You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.
Without rain soon, spinach, other vegetable crops may be at risk
If you like leafy green vegetables, such as spinach and cabbage, you may find them to be in short supply this fall due to the drought, according to a Texas AgriLife Extension Service expert.
“The problem we’re having right now is that we’re starting to plant some of these crops like cabbage, and we’re having heck keeping it wet enough to get it up and get it growing,” said Dr. Larry Stein, AgriLife Extension horticulturist for southwestern Texas. “The other challenge we are having right now is that we don’t know how much water we’re going to have for the fall if it doesn’t rain soon.”
The Winter Garden area and surrounding region grows a wide range of vegetable crops, including onions and broccoli, Stein said. It grows most of the state’s spinach crop. Most are cool-season crops and are planted in the fall and grown under irrigation.
This year, despite the drought, many area vegetable growers had a pretty good year because no rain meant less disease pressure. That all could change with this fall’s plantings, he said.
Stein said the region did get some rain last year, but not enough to cause the rivers to run.
With recharge from the rivers and faced with heavy demands through irrigation this summer, the Edwards, Carrizo-Wilcox, and other local aquifers are all low, according to Stein.
“Basically, we’re starting to suck air from some of these wells,” he said. “We’ve got all these plans to plant, but if we don’t get some rain soon, we’re not going to have a whole lot of water to work with.”
Stein noted that the large vegetable production areas in South Texas were better off water-wise because the watersheds had been recharged there from summer storms.
AgriLife Extension district reporters compiled the following summaries:
AgriLife Extension district reporters for the Southwest District, including Wilson, Gonzales, Guadalupe, and Bexar counties, reported the drought continued with no rain forecast. Records show it has been about 70 days since the last economically significant rain in mid-June. In addition, record high temperatures of 110 degrees and high, dry winds created dust storms and aggravated the drought. The entire region remained in wildfire-alert status. Many water tanks were dry. Forage availability remained well below average for this time of the year. The cotton harvest was ongoing with excellent yields realized from fully irrigated fields. However, overall production was expected to be down significantly as most dryland and partially irrigated cotton failed. Sweet corn, recently planted for an early fall harvest, made good progress under heavy irrigation. Peanuts, pecans, and landscape nursery crops continued to make good progress wherever irrigation water was available. To save carefully developed herd genetics, ranchers reduced pasture stocking rates to the minimum and continued to provide heavy supplemental feeding.
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
Beef cattle seven-year decline ends (May 18, 2016)
Educational video for water well owners (May 18, 2016)
Free Beef Quality Assurance training set for May 25 (May 18, 2016)
Fretwell wins Region 8 high school all around rookie saddle (May 18, 2016)
Grant to restore, enhance the monarch butterfly habitat (May 18, 2016)
Grass-fed beef conference (May 18, 2016)
Gun safety and barbecue in New Braunfels (May 18, 2016)
La Vernia Poultry Judging wins state, advances to nationals (May 18, 2016)
Lawn, landscape, rainwater program May 21 in Floresville (May 18, 2016)
Lesser prairie chicken off the list (May 18, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (May 18, 2016)
Luling Foundation Field Day (May 18, 2016)
Protecting your tomatoes (May 18, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (May 18, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (May 18, 2016)
As El Nińo fades, expect warmer, drier weather says Texas A&M expert (May 11, 2016)
Floresville team wins second at state (May 11, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (May 11, 2016)
Llamas, load up! (May 11, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (May 11, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (May 11, 2016)
Transplanting mountain laurels (May 11, 2016)
2016 La Vernia Junior Livestock & Poultry Show (May 4, 2016)
Beef, forage symposium May 10 (May 4, 2016)
Cattle raisers’ crime watch (May 4, 2016)
Corn acreage increases in Texas (May 4, 2016)
Help controlling the weeds (May 4, 2016)
Krueger leads the way at La Vernia stock show (May 4, 2016)
Land Heritage nomination deadline nears (May 4, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (May 4, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (May 4, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (May 4, 2016)
May 2016 Gardening Calendar (May 1, 2016)