What is in this article?:
- Grain sorghum plantings up in response to drought, prices, aflatoxin concerns
- Statewide crop conditions
- Hot and Dry
- Texas grain sorghum plantings are up by about 750,000 acres over last year.
- Prices remain strong.
- Less risk with grain sorghum than corn.
By the end of June, sorghum near Kerens in Central Texas was already changing color.
Statewide crop conditions
Across the state, crop and pasture conditions vary widely.
Central: Hot weather promoted the maturation of corn and milo. Some sorghum was harvested for silage. Pastures were in good to fair condition but being heavily hit by grasshoppers in some areas. Some milo and earlier-planted corn was already being harvested. Most cotton was at the bloom stage to three-quarter grown bolls. Cotton needed rain. Plenty of hay was put up earlier in the summer, but producers were starting to worry about drought again. Irrigators were watering full tilt.
Coastal Bend: Drought prevailed in the southern part of the region. All crops were moisture-stressed. The grain sorghum harvest was in full swing. Most growers were reporting low yields. The cotton harvest was expected to begin soon. Pastures were in poor condition. The area could see more herd liquidations if drought persists. Grasshoppers remained abundant, eating grasses, ornamental plants and garden plants. There were spotty showers reported in the northern part of the region. Hay was being harvested in the northern counties with near average yields. Livestock producers throughout the region continued to supplement cattle with hay and protein.
East: Most counties reported 0.5 inch of rain or less. Houston County was the exception with as much as 2 inches. Pond and creek levels dropped. With the dry and hot weather, pastures showed less growth. Hay harvesting slowed, and some producers worried conditions could deteriorate to those of last year. Grasshoppers were problems to both agricultural producers and homeowners. Fruit and vegetable growers continued to harvest crops. Feral hogs were active. Cattle were still in good shape. Horn fly reports increased.
Far West: Highs were in the upper 90s and lows in the mid to upper 70s. Conditions remained mostly dry, and the windy weather was drying out what little soil moisture was left. Pastures were browning due to heat and wind. Winkler County reported high wildfire danger due to large loads of dead forage. In Pecos County, melon harvesting continued with excellent quality reported. Also in that area, the onion harvest was ongoing. Cotton was rated average to good in Upton County. Ranchers were still providing supplemental feed to their livestock. Herd numbers remained low due to continuing drought conditions. Producers shipped all lambs and kid goats.
North: Soil-moisture levels were very short to adequate. Continued hot, dry weather prevailed. Perennial grass in pastures still showed patchy damage from last year’s drought. The hay harvest continued but lack of moisture slowed grass growth. Irrigated cropland looked good. Dryland corn and soybeans were very moisture-stressed. Grain sorghum was coloring and beginning to mature. Grasshoppers were abundant and becoming a concern for many producers. Cattle were in fair to good condition but stressed by the heat. Spotty wildfires were started by fireworks.
Panhandle: The region remained hot, dry and windy. Irrigators were very active. Corn was mostly in fair to good condition. Some leaf scorch was reported in corn, as well as wilt from heat and water stress. Grain sorghum was mostly in fair to good condition. Cotton made good progress with the hot weather, and was rated mostly in good to fair condition. A few wheat fields were not yet harvested. Insect activity was generally light with a few reports of spider mites in older corn and a few pest problems in cotton. Rangeland and pastures were in very poor to excellent condition, with most counties reporting poor conditions. Cattle were in fair to good condition. Some producers were weaning calves early.