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Agriculture Today

Rains help, but most of state still under severe drought

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December 7, 2011 | 2,726 views | Post a comment

Cold fronts brought rain, from a trace to 2 inches or more, to much of the state during the last part of November, according to Texas AgriLife Extension Service personnel.

As usual, when it comes to weather, there were winners and losers. East Texas, North Texas, Central Texas, and the Rolling Plains were the main beneficiaries, with the Coastal Bend, South Texas, and Far West Texas regions being largely passed over, while the Panhandle and South Plains regions fell in between these extremes, according to weekly reports by AgriLife Extension county agents.

Where rain fell, cool-season grasses and winter wheat benefited, though the consensus, even where 2 inches or more fell, was that much more rain was needed to keep winter forages going.

AgriLife Extension district reporters compiled the following summaries:

AgriLife Extension district reporters for the Southwest District, including Wilson, Gonzales, Guadalupe, and Bexar counties, reported precipitation over the Thanksgiving holiday ranged from 0.1 inch in the western part of the district to 1.25 inches in the central and eastern counties. Some landowners began planting oats for livestock grazing. Livestock producers continued supplemental feeding of cattle, as well as culling and selling off herds due to the continued drought conditions and hay shortages. Pastures greened up with some winter forbes and grasses. Cooler weather slowed or stopped the growth of summer perennial grass.

AgriLife Extension district reporters for the Coastal Bend District, including Karnes County, reported no rain, strong winds, and low humidity continued to keep the area extremely dry. The exception was Matagorda County, which received more than 2 inches of rain. Overall, dry weather continued to diminish rangeland and pasture conditions. Some areas had their first freeze on Nov. 27, which was expected to send native pasture into dormancy. Winter crops had not received enough moisture and were in poor shape. Farmers finished most field preparations and were waiting for rain before planting.

AgriLife Extension district reporters for the South District, including Atascosa County, reported most of the region remained dry as winter approached. Overall, rangeland and pasture remained in fair to very poor shape, and soil-moisture levels were short to very short throughout the region. Livestock producers were still dealing with no grazing and expensive hay and supplemental feeds. They continued to cull or liquidate herds. In Atascosa and Frio counties, the peanut harvest was nearly finished, and wheat and oat planting was completed, with most of the plantings emerged and doing well.

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

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