Recent rainfall in portions of Central and East Texas has sparked a bit of optimism among beef cattle producers, according to Texas Cooperative Extension reports.
Winter grasses and small grain crops in Central Texas have received a much-needed boost from recent rains, Extension agents reported.
"East of Interstate 35, they've gotten the rains that were needed over the past week," said Dr. Jason Cleere, Extension beef cattle specialist. "At the same time, they've gotten the warm weather, and the pasture conditions have improved greatly. In general, beef cattle producers in the eastern portion of the state are a lot more optimistic after the past week."
Cattle markets have also moved upward over the past few weeks, adding more hope for beef producers, Cleere said.
In the South region, vegetable, citrus and sugarcane harvesting continues. Onion harvest preparations are still underway. Planting of corn, cotton and sorghum continues, while cabbage harvesting is moving forward.
The following Extension reports were received for the week:
PANHANDLE: Temperatures were variable throughout the week. The northern portion of the area received a trace amount to a quarter-inch of rainfall. Land preparation for spring planting continues. Soil moisture is rated very short to adequate. Wheat is rated mostly fair to good. Range conditions are rated mostly fair. Cattle are in fair to good condition; supplemental feeding continues.
SOUTH PLAINS: About 1 to 3 inches of rain fell early in the week, and warm temperatures prevailed. The rainfall reduced the need for pre-plant irrigation. Soil moisture is adequate. Winter wheat is rated fair to good condition. Most wheat is near the jointing stage and will benefit from rainfall received. Pastures and ranges are in fair to good condition. Cattle are in good condition and supplemental feeding continues.
ROLLING PLAINS: Rain fell across most of the area counties, helping the wheat crop. Producers who haven't top dressed wheat are making plans to distribute more fertilizer. Deep subsoil moisture is adequate. Wheat is starting to joint and most herbicide applications have stopped. Cool season annuals and weeds are abundant. Livestock are in fair condition with some supplemental feeding. Farmers are preparing fields for cotton planting. Sprigging of hybrid Bermuda grasses continues as weather permits. Peach trees are approaching full bloom.
NORTH: Soil moisture is short to adequate. Rains over the last few days perked up grasses and helped cropping areas. Producers are worried another drought is developing. Corn planting slowed due to rain. Winter wheat is in good condition and 5 percent headed. All wheat has been fertilized once or twice. Ryegrass has started to grow. Peach trees are blooming. With the mild weather, cool season forages are making good growth and winter feeding of livestock will end soon. Livestock are in fair condition and producers are starting to purchase replacement cattle.
EAST: Calf prices in the 500-pound class are $2 per hundredweight to $4 dollars per hundredweight higher. Demand for good pairs and bred cows is strong and prices are steady to slightly higher. Producers continue to sprig coastal and other bermuda hybrids. Farmers are planting and preparing vegetable fields. Beef producers continue to feed hay to cattle. Rainfall throughout the district ranged from 0.3 to 5 inches. Hay supplies are still short or non-existent.
FAR WEST: Soil moisture ranges from very short to adequate. Range and pastures are in very poor to good condition. Winter wheat is in fair to good condition. Oats are in poor to good condition. Supplemental feeding of livestock continues. High winds were reported with 1 to 4 inches of precipitation in very few parts of the district, while the rest was dry.
WEST CENTRAL: Temperatures were very mild. Rain was reported in many areas. Soil moisture is improving. More rain is expected in the coming week. Burn bans have been lifted due to recent moisture. Winter wheat pastures and small grains are improving. Hay fields are being prepared for planting. Range and pastures are improving rapidly with green up of annual weeds and cool season grasses. Supplemental feeding of livestock continues. Stock tanks remain dry. Producers continue to sell livestock. Fruit trees are blooming.
CENTRAL: Rain was received across most of the district, helping winter grasses and small grains for grazing, but more is needed to replenish stock tanks and soil moisture for warm season grasses. The wheat crop is showing some powdery mildew and barley is showing some yellow dwarf, but very little rust. Fruit trees have begun blooming.
SOUTHEAST: Many areas received rainfall. Drier weather early in the week allowed farmers to plant crops, while rain later in the week hampered planting and caused delays. Hay continues to be in short supply.
SOUTHWEST: Last week's rain and warm weather has caused the region to green up. Bluebonnets are starting to bloom along highways and woody species are sprouting. Wheat, corn, sorghum and potatoes have been planted and have good stands. Some farmers are starting to plant cotton. While the recent rain is helping the spring green-up, the soil profile remains very dry. Cabbage and spinach harvest continues.
COASTAL BEND: Significant rainfall was reported in most of the area; crops and pastures look better. The rain halted planting and some minor field flooding and spotted hail damage may lead to some replanting. Wheat will need to be monitored for leaf diseases. Strong winds are causing problems as blowing sand damages emerging plants.
SOUTH: Weather conditions in the western parts of the region have been good with plenty of moisture in the ground due some rainfall. Two to 12 inches were received in some parts of the region. Many crops are doing well as a result of the rain. Vegetables, citrus and sugarcane are still being harvested. Onion harvest preparations are still under way. Corn, cotton and sorghum planting continues. Cabbage harvesting is ongoing. Forage has improved, and livestock on native range and pastures are taking advantage of fresh tender forage that has become available due to the recent rains and warm temperatures.