Drought further recedes but winter wheat challenged in areas
Panhandle: Temperatures were all over the place, below average early in the week, near average in mid-week and above normal by the weekend. Soil-moisture levels continued to be mostly short to very short. Hansford County reported 2 inches of snow Jan. 11. The cotton harvest was completed. Irrigated wheat was in fair to good shape. Rangeland and pastures were in very poor to poor condition, with most counties reporting very poor. Cattle were in fair condition with continued supplemental feeding.
Rolling Plains: Dry, windy conditions continued. The cotton harvest was nearly completed, and farmers were plowing fields and cutting stalks. Livestock producers were providing heavy supplemental feeding to cattle. Most early planted wheat had emerged but needed rain. Cattle already grazing wheat were doing well. Rangeland and pastures were in fair to good condition. The need for runoff water to replenish tanks and ponds was ongoing.
South: Cold temperatures continued, with light drizzly rain occurring in some counties. Freezing temperatures took a toll on rangeland and pastures in some areas. Throughout most of the region, livestock producers continued supplemental feeding of cattle on native range and pastures that had dormant forages. The northern counties of the region reported milder temperatures short soil-moisture levels for the past week. Frio County potato growers began planting. In Live Oak County, winter wheat was progressing well, though some fields showed iron deficiencies. Cattle body condition scores remained fair. In Jim Wells County, soil moisture conditions were good for this time of the year. Crop producers expected to start planting mid-February. In the western counties, the weather was much colder. A hard freeze took what little perennial grass remained in Dimmit County rangeland. Webb County reported temperatures in the mid 30s early in the week accompanied with light rain. Freezing temperatures were also reported in the Zapata County area, where dry conditions prompted producers with irrigation capabilities to water cabbage, spinach and onions. Fresh market spinach harvesting was also active in that county in response to market demands. In the southern part of the region, citrus harvesting continued in the Hidalgo County area. Starr County reported freezing temperatures, but fortunately, winter vegetables were not affected by the freeze. Willacy County got lots of rain along with the cold weather. Wet field conditions there prevented sorghum producers from starting planting.
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