According to the U.S. Drought Monitor’s (http://www.drought.unl.edu/dm/monitor.html) report of Nov. 30, those parts of the state that were either experiencing abnormally dry or moderate drought conditions expanded both northward and southward in the last week.

On Nov. 23, the abnormally dry areas were confined to counties south of U.S. Interstate 20, and much of extreme South Texas was considered normal. A week later, the abnormally dry areas spread as far north as Wichita Falls and Lubbock, and as far south as McAllen and Harlingen. Also, the number of counties in Southwest and Southeast Texas considered to be in a moderate drought expanded.

The dry conditions were hardest on livestock grazing, but small grains were also suffering, according to Texas AgriLife Extension Service personnel. Cotton producers in the South Plains and Rolling Plains took advantage of the dry weather to finish up harvesting.

"Extremely dry conditions continued to take their toll on dryland small grains such as wheat and oats," said Marcel Valdez, AgriLife Extension agent in Zavala County, southwest of San Antonio. "Some livestock producers reported that some supplemental feeding of livestock began this week. Some producers are also contemplating some light selling-off decisions to reduce grazing pressure on native range and pastures and reduce supplemental feed costs."

"Conditions continue to be dry," said Dale Rankin, AgriLife Extension agent in Live Oak County, north of Corpus Christi. "Producers have started feeding hay and most of the forage is brown from frost and cold weather. Only a small amount of winter pastures have been planted due to the lack of moisture."

"Conditions are still extremely dry, and oats need rain in the worst way," said Joe Taylor, AgriLife Extension agent in Atascosa County, about 20 miles south of San Antonio. "Some producers are saying they are losing their stands to the dry weather. Pasture conditions are also very dry and vulnerable as a fire hazard."

"It's dry with no prospects of rain," said Neal Alexander, AgriLife Extension agent for San Saba County, south of Brownwood. "What few calves have been turned out on the early small grains are now being shipped to grazing out of the county."

"We continue to need rain for ryegrass and clovers, as well as to improve livestock water levels in stock tanks," said Mark Currie, AgriLife Extension agent for Polk County, south of Lufkin. "Typically we receive rainfall with cool fronts that benefit our cool-season grasses, but this year the fronts have had little or no rainfall with them."

rd-burns@tamu.edu