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Agriculture Today

Rain may salvage some plantings east of I-45, other areas stressed

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April 27, 2011 | 3,487 views | Post a comment

COLLEGE STATION -- Parts of East Texas and the Coastal Bend received from 1 inch to 1.5 inches of rain on April 4, but the rest of the state got only high winds and cooler temperatures, according to the National Weather Service.

With few exceptions, mainly along the Gulf Coast, the rain did little to roll back the severe to extreme drought conditions hammering the growth of small grains, and pasture and rangeland grasses, said Texas Agrilife Extension Service personnel.

However, in some situations, the rain may have come at just the right time to salvage recently emerged corn and give some hope for wheat to be harvested for grain, AgriLife Extension county agents reported.

The central region remained extremely dry. All tree varieties were showing extreme drought stress, and pecans were budding late. Warm weather forced wheat and oats to begin heading. High winds robbed what was left of topsoil moisture. Rainfall was needed to prevent widespread crop failures and grazing reductions.

There was almost no rain throughout February and March in the coastal bend region. Field crops emerged and needed rain. Dry soils prevented some farmers from planting the rest of their crop. Some were cultivating grain sorghum and cornfields. Warm-season grasses were slow to recover from winter dormancy due to lack of rain. As winter pastures matured, they provided less forage. Some livestock producers continued to have to supply hay and supplemental feed.

In the south, rangeland and pastures, already in poor condition, worsened. A cold front made its way through the area and brought milder temperatures but no rain. Soil-moisture levels were short to very short. Livestock producers were providing supplemental feed at a steady rate.

Also, they were culling calves earlier than normal due to the declining quantity and quality of forages, and very low stock-tank water levels. Ranchers were using windmills and wells to at least provide limited water for livestock.

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

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