You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.
Is your cup of La Niña half empty or half full?
COLLEGE STATION -- Recent predictions by the National Weather Service of a 50-percent chance there will be another La Niña in the southern Pacific Ocean this fall can be taken two ways -- with optimism or pessimism, said Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas A&M University professor and Texas state climatologist. Some may view the prediction with a sense of gloom, but before they get too pessimistic, they should remember the Weather Service is saying there’s “only” a 50-percent chance, Nielsen-Gammon said.
The contribution of the very strong La Niña pattern of mid-2010 to the worst drought in Texas history continues to be felt throughout the state, according to Texas AgriLife Extension Service personnel reports.
“To look on the optimistic side, there is an equal 50-percent chance of having no La Niña at this time,” he said. “And even if there is a moderate La Niña, it doesn’t necessarily mean we will definitely have a dry winter again, it just means it will be more likely.”
It’s also important to remember that the large computer models used by the Weather Service are predicting “a weak to moderate” La Niña, Nielsen-Gammon said. “Not nearly as strong as the forecasts were saying at this time last year.”
In comparison, the La Niña that developed in mid-2007 and lasted into 2009 was a moderate one, and though it was associated with a dry summer, it was not nearly so devastating as the current weather pattern, he said.
If you view the cup as half-empty, and assume that we will have another La Niña starting this fall, it still shouldn’t herald as severely a dry year as what we’re currently experiencing, he said.
But, Nielsen-Gammon warned, better than worst doesn’t guarantee the hardship the agricultural sector is experiencing will just go away. Abnormal La Niña or not this fall, a second year of even moderate drought would leave many water supplies in even worse shape.
“We already have had an extremely dry year, so we should see more precipitation next year, but there is still a very good chance it won’t be good enough to take us out of the drought, and we will still be having problems with dry conditions even into next summer,” he said.
AgriLife Extension district reporters compiled the following summaries:
AgriLife Extension district reporters for the Coastal Bend District, including Karnes County, reported dry and windy conditions persisted, worsening the drought. The cotton harvest continued with fair yields reported. The soybean harvest was nearly completed. Most ponds were extremely low or completely dry. Ranchers continued to supply supplemental feed and water to livestock. Large amounts of hay were being brought in from out of state. Herds were being reduced or sold out entirely.
AgriLife Extension district reporters for the Southwest District, including Wilson, Gonzales, Guadalupe, and Bexar counties, reported the region remained almost completely dry. Record high or near-record high temperatures of above 100 degrees aggravated the drought. The entire region remained in wildfire-alert status. Many stock tanks were dry and water levels of some wells were low. Forage availability remained far below average for this time of the year. The corn and sorghum harvests were finished. Peanuts, pecans, and landscape nursery crops continue to make good progress wherever irrigation water was still available. Ranchers continued to provide supplemental feeding for livestock.
Compiled from Texas A&M University and Texas AgriLife Extension Service reports.
Your Opinions and Comments
Be the first to comment on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Agriculture Today Archives
Floresville FFA teams state-bound (April 27, 2016)
Floresville FFA wins in Houston — livestock, judging, tractor restorations (April 27, 2016)
Hail damage may reduce harvest (April 27, 2016)
Karnes City Auction sale (April 27, 2016)
Land Stewardship produces a healthy Texas (April 27, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (April 27, 2016)
Pesticide class set for May 16 (April 27, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (April 27, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (April 27, 2016)
Ag program for military (April 20, 2016)
Benefit team roping in Jourdanton (April 20, 2016)
Bird feeding options (April 20, 2016)
Catfish management plan released (April 20, 2016)
County 4-H’ers place in Houston (April 20, 2016)
Guada-Coma Chapter news (April 20, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (April 20, 2016)
Regional conservation partnership (April 20, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (April 20, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (April 20, 2016)
Youth Range Workshop (April 20, 2016)
Always follow label instructions (April 13, 2016)
Chemical collection is May 11 (April 13, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (April 13, 2016)
Nixon-Smiley show produces champions (April 13, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (April 13, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (April 13, 2016)
East Central’s Patterson, Kempen, and poultry team win at SA show (April 6, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (April 6, 2016)
Pruning without painting? (April 6, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (April 6, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (April 6, 2016)
Tree grafting, pruning workshop (April 6, 2016)
Wilson County Spring Educational Program (April 6, 2016)
April 2016 Gardening Calendar (April 1, 2016)