Significant rainfall in the mid-to-upper coastal region of Texas has greatly benefited corn and sorghum crops in recent days but cotton continues to fall behind and now faces increased pest pressure, especially along the Upper Coast.

Late season planting is underway in parts of the Lower Coastal Bend as some farmers who lost early plantings to dry weather are struggling to salvage the growing season with late corn, sorghum and sesame crops. A large number of cotton producers in Southern Nueces County opted to file for insurance claims, but where possible are considering alternative crops.

Although rains improved soil moisture levels in some locations in the south, in most cases it was not enough to significantly improve rangeland and pastures. With high hay costs and poor grazing, livestock producers continue to reduce herds and purchase additional supplemental feed. Many are trying to hold on to their best cattle and are trying to avoid decreasing herd numbers unless necessary.

In northern Nueces County and across San Patricio County, corn and sorghum have greatly benefited from recent rains that ranged from two inches to as high as six inches over the last two weeks. Cotton producers, however, report early planted crops suffered from abnormally cool weather throughout April and into early May and in some cases have been adversely affected by high winds and early pest pressure.

"Some corn was stunted because of dry and cool conditions, but since the rains, some is looking pretty good and we hope to recover both corn and grain sorghum if we can keep soil moisture," reports San Patricio County Agent Bobby McCool. "A lot of cotton growers zeroed out this year because of a failed crop, but a few are struggling to get grain seed in the ground in an effort to salvage the year."

McCool says Milo is looking better in San Patricio County and he has heard reports that grain crops have improved in Nueces County as well.

"A few farmers in my region are also switching from failed cotton to sesame where possible, but it takes a while for sesame to get started and longer to grow, so we will have to wait and see if that is a workable alternative this late in the year. If we continue to get rains, it might just work," he added.