A similar situation exists in the South Plains where growers have prospects of making decent dryland grain sorghum and are pushing irrigated acreage to get the most yield possible.

“The rains we’ve had since mid-June have been a tremendous benefit,” said Dr. Calvin Trostle, AgriLife Extension agronomist in Lubbock who specializes in corn and sorghum, in a recent crop weather report. “Certainly, producers are pushing corn as best they can with irrigation and close attention to spider mite and corn earworm control.”

“The rains have pushed the crop to a point where we may be able to finish out the crop with just a little more rainfall,” Trostle says. “There’s certainly cause for optimism.”

Grain sorghum acreage is up this year as a result of favorable prices early and from additional plantings behind failed cotton, he says.

The number of acres planted behind failed cotton are not known, but “are substantial.” He says grain sorghum was a good option behind failed dryland cotton because it can be planted relatively late in the season.

A substantial amount of haygrazer—sorghum Sudan—also has been planted this year.

Trostle says the U.S. Drought Monitor map that still shows most of the Panhandle and South Plains region in severe to exceptional drought, doesn’t tell the whole story.

“The maps can’t show a little spot four miles wide by 10 miles long that has had 10 inches of rain since mid-June,” he says. “Some spots here and there have had 8, 9 and 10 inches, and most of that rain has come slow so there’s minimal runoff.”

Across the state, corn production is up and down, says David Gibson, executive director for Texas Corn Producers Board.

 “The Panhandle and South Plains corn crop is looking to come in with about average or even a little better than average yields compared to what we've seen historically,” Gibson says.

“We've heard from farmers south of Dallas, in the Blacklands area, that most yielded just above what they were expecting for the year, and it's overall an average crop.”

It’s not quite that good further south. “The Coastal Bend and South Texas had some areas with good yields and some that didn't fare as well this year. Overall though, we're expecting about an average corn crop statewide this year or even a little above average. The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) estimated yield of 138 bushels per acre seems to be pretty accurate with what we're hearing from farmers across the state and seeing in the Panhandle as of right now,” he says.


Also of interest on Southwest Farm Press:

Corn and late-planted sorghum doing well in Texas South Plains

50 percent cotton abandonment rate no surprise to PCG

Aim a little higher for grain sorghum production