Monte Vandiver, Extension IPM agent for Bailey and Parmer Counties, says the area “continues to be very dry. The U.S. Drought Monitor shows 100 percent of Bailey County, 95 percent of Lamb County and the southwest half of Parmer County are under extreme drought conditions; in addition, the northeast half of Parmer County is under severe drought conditions (

“These very dry conditions continue to tax irrigation systems at an elevated rate,” Vandiver said. “Crop moisture demands have continued to ramp up, exceeding two inches per week. This high demand, exhausted soil moisture reserves and continued hot dry weather forces producers to consider diverting irrigation recourses in hopes of salvaging at least some of their crop.”

He said diverting water from one crop to another is an extremely tough decision, but may be the only way to save a portion of the crop during extreme drought. “Diversion would be considered a good management decision,” he said, cautioning growers to consult crop insurance agents before making a decision to divert water.

As Northeast Texas farmers prepare to harvest corn and grain sorghum, observers anticipate good yields. Rainfall, though spotty, has kept most fields in good shape and some growers anticipate dryland corn production near 120 bushels per acre.

Extension IPM agent Jim Swart says cotton also continues to show promise in the northeast corner of the state.

Down in the Valley

John Norman, retired Texas AgriLife entomologist and editor of Pest Cast Newsletter, says the Lower Rio Grande Valley has received “spotty showers with hot and dry conditions most of the time. Such is summer in the Valley.”

Norman says pre-harvest and harvest activities have been primary concerns for most LRGV farms this week. “Harvest activities will continue for the next three to four weeks. Insect activity continued in fields still green and attractive to whiteflies.”

Norman said cotton was reaching final maturity in most fields. “Overall, more cotton fields in the Valley were defoliated and/or harvested than not. But many fields needed another two to three weeks before they could be defoliated.”