures. Without a good winter wheat crop, producers feared they would be feeding supplements continuously into the early summer. Lake levels continued to drop. Burn bans were in effect in several counties.
South: Cold weather continued throughout the region. In the northern part of the region, cold temperatures with freezing precipitation occurred throughout the week. Soil moisture was 60 to 100 percent short, and rangeland and pastures were in poor condition. Atascosa County livestock producers increased supplemental feeding as range and pastures were not in good condition for livestock grazing. McMullen County had a hard freeze, which heightened the risk of wildfires and increased the need for livestock supplemental feeding. Also in that area, cows were calving, and cattle were in fair to good condition. Despite cold weather, potato planting continued full swing in Frio County. In the eastern part of the region, cold to mild conditions persisted. The cold front brought only limited moisture. Additional moisture was still needed to get the planting season off to a good start. Rangeland and pastures were in fair condition, and soil moisture was 60 percent short. The western part of the district also had cold weather, with temperatures dropping to freezing or below in many counties and only traces of moisture. Despite the cold weather, Zavala County fresh market spinach was harvested. Also in Zavala County, livestock producers increased supplemental feeding of hay, cubes and protein supplements. In the southern part of the region, soil moisture was mostly 50 to 100 percent adequate. In Cameron County, land preparations for spring planting continued, vegetable crops were maturing, onions were progressing well and sugarcane was normal with a good supply of moisture in soil. In Hidalgo County, the harvesting of sugarcane, citrus and vegetables continued. Early corn crops were also being planted in that county. In Starr County, fall vegetable crops were progressing well.