Many Texas counties received substantial rains, greatly alleviating drought conditions, greening up pastures and benefitting many late-planted crops such as soybeans, according to reports from Texas AgriLife Extension Service personnel.
Along with rain, a few counties reported hail. In at least one county, the damage was extensive, affecting thousands of acres of cropland.
Brandon McGinty, AgriLife Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources, reported from 4.5 to 10.5 inches fell on Gray County east of Amarillo.
Even better, the rain came slow, allowing it to soak into the ground and raise subsoil moisture levels, he said.
In the Uvalde area, as much as 6 inches of rain did a lot to alleviate a nearly year-long drought, but the region still lags far behind the cumulative total for the year.
Rick Auckerman, AgriLife Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources in Deaf Smith County, reported some of the worst hail damage. "Along with the rain was pea- to softball-sized hail that destroyed corn, cotton, forage sorghum and grain sorghum fields across a path that was about 6- to 8-miles wide and 25 to 30 miles in length," Auckerman said. "Eighty thousand to 120,000 acres are estimated to be affected; either a total loss or severely damaged."
The hail storm in Lipscomb County, also in the Panhandle, cut across the county from the north to west in a 8- to 10-mile wide swathe, said J.R. Sprague, AgriLife Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources.
Lamb County just to the south of Deaf Smith County, also saw hail, but the damage there was minimal, said Todd Beyers, AgriLife Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources.
North Texas and East Texas also benefitted from recent weather conditions.
"This is the coolest, wettest, greenest August anyone can remember," said Kenny Rollins, AgriLife Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources for Titus County in Northeast Texas.
The following summaries were compiled by AgriLife Extension district reporters this week:
CENTRAL: Cooler temperatures and rain greened up pastures and improved conditions overall. Hay producers may get one more cutting if conditions continue to improve. The corn and sorghum harvests were nearly completed. Because of the rain, an armyworm outbreak was expected. Pecans entered the gel stage, a time when nut-fill occurs.
COASTAL BEND: Scattered rains fell, with some areas receiving up to 8 inches. Wet conditions limited harvest activity. The moisture was expected to lower fiber lint quality of late-harvested cotton. Late-season sunflower planting was halted due to wet conditions. Range and pasture conditions improved.
EAST: Rains were expected to allow one more hay cutting. Ponds and lake levels rose. Pastures looked better. Some producers were anxious about armyworms outbreaks. Some counties saw increased feral hog activity. Cattle and other livestock looked good.
FAR WEST: Scattered rains improved range and pasture conditions. Accumulations varied from 1 to 5 inches. The rains helped reduce irrigation needs for cotton, but came too late for dryland cotton. Grain sorghum production was minimal because of drought and armyworms. In some areas, second-crop corn after wheat was doing very well. Hail heavily damaged corn in other areas. Chiles and paprikas were in full fruit set, and developing well. Pecans were also doing well.
NORTH: Rainfall reports varied from 5 to 12 inches over the last two weeks, which dramatically raised soil-moisture levels. However, the wet weather has halted the corn harvest and grain sorghum harvest. Corn, soybeans and grain sorghum were in fair to good condition. Cotton was in fair to good condition, 100 percent squaring and setting bolls. Bolls were about 50 percent open. Some producers have more grass than they’ve had in years. Fungal and disease problems began to emerge, and armyworms were present in some hayfields. Livestock were in good condition.
PANHANDLE: Most of the region received from 1 to 4 inches of rain with a few isolated areas receiving 10 to12 inches. Soil moisture was good to very short with most areas adequate to short. Corn varied from very poor to good with most areas reporting fair to good. Cotton varied from very poor to good with most areas reporting fair. Sorghum continued to head, and some fields turned color. Peanuts varied from poor to excellent with most areas reporting fair to good. Rains improved range conditions. Cattle were in good condition.
ROLLING PLAINS: Rain and cooler temperatures were a welcome change from "hot and dry." Counties across the district reported from a trace to more than 7 inches of rain. Most counties reported from 2 to 5 inches. The rain was too late to help cotton and milo crops in the western part of the district. However, the rain greatly improved pastures and enabled producers to prepare fields for fall wheat planting. Many stock tanks remained close to or completely dry, and more rain is needed. Pastures responded well and greened up. Livestock were generally in good condition.
SOUTH: Soil moisture ranged from adequate to surplus throughout the region. Scattered showers bought hope for many parched native ranges and pastures. However, the continual rainfall hampered field operations. Crop conditions were poor to fair. Soybean crops were in good condition and progressing well. With better range and pastures for good grazing, livestock were in good condition.
SOUTH PLAINS: Significant widespread rainfall received early last week ranged from a trace to more than 5 inches. Cooler temperatures came early in week, but hot temperatures in the upper 80s and lower 90s returned at week's end. These warmer temperatures provided needed heat units to help mature late-planted cotton and grain sorghum. Dryland grain sorghum and cotton were in poor to fair condition. Cotton was too mature to benefit much from the rain. Irrigated grain sorghum and cotton were in fair to good condition. Sorghum was rapidly maturing in response to rainfall and hot weather. Sunflowers and corn continued to dry down. Peanuts were in good condition. Producers picked up the pace on planting wheat thanks to excellent moisture. Rangeland and pasture conditions improved, and livestock condition was mostly good to excellent.
SOUTHEAST: Six to 8 inches of rain fell on some parts of the region, stopping all farming activities. Sorghum yields ranged from 3,800 to 5,000 pounds per acre. Some late-planted grain sorghum was yet to be harvested. Corn yields averaged 80 bushels per acre. The rice crop escaped damage by Edouard. Grass growth in response to the moisture was expected to slow as cooler temperatures arrived. Livestock were doing well. The rains greatly improved pastures. The soybean crop looked good.
SOUTHWEST: Six or more inches of rain were received in the past two weeks after an 11-month drought, greening up the region. Fall crops were making good progress. However, the year-to-date cumulative rainfall remained at about 62 percent of the long-term average. Top soils were nearly saturated, but subsoil moisture profiles remained deficit. The rain helped peanuts, cotton and fall-forage production, but slowed the finishing of the corn and sorghum harvests. About 20 percent of the corn and sorghum was yet to be harvested. Improved forages from the rain should help sustain wildlife. The corn and sorghum harvests were about complete. About 20 percent of the cotton has been defoliated, but the rain will delay harvesting. Peanuts made good progress. Fall-vegetable planting was under way.
WEST CENTRAL: The region saw much cooler temperatures with high humidity. Significant rainfall was reported in many areas, and producers expected to start planting small grains soon. Some producers began to take a second hay cutting. Recent rainfall improved range and pasture conditions. Water levels in stock tanks and ponds rose. Livestock conditions declined. Pecans began nut-fill, but hulls appeared undersized, and a light crop was predicted.