Though rain clouds have been idle over most of Texas, agricultural producers remained busy, gearing up for harvesting – or already harvesting – and preparing to plant winter wheat and baling hay, according to Texas AgriLife Extension Service personnel.

In the parched Southwest, producers began harvesting early planted grain sorghum. Despite dry conditions in East Texas, the third cutting of hay was in progress in many counties. In Central Texas, the harvesting of earlier maturing cotton was under way.

In North Texas, producers have nearly finished the harvesting of corn and other small grains and were beginning to harvest soybeans. In the Coastal Bend area, the cotton harvest was completed more than a week ago, but the harvesting of sesame and sunflowers was expected to begin soon. In South Texas, the cotton harvest was in full swing. In the Panhandle, producers were harvesting hay and silage, but the harvesting of other crops remained weeks away.

"Producers have had a productive week in preparing for harvest and plantings," said Rick Auckerman, AgriLife Extension agent for Deaf Smith County , west of Amarillo. "The corn crop is in excellent shape, insect activity is light and the only issues are the common rust in the late plantings of corn. The grain sorghum crop is in the best shape in a long time with timely rains in the dryland areas; the yields this fall should be good."

"The hay harvest continues, and we received 1.5 to 2 inches of rain across the county," said Randy Reeves, AgriLife Extension agent for Harrison County, Marshall. "Hog damage continues across some parts of the county, as does armyworm damage. Most producers are cutting hay instead of making pesticide applications."

"The cotton harvest is in full swing and with the continued hot weather it will be winding down soon," said Jerry Warren, AgriLife Extension agent for Bexar County, San Antonio. "The cattle situation doesn't look good as we prepare to go into winter. This will require a long feeding period and not much hay available."

"The cotton harvest is in full swing, peanuts are progressing well, but the cow market is tough, with skinny cows selling for 20 cents a pound," said Joe G. Taylor, AgriLife Extension agent for Atascosa County, south of San Antonio.

More information on drought in Texas can be found at the Web site of the Drought Joint Information Center.