More rain stimulates planting in Texas
ROBERT BURNS/Texas A&M Extension Service -
Horn fly problems were increasing in several areas, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service personnel. A single horn fly can take a blood meal 20 to 30 times per day, reducing a beef animal’s performance, according to Dr. Jason Banta, AgriLife Extension beef cattle specialist.
Nearly all of Texas continued to receive rain after Memorial Day storms, further improving the prospects of spring crop plantings and existing pastures and rangeland, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service reports from throughout the state.
In some areas, accumulations were heavy. From May 27 through June 10, some parts of the Coastal Bend and East Texas received 8 inches or more of rain, according to the National Weather Service’s precipitation analysis.
Amounts were less for other parts of the state, according to the analysis, but 2- to 4-inch totals were common throughout the Rolling Plains, South Plains, and Panhandle.
Despite the rains, extreme to exceptional drought conditions persisted throughout the plains regions, while Central Texas remained in the grip of severe to moderate drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
But condition reports from AgriLife Extension county agents showed planting continuing and crops progressing. Warmer weather in conjunction with the moisture improved pasture and rangeland as well, and stimulated the growth of warm-season annual grasses. In some instances, farmers who had been holding off planting in dry soil were rushing to meet crop insurance deadlines.
AgriLife Extension district reporters compiled the following summaries for the week of June 3-9:
AgriLife Extension district reporters for the Southwest District, including Wilson, Gonzales, Guadalupe, and Bexar counties, reported rangeland and pastures began to show signs of improvement from the good rains receive the last week of May. Warm-season grasses were growing well for the first time this year. There were some reports of sugarcane aphids in grain sorghum. Producers were scouting for the aphids and spraying as needed. Irrigated cotton and sorghum were in good condition. Livestock continued to need supplemental feed. Many stock water tanks were nearly full or at capacity after the rains.
AgriLife Extension district reporters for the Coastal Bend District, including Karnes County, reported that despite the rains of two weeks ago, pasture conditions were once again reported as good to poor throughout the region. Good to fair were the most common rangeland ratings. Daytime temperatures were rising fast, and along with recent rains, crops and warm-season forages were progressing well. Some producers applied pesticides for sugarcane aphids on sorghum. Work on establishing economic thresholds for treatment for the aphids, as well as alternative controls, continued. Many forage producers were harvesting hay. Beef producers began brush control practices where the ground was dry enough. Farmers were spraying cotton for fleahoppers and broadleaf weeds. Where fields remained too wet to run ground spray rigs, some producers opted for aerial applications.
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.