COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — The following reports were compiled by AgriLife Extension Service for the week of May 15:
Central: From 0.5 inch to 2.7 inches of rain was reported in some areas. Pastures were being overgrazed due to the drought. Producers were taking their first hay cutting of winter pastures early to allow summer grasses to come on. Corn had been growing extremely fast, but cooler weather then slowed development. The harvesting of wheat and oats was expected to begin soon. Corn and grain sorghum continued to improve. Grasshoppers were expected to be bad again this year.
Coastal Bend: Recent rains improved crop prospects. There was some localized hail damage. Cooler temperatures delayed cotton development. Some producers took their first hay cutting of winter grasses. Weekend rains were expected to improve soil-moisture levels.
East: Most counties received rain, with some getting as much as 5 inches. Runoff helped replenish ponds. High winds dried out soils in some areas. Producers continued controlling weeds and applying fertilizer. Many producers were able to apply fertilizers prior to recent rains. The first hay cutting was made in some areas with excellent yields. Below-average temperatures caused various degrees of plant damage. Producers were working cattle. The horn fly population increased. Feral hog damage to vegetable fields increased.
Far West: Parts of the area received from 0.5 to 1 inch of rain, which was not enough to make much difference to the overall agricultural outlook at this point. Days were warm and nights cool. Perennial grasses began to show some green at the base in some areas, but most looked completely dormant. Farmers continued to get fields ready to plant cotton.
North: Soil-moisture levels were short to adequate. Winter wheat was in really good condition. Oats looked fair to good. Ryegrass was maturing, forming seed heads, while summer grasses were greening up. All corn was planted, emerged and in fair to good condition. Early planted corn had a slight set back due to a late freeze, but recovered and looked good. Sorghum was in fair to good condition, and about 50 percent of cotton was planted. Rice was in very poor condition. Livestock across the region were in good condition, with calves growing at a good rate as they took full advantage of spring grazing. First hay cuttings were ongoing. Winter pastures continued to flourish with adequate moisture and cool evenings. Some ponds were very low, however, and more rain was needed. The fly population was on the rise.
Panhandle: Most of the region received some moisture late in the week. Amounts ranged from a trace to 3 inches in some isolated areas. Soil-moisture levels were mostly very short to short. Producers continued to assess freeze damage done to wheat in the last six weeks. Insurance adjusters were trying to get an accurate estimate on the total damage. Most remaining wheat was in very poor condition. Some producers were planting corn and/or cotton, but many were waiting on warmer growing conditions. Early corn plantings began to emerge with some damage from the May 2-3 freezes apparent. Rangeland and pastures were mostly in very poor to poor condition.
Rolling Plains: Spring finally arrived with temperatures reaching into the high 80s to low 90s. All crops were severely stressed due to lack of moisture, though pastures and rangeland were in fair condition. However, without any adequate moisture producers feared grazing would run out very quickly. A lot of wheat was being baled for hay. One AgriLife Extension county agent reported producers selling truckloads of hay at $180 per ton. Cotton farmers continued to prepare fields for planting, but with dry conditions they were not optimistic about this year's crop. Soil moisture levels remained very low, even after the light rains of the past few weeks.
South: The northern part of the region received rain, but soil-moisture levels remained mostly short to very short. The exceptions were Atascosa and Frio counties with 50 percent adequate levels, where rangeland and pastures were slightly improved. Potato harvesting began in Frio County, as well as sweet corn, oats and wheat harvesting preparations. Supplemental feeding continued at a steady pace in that area. The western part of the region remained dry with soil-moisture levels short to very short. In the more southern counties, soil-moisture levels continued to be short to very short, except for Willacy County where they were 75 percent adequate thanks to recent rains. Drought continued to deteriorate range and pastures. In Webb County, as in other counties, livestock producers continued culling herds. Most stock tanks there were completely or almost dry, and wildlife were migrating to other areas in search of water. In Zavala County, producers continued irrigating corn, cabbage, cotton, melon, sorghum and some wheat. Also there, the onion harvesting was very active. In Jim Wells County, crop-insurance adjusters estimated that more than 90 percent of the grain sorghum, corn and cotton were a total loss. Only a few early-planted cornfields had a chance of making a crop, depending on additional moisture. However, soil-moisture levels in Jim Wells County currently were 100 percent adequate because of good rains over the past couple of weeks. In Cameron County, early-planted cotton crops were blooming, and some insect activity was reported. Grain sorghum was in good condition there, and corn was silking. In Starr County, irrigated row crops improved and vegetable harvesting was ongoing.