Crop and range conditions are benefiting from recent rainfall, Texas Cooperative Extension reports.
In the Southwest, rain has improved forage conditions and given a boost to corn, sorghum and cotton. Some corn is starting to tassel, but much is behind schedule due to late planting and cold weather during early March, according to reports.
The cabbage harvest continues, and spring onion harvest is gaining momentum. Potatoes, cantaloupe and watermelons are making good progress.
The following are weekly reports from Extension districts around the state:
PANHANDLE: Cool temperatures prevailed through mid-week before warming to near normal. Some rain fell in the southern part of the Panhandle area, while the northern area received none. Soil moisture is rated adequate to surplus. Corn is about 70 percent planted. Stands are rated fair to excellent. Cotton planting is about 20 percent complete. Peanut planting was slowed by wet conditions. Sorghum, soybeans and sunflowers were planted where field conditions allowed. Wheat is about 85 percent headed and rated poor to excellent, with most areas reporting good condition. Some leaf rust -- both stripe and common -- was reported. Russian wheat aphid infestations continue to be a problem in a few fields. Range conditions continue to improve in most areas. Cattle are in good condition. Horn flies continue to pester animals.
SOUTH PLAINS: Widespread rainfall measured 1.5 inches to 9 inches. The rain prevented cotton and sorghum planting, but should insure good moisture conditions. Wheat is in good condition and continues to mature. Corn planting is nearly complete. The recent rains have been beneficial, and corn is off to an excellent start. Most of the pumpkins were planted this week. Pastures and ranges are in good condition. Cattle are in mostly good to excellent condition.
ROLLING PLAINS: Most scattered showers throughout the district ranged from 2.5 inches to 5 inches, but some areas reported as much as 7.5 inches. Planting will resume when fields dry out. Pastures are green and looking good; gardens are making good progress; livestock are in good condition. Pecan crops might be light this year because of early freeze damage.
NORTH: With recent rain and storms, soil moisture is adequate to surplus in some areas. Heavy rains throughout the area have kept soil saturated and prevented field work. Recent rains have halted spring hay production and allowed hay crops to mature to seed. No significant storm damage to crops was reported. Hail and wind damaged wheat and corn, and some fields of wheat and ryegrass were reported lodged. Corn is in good condition and 100 percent emerged. Sorghum condition is good and planting is nearing completion. Soybean planting is also nearly complete and about 95 percent emerged. Cotton is being planted. Winter wheat is in good to excellent condition and is 100 percent headed. Harvest could begin soon if weather conditions improve. All wheat and oats have been harvested as silage. Insect populations are increasing. Some Hessian fly damage and a few rust problems were reported in some wheat fields. Pastures are in very good shape but it has been difficult for farmers to cut and bale. Ryegrass, clover and vetch are being baled for hay.
EAST: Ryegrass in pastures is starting to die out due to warmer temperatures. Soil moisture is good, and summer pastures are growing with good moisture and warm temperatures. Early peaches are being harvested; vegetable crops are being planted. Blueberry and blackberry growth good, but maturity was slowed due to unusually cool temperatures. Cattle are a little thinner than normal for this time of year. Cattle demand is strong; prices are steady to higher on quality cattle. Temperatures are finally warm enough in the evenings to get warm season grasses growing well.
FAR WEST: Soil moisture ranges from very short to surplus, and range and pastures are in very poor to excellent conditions. Winter wheat is in very poor to good condition. Oats are in poor to good condition. Widely scattered rains fell across the district. Rainfall amounts totaled from a half to 6 inches. Planting is delayed until fields dry.
WEST CENTRAL: Temperatures have been cool and mild due to a recent front that brought significant rainfall throughout the week. Fields have been saturated and soil moisture is excellent. Rainy conditions prevented field activities, including cotton and peanut planting. Many wheat and oat fields have been cut for hay; too much rain has prevented baling. Quality is deteriorating in oat fields. Oat smut problems continue. Above-average yields are expected on undamaged wheat fields. Pastures and range conditions continue to improve. Winter weeds are holding on longer than usual. Livestock are in good to excellent condition. Supplemental feeding and grazing of wheat pastures continue. Livestock tanks continue to fill with runoff water. Pecan spraying is under way. Pecan nut set looks promising. Insect problems on peaches have been reported.
SOUTHEAST: Moderate temperatures and a few showers have promoted good grass growth. Ryegrass, oats and wheat stands are nearing maturity and being harvested for hay. Soil moisture is surplus. The corn and sorghum planting season that began in February has been cold and wet. Many farmers planted two and three times because of saturated fields and standing water. Cold, wet, windy weather during Easter stunted grain sorghum and corn crops. Since Easter, crops have improved but many are not as far along as they should be. First hay harvest has been slow due to saturated soils. Planting of annual warm season sudan hay crops was delayed; rice planting continues. Cotton growth is slow due to cold temperatures. Rain has slowed planting activity. Livestock are doing well.
SOUTHWEST: Recent rain has greened up the region, improved forage and boosted corn, sorghum and cotton. Some corn is starting to tassel, but much is behind schedule, due to late planting and the early March cold spell. The cabbage harvest continues. The spring onion harvest is gaining momentum, and potatoes, cantaloupe and watermelons are making good progress.
COASTAL BEND: Some rain, wind and hail was reported in areas. Conditions are good with a few areas still needing moisture. Early reports of wheat yields have been very good. Hay is being cut and baled throughout the area. Livestock are in excellent condition.
SOUTH: Short to adequate soil moisture was reported throughout the region. Row crops have progressed well with irrigation under way in some areas. About 70 percent of sorghum is heading out in that area. The citrus harvest is winding down, onion harvesting is slowing down, and the sugarcane harvest continues. Watermelon crops in that area were damaged by last week’s hail storm, and about 300 acres of the crop were lost. Rains also hampered cabbage harvesting, but continued to improve dryland sorghum crops and increase grazing forage on pastures. Some early-planted wheat and oat harvesting was also delayed due to rain, but some harvesting of these crops resumed by midweek. Recent rains also delayed any irrigation activity by cotton producers.