You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.
Few bright spots in state’s crop situation
By Robert Burns
COLLEGE STATION -- If it’s true misery loves company, drought-hammered Midwestern farmers should find lots of company in Texas, said a Texas AgriLife Extension Service agronomist.
“Certainly, we’ve had very short rainfall in many areas of the state, and we’re looking at less-than-average (cotton) crop yields over most of the areas I’m familiar with,” said Dr. Travis Miller, AgriLife Extension agronomist in College Station.
Miller said the same could be said of most crops in Texas, despite recent rains in parts of the state.
“We’ve had a lot of rain along the Gulf Coast, and through parts of the Hill Country and Austin,” he said. “All were good rains, but most of it came too late for crops.”
Miller said he expected cotton yields to be all over the place. In the Gulf Coast area, where cotton was being harvested, there was some cotton yielding in the 200- to 300-pound range and better. In the Rolling Plains and large parts of the South Plains, farmers were expecting a lot of failed acres. In other parts of the Rolling Plains and South Plains, those farmers who had timely plantings were holding on, hoping for more rain.
From AgriLife Extension county agent reports, some cotton has already been replanted to other crops after being zeroed-out by insurance adjusters. However, cotton in a few areas, such as the Panhandle and South Plains counties of Cochran and Deaf Smith, was doing reasonably well thanks to recent rains and excellent heat units. There were also a few reports of cotton doing well in North Texas.
From fellow AgriLife Extension agronomists, Miller said he’s heard of some good grain sorghum yields along the Gulf Coast, with reports of 5,000-pound yields per acre -- but some much less.
Soybean plantings, not a common crop in Texas on an average year, were down this year because the crop is not as drought-tolerant as others.
“When soybeans are flowering and setting pods, it’s pretty important they have a shot of water,” Miller said.
If there are any bright spots, it’s the fact that commodity prices are so high, he said.
“We’ve got sharply increased prices for the crops that we do have, and sometimes if you have a very high price you can compensate for the low yields,” he said.
AgriLife Extension district reporters compiled the following summaries:
AgriLife Extension district reporters for the Southwest District, including Wilson, Gonzales, Guadalupe, and Bexar counties, reported pastures improved with recent rains. The rain slowed the grain and corn harvests. More rain was needed.
AgriLife Extension district reporters for the Coastal Bend District, including Karnes County, reported as much as 9 inches of rain fell in isolated areas, but most locations got less than 0.1 inch. The rain hampered the corn and grain harvests, but benefited pastures and hay fields. Growers reported low yields but good quality on grain sorghum. Corn was also low-yielding, with many fields a total loss due to lack of moisture at crucial growing stages. Growers were beginning to defoliate cotton, with some harvesting already under way. Lint yields were expected to be below normal due to the drought.
AgriLife Extension district reporters for the South District, including Atascosa County, reported the northern part of the region received enough rain to slightly improve soil-moisture levels in rangeland and pastures. Atascosa, La Salle, and McMullen counties received from 1 inch to 3 inches of rain. Soil-moisture levels were 50 to 100 percent adequate in the northern counties, short to very short in the eastern and western counties, and 70 percent adequate in Willacy County. Generally, rangeland and pastures remained mostly in fair to poor condition. The quality of forage continued to decline while the price of supplemental feed increased. However, cattle body condition scores remained fair with supplemental feeding. In Atascosa County, peanuts progressed well, and some cotton was breaking bolls.
Robert Burns has nearly 30 years’ experience writing about agriculture and agricultural-related research. He writes about Texas AgriLife Research and Texas AgriLife Extension Service activities at the Overton Center and centers in Stephenville and Temple.
Your Opinions and Comments
Be the first to comment on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Agriculture Today Archives
Customs intercepts pest new to the United States (May 25, 2016)
Does wounded tree have a chance? (May 25, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (May 25, 2016)
Mother Nature whips Wilson County crops (May 25, 2016)
Scrapie confirmed in Texas (May 25, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (May 25, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (May 25, 2016)
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)