Farm and Ranch
Texas Crop and Weather Report June 12, 2018
By Adam Russell, Texas A&M
Jun 13, 2018
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AgriLife Extension district reporters compiled the following summaries:

CENTRAL: Dry conditions continued, however, some isolated showers occurred. More rain was needed. Dry conditions caused stunted growth of grain sorghum, and corn was without ears in some areas. Wheat harvest was starting to wrap up with great yields. Cattle remained in good condition. Stock tanks and river water levels were dropping. Most counties reported good soil moisture. Overall crop rangeland and pasture conditions were good.

ROLLING PLAINS: Days were hot and windy. However, rain was reported in the latter part of the reporting period in some areas with amounts ranging from a trace to 1.5 inches, which improved pasture conditions for grazing. Producers were still supplementing feed up to four times a week. Hay harvest continued with below average yields. Most wheat was harvested, and cotton planting was in full swing. More rain was needed across the entire district.

COASTAL BEND: Soil moisture was very short, leaving most areas in drought. All crops were suffering from lack of moisture, with some fields completely burned up. Cotton was blooming, and farmers were irrigating fields where possible. Grain sorghum was coloring. Yield reductions were expected. The first hay cutting was small and pastures already appeared scorched. Livestock remained in fair condition. Local auctions were reflecting larger sales volumes due to costs and availability of supplemental feed. Some producers were considering early weaning and culling of livestock.  

EAST: Most of the district had not received substantial rainfall amounts for several weeks, which caused visible signs of plant stress and decreased production. Angelina, Gregg, Harrison, Panola and Wood were the only counties that reported any rainfall. Cherokee County reported drought conditions were causing pastures and hay meadows to show signs of stress and surface water to dry up. Harrison County reported the first hay cutting was complete, and most fields produced about 60 percent of normal yields. Many Cherokee County producers were purchasing hay from other areas. Anderson County reported hay was cut and baled with yields around 2-2.25 round bales per acre. Jasper County reported growing conditions were excellent. Pasture and rangeland conditions were fair to good in some counties with Anderson, Cherokee, Tyler, Shelby and Smith counties reporting very poor conditions. Anderson County reported corn, soybeans and grain sorghum all needed rain, and peas, potatoes, beans, onions, squash, tomatoes, melons, blueberries, blackberries and peaches were all being harvested. Marion County producers with gardens had to water and some have lost gardens due to the lack of rain. Anderson County pecan trees looked good with a moderate to heavy crop and pecan scab was under control. Subsoil moisture conditions in Houston, Shelby and Tyler counties were very short. Cherokee, Harrison, Smith, Jasper, Marion and Gregg counties all reported short subsoil conditions. Harrison, Rusk, Marion and Smith counties all reported short topsoil conditions. Topsoil conditions in Cherokee, Houston, Shelby, Gregg and Tyler counties were all very short. Livestock were in fair to good condition throughout the district. Gregg County reported cattle prices held steady at the local sale barn. Feral hog activity was high in Anderson and Wood counties while Anderson and Houston counties reported ever-increasing numbers of horn flies. Gregg County producers applied herbicides to pastures.  

SOUTH PLAINS: The district received 0.5-2.75 inches of rain, depending on the location. The rain should give dryland cotton seeds the push needed to emerge. Some areas were still in a severe drought. The deadline for cotton planting for federal insurance passed, and producers, especially those farming dryland, were forced to make decisions about what and when to plant. Row-crop producers finished initial planting stages and were possibly facing replant due to the dry conditions. Many acres of cotton were not expected to emerge because of drought. Farmers were hustling to get sorghum, cane and haygrazer planted. Growers were sand-fighting to combat the high winds and temperatures. Pasture, rangeland and winter wheat needed additional rain. Ranchers were looking to sell cows because pastures were in poor condition. Cattle body condition scores were good.

