With the passing of Halloween, and Thanksgiving pie baking a few days away, Texas pumpkin producers are bringing in the final harvests from the South Plains region.
"Pumpkin sales are still taking place, but starting to slow down," said Jett Major, Texas Cooperative Extension district administrator in Lubbock. "Yields and sales have been slightly better than last year."
Extension regional offices reported the following conditions for the past week:
Central: Windy conditions prevailed this week, and rain is needed. Temperatures have cooled to near normal for this time of year. Some small grain fields have experienced armyworm problems. Cotton harvest is very late. Pecan drop has begun, and many producers began harvesting.
Coastal Bend: Much cooler weather moved into the area. The r! atoon rice harvest began with average yields reported. Cotton producers began deep tillage and stalk destruction. Ranchers are cutting hay and working cattle.
East: A cold front dropped temperatures significantly. Some areas received up to 2 inches of rain. However, other areas are still in need of moisture. Hay supplies are excellent, and many producers are still baling hay. Winter pastures are being planted in areas that have received rain. Producers in Anderson County are planting clover and ryegrass and preparing to plant pine seedlings. Livestock are in good condition. Calf weaning is nearing completion. Demand for cattle is strong; however prices are weaker for inferior cows and calves.
Far West: Topsoil moisture was reported as very short to adequate. Very windy conditions were reported with gusts up to 49 mph, but overall temperatures were milder. Val Verde County reported one-quarter inch of rain, but all other areas of the region remained dry. Range, pastures and cotton are all in very poor to excellent condition. Peanuts are in poor to excellent condition. Winter wheat is in very poor to good condition. Ranchers need rain because pastures are dry. Pawnee pecans, an earlier maturing variety, are all harvested. The rest of the pecan crop will wait for a frost to open the shucks. Red chiles are being harvested. Fall onions are already planted and emerged with good stands. The final cut of alfalfa is complete.
North: Soil moisture ranges from short to adequate. Rain early in the week slowed wheat planting. Small grains are emerging slowly. With night temperatures in the 40s and 50s, growth of warm season grasses have slowed. Farmers are trying to sell surplus hay. Conditions are good for the current planting season, and winter annuals are doing well. Summer pastures and livestock are in good shape.
Panhandle: Soil moisture ranges from very short to surplus with most areas reporting short. Most areas need moisture to improve wheat and range conditions. Corn is still being harvested in some! fields. Cotton ranges from very poor to excellent with most areas reporting fair. Producers began harvesting some fields. Peanuts are rated fair as the harvest continues. The sunflower harvest continues. Wheat ranges from very poor to good with most areas reporting fair. Range conditions are rated very poor to good with most areas reporting fair. Cattle are in good condition.
Rolling Plains: The cotton harvest is in full swing, with dryland yields ranging from 600 to 670 pounds per acre. Producers have defoliated mature cotton, and this year's crop is good. Lack of rain has dried out winter wheat, or caused it to fail to emerge. Pastures are beginning to play out, and some supplemental feeding has begun. Cattle are being shipped out of the county because of the lack of winter grazing. The calf market has started to slide because of dry conditions. Most insect pressure has slowed.
South: The weather has been mild with cool temperatures throughout most of the region. Adequate soil moisture conditions have helped corn and onion planting. Sugarcane and citrus harvesting has begun. In the western parts of the region, cabbage harvesting in some early-planted fields was reported. Spinach planting continued and is expected to be completed by the end of next week. Most vegetable crops are doing well. Because of recent rain and mild temperatures, native range and pastures are in good condition, helping livestock remain in good to fair condition.
South Plains: The first freeze damaged some leaves on cotton plants but did not kill the plants themselves. Daytime highs are only reaching from upper 60s to lower 70s F. The cotton harvest continued with good to excellent yields being reported. The sorghum harvest continued with above average yields being reported. The peanut harvest continued. Winter wheat is in fair to good condition. Wheat growth has slowed down due to warm conditions. Fields still look good but could use some rain and cooler temperatures. Pastures and ranges are in fair to good condition and are beginning to dry. Cattle are in mostly good condition. Producers are now beginning to supplement cattle due to dry conditions and decreasing grazing quality.
Southeast: Rain last week promoted the planting of winter pastures. Ryegrass and clover are being planted. High winds have dried out soils. Some ratoon rice and soybeans were harvested, and hay was baled. Livestock are doing fine with no reports of insects or disease.
Southwest: While year-to-date cumulative rainfall remains at about 120 percent of the long-term average, the region is dry with only about one-third inch of rain in almost two months. Forage availability remains above average for this time of the year, but grasses are showing stress, and the soil is cracking from dryness. Farmers are heavily irrigating fall crops. The recent cool weather will help conserve limited moisture. The land is ready for early spring planting. The cotton harvest is still behind schedule. The peanut, cabbage, spinach, green bean and pickling-cucumber harvest continues. The pecan! harvest is almost complete.
West Central: There were warm daytime temperatures and cool nights with a few counties reporting a mild frost. Fire danger is increasing. Cotton production continues and harvest is well under way with good yields being reported. Field preparations for fall planting continues. Dry conditions have delayed some field preparation work. Wheat is in fair to poor condition and needs moisture. Planting small grains for grazing and hay continues. Range and pasture conditions continue go be fair to good in most areas. Livestock remain in fair to excellent condition. Pecan harvest is in full swing, and producers are expecting good yields.