What is in this article?:
- Rain brings relief but also damage.
- Reservoirs are not filling from recent rainfall.
- Drought conditions highly variable across Texas.
SUNNY DAYS in between rain showers promoted hay production in East Texas.
Variable across state
Across the state, conditions are quite variable, according to a weekly Texas AgriLife crop and weather report compiled by media specialist Robert Burns. “Despite rains — substantial in some cases — drought still had a hold on much of Texas,” Burns reported. “According to the June 4 U.S. Drought Monitor, more than 87 percent of the state was still suffering from moderate, severe, extreme or exceptional drought.”
The Panhandle, parts of the South Plains, South and the Southwest regions continue to report the worst drought conditions.
And recent rain “was by no means equally distributed,” Burns reports. “In the Panhandle, for example, agents reported the rain in some counties measured in inches, while others got no more than a sprinkle. For example, J.D. Ragland, AgriLife Extension agent for Randall County, Amarillo, reported there was ‘no significant accumulation.’ Even irrigated corn and cotton are beginning to suffer, and no dryland will be planted until some kind of rainfall occurs,” he said.
High temperatures have also hampered crop growth. A high of 106 degrees recorded June 4 in Lubbock County was followed by a line of severe thunderstorms and extremely high, damaging winds, according to Mark Brown, AgriLife Extension agent. “Those storms brought as much as 2 inches of rain, which helped crops, but winds as high as 84 mph damaged structures, toppled trees and overturned many center pivots.”
By contrast, the thunderstorms moving through East Texas brought only rain and greening up grass and promoting hay growth, says Chad Gulley, AgriLife Extension agent for Smith County, Tyler. In much of West Texas, rains did little more than settle the dust, says Norman Fryar, AgriLife Extension agent in Pecos County.
Many South Texas counties reported rain since June 4, but George Gonzales, AgriLife Extension agent for Webb County in Laredo, says with temperatures in the 100- to 103-degree range all week long, “evaporation rates were very high.”
Burns reminds farmers and ranchers that more information on the current Texas drought and wildfire alerts can be found on the AgriLife Extension Agricultural Drought Task Force website at http://agrilife.tamu.edu/drought/.