PANHANDLE: Conditions were hot and windy. Temperatures continued to be above average. Moore County was very hot with three days at 100 degrees. Soil moisture continued to be short to very short. Moisture was needed throughout the district. Scattered moisture was received, but amounts were limited. Wheat in Ochiltree County was ripening at a rapid rate. Winter wheat harvest was right around the corner with many dryland fields more than ready, and yields were expected to be very low. Cotton was planted and emerging with irrigated fields coming along great with the high number of heat units. A small rain event in Hall County was expected to help dryland cotton emerge, but more moisture will be needed to allow fields to progress and finish. Dryland sorghum planting started. Corn with irrigation progressed quickly. Pasture and cattle conditions were holding, but conditions were expected to decline without rain.

NORTH: Topsoil and subsoil moisture levels ranged from mostly adequate to short across the counties. Temperatures were above average along with high humidity. Some counties received 1.5-3 inches of much-needed rain. Wheat and oat harvests continued. Wheat farmers reported 40-70 bushels per acre, and oat farmers reported yields of 50-70 bushels per acre. Corn, cotton and soybeans were doing well with no reports of disease or pest problems. Corn exited the vegetative growth stage and was in the reproductive stage. Pastures looked good and warm-season grasses were doing well. Livestock were in great condition, but insect populations increased, which added stress to livestock. Feral hog activity was light.

FAR WEST: Temperatures ranged from highs over 100 degrees to lows in the 70s. A few areas of the district received from a trace to 2.25 inches of rain. Severe drought conditions continued through a majority of the district. Fires and wind in the area were still a concern. Irrigated crops struggled to emerge, including irrigated cotton. Almost no dryland cotton had emerged, and the crop needed a significant rain to start and more to stay alive. Corn was barely hanging on, but pollination was underway. Sorghum and melons were struggling. Pecan and other fruit trees needed water. A second round of pecan nut casebearer traps were placed to track any post-treatment infestations. Young pecan trees needed foliar applications of zinc. Lawns and gardens needed additional water, and AgriLife Extension agents were recommending growers take soil samples for nutritional deficiencies and to assess possible fertilizer applications.

WEST CENTRAL: Conditions were hot and dry with isolated thunderstorms. Rainfall amounts ranged from traces up to 3 inches. Some wind and hail damage was reported. Wheat harvest neared completion with below-average yields. Cotton planting was underway. Some of the early planted sorghum was flowering. Corn looked good and was tasseling. Rangeland and pastures were in fair to good condition. Livestock water sources were getting critically low in some areas. Some livestock producers were hauling water for livestock. Pastures were getting really short, and ranchers started to sell older cows in some parts of the district.

SOUTHEAST: Conditions were hot and dry, with parts of the district receiving spotty showers, which provided temporary relief for crops. Livestock were in fair to good condition with some producers already feeding hay. Pastures and crops were stressed due to high temperatures and dry conditions. Soil moisture levels were holding even with the limited amount of moisture received. Rangeland and pasture ratings varied from excellent to very poor with fair ratings being most common. Soil-moisture levels ranged from adequate to very short with short being most common.

SOUTHWEST: Extremely hot and dry weather depleted soil moisture levels significantly. There was still forage available, however it was rapidly becoming limited. Some counties were under a burn ban. Corn was declining fast. Sorghum needed rain. Soybean fields will likely not reach their potential plant height or yield without rain.

SOUTH: Hot, dry weather conditions continued short to very short moisture levels. Most of the district reported very short moisture conditions. There were no reports of rain. All field crops were under irrigation, and hay was being cut and baled. Some livestock producers started feeding hay, and hay prices were increasing. Chipper potato and food corn harvests continued. Peanut planting continued and should be completed soon. Pasture and rangeland conditions continued to decline due to lack of rainfall and high temperatures. Body condition scores on cattle remained mostly fair. Crops like Coastal Bermuda grass, watermelons, cantaloupes and onions irrigated by canal systems were in good condition. Irrigated sorghum and cotton made good progress. Corn planted early was approaching maturity. There were more reports of failed sorghum fields, and in most cases those fields were being baled for livestock feed. Dryland cotton needed water, and yields were expected to be impacted. Onion harvest was completed in some areas. Stock tanks were empty and pastures were in poor condition in Kleberg and Kennedy counties. Extremely high temperatures and drought conditions in some parts of the district were stressing improved pastures and native rangeland. Producers provided supplemental feed in some areas. In Hidalgo County, citrus harvest was complete, and sunflower and onion harvests were winding down. Watermelon harvest was very active.