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Agriculture Today

Snow, ice, rain a good thing for winter pastures, wheat

Snow, ice, rain a good thing for winter pastures, wheat
Snow is usually a once-in-a-lifetime event for most livestock in East Texas. Though snow and cold weather increases the need for supplemental feeding of livestock, the January 2011 snowstorm was generally a good thing because it brought moisture after an unusually dry fall and early winter, according to Texas AgriLife Extension Service personnel.

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January 18, 2011
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Though a hardship for drivers, the rain and snow that came to parts of Texas Jan. 9 was mainly good news for winter pastures, according to Texas AgriLife Extension Service personnel.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Jan. 9 event, whether it came as snow or rain, equaled from about 1 inch to 1.5 inches of moisture for South Texas and parts of the state east of I-45. On Jan. 10, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration archives show another 0.5 to 1 inch for East Texas.

“The recent snow and ice is a positive thing for our pastures and our soil moisture profile because we’ve been so dry this early fall and winter,” said Dr. Vanessa Corriher, AgriLife Extension forage specialist based in East Texas.

Much of East Texas remains moisture-short, however, said Randy Reeves, AgriLife Extension agent for Harrison County. Reeves said that because producers in his county have had to buy hay for the last several months, any moisture was certainly welcome.

Purely from an agronomic standpoint, the cold weather is a plus, Corriher said. Cold weather means the moisture will be absorbed into soil rather than evaporate.

“The majority of that moisture is going to seep slowly down into our soils,” she said. “It’s an overall good thing to have this snow and ice, even for producers who didn’t plant winter pastures.”

AgriLife Extension district reporters compiled the following summaries:

AgriLife Extension district reporters for the Coastal Bend District, including Karnes County, reported that rain provided much needed moisture for low ponds and struggling winter pastures. Farmers and ranchers put spring-wheat planting on hold, waiting on more moisture. Livestock producers continued to supplement cattle with hay and protein.

Compiled from Texas A&M University and Texas AgriLife Extension Service reports.

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