Many areas of the Southwest received at least some relief from drought conditions this week as scattered showers and thunderstorms, sometimes heavy and some with damaging wind and hail, moved across the region.

A Southwest Farm Press mini-survey of Extension specialists, farmers and other agriculture observers indicated that rainfall totals were highly variable as was hail and wind damage.

Most areas report conditions improved over the past few weeks and were significantly better than a year ago.

Greg Cronholm, Texas AgriLife Extension integrated pest management specialist for Hale and Swisher counties, said his area did receive beneficial rainfall. “Typical rainfall amounts ranged from 1.5 to 3 inches,” he said.

 Salvador Vitanza, AgriLife, IPM-Extension Agent, says no rain fell this week in El Paso and Hudspeth Counties. “The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) shows that El Paso has received an accumulated total precipitation of 1.38 inches since the start of the year,” Vitanza said. “For comparison, the average accumulated precipitation from January to May from 1879 to 2008 is 2.02 inches.”

Vic Schoonover, reporting for North Texas-Oklahoma-Kansas Cotton (NTOK), says rainfall is highly variable for much of Oklahoma. “More than 2 inches has fallen at Altus in Jackson County.”

But much more is needed, he said. “Unless there are several large rains on the watershed north of Lake Altus in Jackson County, there will be no irrigation this year in the Lugert Irrigation District. The lake is less than 22 percent full, lower than the minimum amount allowed for any irrigation.”

He says Tillman County south and north of Frederick received more than an inch of rain this week. “More than 2 inches to 2.5 inches fell in Comanche County near Lawton. Traveling up the I-44 corridor to Chickasha and Oklahoma City and west to Elk City on I-40, rainfall totaled more than 1 inch. Still more fell in the southeastern and northern portions of the state.

“Like the Texas AgriLife article published in the recent Southwest Farm Press Daily reported recently, farmers are planting cotton as fast as possible. Some fields of hybrid feed for hay planted early due to the early, warm spring are nearly a foot tall in fields around Snyder in Kiowa County,” Schoonover said.

“We received just under 2 inches yesterday (Wednesday) and last night,” said Scott Averhoff, an Ellis County, Texas, farmer who farms near Waxahachie. “About 10 days ago we received 0.8 to 0.9 inches. Other than that it has been dry,” he said.

“No sir. We were right on the western edge of it every day,” said cotton farmer Eric Seidenberger, Garden City, Texas, just west of San Angelo.

“I could hear the thunder and smell the rain, but we didn’t receive any. Things are up and going well, however, even the dryland. We received some good moisture pre-plant, but we need some more soon.”