Weather and crop conditions are a mixed bag across Texas as drought continues to hamper crops in some regions while others benefit from timely rains. Texas AgriLife Extension integrated management specialists offer the following update on weather and crop conditions for several Texas areas.

Clyde Crumley, IPM specialist for the Upper Coast, says hot and dry conditions continue.

“Thunder showers are increasing in activity; however, they have not come close to breaking this ongoing area-wide drought.

“Grain sorghum and corn harvest is in full swing and in lieu of our limited rainfall this year, yields are down to about what we anticipated. The balance of cotton is at physiological cutout, so the next hurdle will be timing of harvest aids.”

Crumley says cotton is 6 to 7 days ahead of normal for average heat unit. “Consider that when thinking about preparing for harvest.”

Manda G. Cattaneo, IPM specialist for Gaines County, says irrigated cotton and peanut crops benefited from recent rains.

“We are entering into the period of highest water demand, which is during the blooming period for cotton and blooming, pegging and pod fill for peanuts,” Cattaneo says.

“We have found a few bollworms and cotton square borers in cotton. Bollworm eggs have also been observed. Non-Bt fields should be monitored closely for bollworm populations. Beneficial insects (ladybird beetles, lacewings, minute pirate bugs) are helping to keep most insect pests at bay.”

Cattaneo recommends that growers take into account the work of Mother Nature and the beneficial insects, which likely will take out several small worms.

In the Northwest Plains, IPM specialist Monte Vandiver says recent rain and warm weather “has shifted crops into high gear. Precipitation amounts ranging from 0.1 to 3 inches have been reported with around 2 inches reported most often.

“Local weather stations have recorded the following rainfall July 2 - July 8:

Farwell 1.29

Friona 1.41

Muleshoe 1.42

Muleshoe Wildlife Refuge .73

In Terry and Yoakum counties, Scott Russell, reports that irrigated cotton made progress the last two weeks.

“Timely showers across most of the region helped tremendously. Fruit load on the cotton ranges from 5 squares to 10 squares (first position) per plant, with retention rates holding above 90 percent. We have seen very few flea hoppers and Lygus bugs in the cotton.”

Russell is watchful for pink bollworms.

“I’ve placed several pink bollworm traps across Terry and Yoakum Counties, just to monitor activity. At present we have only one to two moths per trap per week. This is much lower than numbers were a few years ago when we saw economic damage in fields of non-Bt cotton.”

Russell says showers have slowed or delayed weed control efforts in many fields.”

“The weather pattern continues this week with some scattered and general rainfall and moderate temperatures,” says Kerry Siders, IPM specialist for Hockley and Cochran Counties.

“In general rain has been a welcome blessing. It will help irrigated acres and for certain the dryland cotton. If you are interested in tracking heat units try this link: http://www.weather.com/outlook/agriculture/growing-degree-days/

“To date it appears that we are doing okay on heat unit accumulation for Levelland compared to the average.”

email: rsmith@farmpress.com