While rain has been plentiful across Texas, it's throwing a kink into hay harvesting activities but producing bumper grain crop yields, Texas Cooperative Extension reports.
While most producers harvested a first cutting earlier this spring, hay continues to grow in the field reaching above-average maturity levels, said one Extension specialist.
"The biggest challenge is there's hay out there right now that's two to three weeks overdue," said Dr. Jason Cleere, Extension beef cattle specialist in College Station. "Tonnage is going to be good, but quality is not going to be as good because of the maturity level. When this rain shuts off, there's going to be a large amount of hay being baled."
Just a year ago during the drought, producers were doing good to get one cutting of hay harvested, Cleere said.
"With this cutting of hay out in the field, we may have already cut and baled as much hay as we've baled in the past two years," he said.
Meanwhile, the wet weather is also hampering the wheat harvest, but good yields are expected, said Dr. Travis Miller, Extension agronomist in College Station.
"West Texas and the Panhandle wheat farmers are reporting excellent yields with some dryland wheat exceeding 60 bushels per acre or more, twice normal averages," he said.
In the Blacklands region from Central to North Texas, Miller said the wheat crop is excellent, but 30 percent to 40 percent of the crop remains to be harvested.
"Quality has been severely damaged by lodging and sprouting due to prolonged wetness," he said. "These losses will be keenly felt, as wheat yields were very low last year and prices were very favorable this year due to last year's failed crop."
Corn and sorghum yields statewide are expected to be excellent due to all of the rainfall received in June, Miller said.
"Overall, we should have much higher grain yields this year than last due to favorable moisture," he said. "The main concern is having favorable harvest weather."
The following condition reports are from Extension officials:
PANHANDLE: Temperatures were near or below average for the week. Thunderstorms brought some rain and hail to the area. Rain from a trace to more than 2 inches was recorded. Soil moisture is rated very short to adequate with most areas reporting adequate. Corn is fair to excellent; cotton is fair. Peanuts are fair to good with no pest problems reported. Sorghum planting is ending. The crop is fair to good. Soybeans are fair to good with no pest problems reported. Wheat harvest is about 50 percent complete. Rain has caused harvest delays in much of the area. Cattle in excellent condition.
SOUTH PLAINS: Some southern counties received heavy rain, hail and high winds. Straight line winds caused structural damage on farms and ranches. Estimates of crop damage are still pending. Cotton is in fair to good condition and is progressing well with the warmer temperatures. Wheat harvest continues and yield reports have been excellent. Corn is in good condition and responded well to recent rains. Sorghum is in good to excellent condition. Peanuts are in good condition. All pumpkin acres have been planted and are progressing well. Pastures and ranges are in good to excellent condition. Cattle are in good to excellent condition.
ROLLING PLAINS: A surplus of rain has caused creeks and rivers to overflow their banks. Wet conditions continue to hamper agriculture activities throughout the area. Rains caused substantial flooding to low areas along the Wichita River. Storms last week destroyed some barns and pivots. More rain has again stopped the wheat harvest. Rain has slowed down cotton planting. Peanuts looking good. Most pasture land is looking good with grass and forbs, and most tanks are full and running.
NORTH: Soil moisture ranges from adequate to surplus. Continued rains are causing moisture-related problems in crops. Heavy rains have hampered attempts to bale hay, but rainfall over the past two weeks has helped pastures. Some forage producers are waiting to harvest due to continued rains. Corn, grain sorghum and soybeans are in good condition, but need to dry out. Corn is in good to excellent condition but will suffer soon if rain does not stop. Soybeans are planted, blooming and in good condition. Sorghum is planted, headed and in good condition. Cotton is in good condition, 95 percent squared and 20 percent to 40 percent setting bolls. Heavy rains have damaged the wheat crop so much that very little can be salvaged. Oats are 20 percent to 100 percent harvested. Livestock are in good condition, but rains have hampered the market and sellers are not getting cattle out. Range and pasture conditions are good to excellent. Bugs and weeds are increasing and grasshoppers are becoming a major problem.
EAST: Three inches to 8 inches of rain was reported throughout the week. Producers are moving livestock to higher ground. Rainfall is still prevalent around the region. Disease problems were reported on various vegetables, especially tomatoes. Hay is being cut, but getting wet from evening showers. Many producers are waiting to cut hay. Some hay cuttings have been lost due to heavy rains over several days. Vegetable and ornamentals have aphids, spider mites and whitefly problems. Vegetable crops are making high yields. Outbreaks of webworms in various trees have been reported. Forages are growing well and cattle have adequate amounts in most pastures. Calf working continues on late spring calves. Selling of fall-born calves and cull cows continues. Cattle prices remain high. Blueberries and peaches are producing good yields. High cost of fertilizer is causing producers to cut back on fertility programs. Livestock are doing well. Milk prices are increasing.
FAR WEST: Soil moisture ranges from very short to surplus, and crops and pastures are in very poor to excellent condition. Corn is in fair to good condition. Cotton is in very poor to excellent condition. Peanuts are in fair to excellent condition. Sorghum is in good to excellent condition. Winter wheat is in very poor to fair condition. Scattered showers and thunderstorms were reported across the region. Cotton looks good and sorghum looks promising.
WEST CENTRAL: Cooler temperatures this week along with extreme amounts of rainfall were reported in most areas. Flooding has been reported in many counties. Soil is saturated and water is standing in fields. Wheat harvest has been delayed once again due to heavy rainfall. Many cotton fields are very wet or under water. Cut hay is laying in fields and unable to be baled. Range and pasture conditions continue to improve with good rains. Livestock remain in good to excellent condition. Internal parasites have been reported in sheep and goats.
CENTRAL: Flooding has occurred across the district. Producers cannot get into the fields to bale hay. Much of the fruit and vegetable growers have too much water on their crops. Forage producers are concerned about nitrogen loss.
SOUTHEAST: Soil moisture is limiting access to fields to harvest hay or apply fertilizer. Continual rain has slowed or stopped all operations. Livestock are fairing well. Rice borer moths are being collected in traps but the infestation is low.
SOUTHWEST: Excellent May-June rainfall was reported at about 150 percent of the long term average. The region is green and the agriculture production outlook appears good. Corn, sorghum, cotton, peanuts, watermelons and cantaloupes are progressing. Corn and sorghum have matured and are starting to dry down. The harvest should start in about two to three weeks. Forage availability is above average for this time of the year. Harvesting of wheat, oats, beets (for processing), green beans and squash continues. Some watermelons and cantaloupes are being harvested. The onion harvest is complete but disappointing. Heavy rains as onions matured caused a serious increased incidence of disease problems. About 40 percent of the potential onion harvest in the Winter Garden region of Texas was rejected.
COASTAL BEND: Excessive rain causing some problems in grain harvest and hay cutting. Continued rain should keep grain harvest and cotton spraying at a standstill for most of the week. Livestock and pastures are in good condition.
SOUTH: Soil moisture throughout the region has been adequate due to rainfall. No irrigation has been reported in the western part of the region because of the constant rain in that area. All the rain has provided an abundance of native range and pasture forage. Dryland sorghum producers are concerned about the amount of rain. Harvesting should begin in next five to 10 days. Sorghum harvesting in the Starr County area was halted due to the rainfall, while in the Hidalgo County area it is peaking.