What is in this article?:
- Drought damaging crop prospects, cattle operations.
- Early rainfall permitted germination of some crops.
- Cool, dry weather hampering cotton.
Checking germination in a drought-plagued field yields little seedling cotton for San Patricio county Extension agent Bobby McCool.
Charles Ring says his area of San Patricio County may have “some of the best crops up,” for the time being. He’s one of a few who irrigates. “About 20 percent of our acreage is irrigated,” he says. Some systems have been shut down for repair.
Ring said he likes irrigating cotton if “just to get it up. Then if we get some rain, we can make something.”
He’s making some management adjustments. “I’ve fertilized the grain but not dryland cotton. I can’t justify putting that much money out with the possibility that it won’t come up. I also wonder how much fertilizer is left from last year.”
He says all his dryland cotton is up now, “except for the last 600 to 700 acres planted. I have no dryland corn, just irrigated acreage.”
He also has 128 acres of irrigated sesame.
McCool says the north central part of the county had from an inch to an inch-and-a-half of rain that germinated seeds. “But that’s all it’s had. Fields that were planted early look decent. Part of the county had as much as three inches of rain. Grain looks better but it still needs more moisture. But cotton was planted too late and didn’t emerge.” Cotton planted early was hurt by cool temperatures.
Farmers in South Texas, from the Lower Rio Grande Valley into the Upper Gulf Coast don’t expect normal yields from 2013 crops. Some areas have recently received some rainfall, but too little or too late to count on anything close to normal yields or restoration of forage. For now, they hope to get enough rain to make some yield and to begin to restore pasture and rangeland. Unless they get rain soon, herd liquidation will continue and farmers will rely, once again, on insurance to get them to next season.