Weather this spring has left a mixed bag of good and ill fortune for South Texas growers. From the lower Rio Grande Valley to Victoria in the north, coastal Texas has seen substantial and much needed rainfall across much of the region that nurtured most crops, but hail storms delayed watermelon harvest in the Valley and destroyed hundreds of acres of cotton in the Coastal Bend.

“Whether the weather has been a good or bad thing for crops just depends on where your farm is located,” reports Dr. Juan Anciso, associate professor for Texas AgriLife Extension Research Center in Weslaco. “The Valley received beneficial rains in the first three months of the year, which provided a good start to many crops. But May and now June so far has been dry. Most of our rain happened in a short period of time and it would have been better if it were spread out. But we are in better shape at this stage of the game than we were last year.”

Jeffrey Stapper, county extension agent in Nueces County, says promising rains in March and April have given way to dry, hot conditions in the field and dryland crops are showing extreme signs of stress as a result.

“If we don’t get showers in the next few days, we will see dire conditions in both grain sorghum and cotton, which was hit hard by recent hail storms,” he said.

Stephen Biles, Texas AgriLife Extension integrated pest management agent in Victoria, says early season rains provided enough moisture to sustain grain sorghum crops in both Victoria and Refugio counties.

“We’re looking pretty good so far. Early planted sorghum is looking fairly good but the sorghum planted after those early rains requires more moisture to complete the cycle. Cotton is showing 10 to 12 nodes at this stage and looks pretty good, but again, we could use more rain in the days ahead,” Biles said.

He says corn around Victoria received good rains before silking and tasseling, but expectations have been lowered on yields and quality as soils continue to dry.