Texas crop update: wheat below normal
North: Recent rains raised soil-moisture levels and helped recharge livestock ponds, but winds were rapidly drying out the topsoil. Unseasonably warm weather caused Bermuda grass pastures to green up, and farmers were concerned about a freeze setting it back. Rain and sunshine perked up wheat. Wheat pastures were rated in good condition, as was the wheat to be harvested as grain. Livestock producers were feeding more because winter pastures did not grow as anticipated, but hay supplies seemed to be holding up. Cattle were in fair to good condition. Feral hogs were active in all areas.
East: Winter pasture conditions improved with recent rains, and ponds were filling up. Cattle were in good condition, and hay supplies were good as well. Cattle prices remained high. Producers in some counties were taking samples for soil tests and preparing for spring fertilizer applications. Recent unseasonably warm weather resulted in some plant species to begin budding early. Ryegrass started to grow. Feral hogs continued to be a problem.
Far West: The highs were in the upper 60s to mid 70s, with lows in the upper 40s. There has been no significant, measurable precipitation since early January. With high winds and the passage of cold fronts, Presidio County remained in high alert for wildfires. Cotton growers were preparing fields for planting, and the alfalfa season will be starting soon. Though weedy, rangeland and pastures were in fair condition for this time of year.
West Central: Dry, windy conditions continued. Daytime temperatures were mild; nights cold. Some areas reported scattered showers, but rainfall totals remained below average for the season. Farmers were preparing fields for planting, but the outlook for spring crops was poor due to the dry conditions. Wheat is short for this time of year. Rangeland and pastures continued to decline. Some cool-season forages were trying to grow in pastures. Producers continued supplemental feeding of livestock and were holding back on restocking herds due to the drought. Stock-water tank levels were critically low and continued to drop. The pecan harvest was completed with below average nut quality.
Central: Bermuda grass pastures were greening up very early. Producers were already grazing cattle on wheat and oat pastures. Some farmers began planting corn and sunflowers. Most finished top dressing wheat with fertilizer. Some stock-water tanks were filled by runoff. Producers hoped for colder weather to slow down small grains.