Robert burns, Texas AgriLife Extension media specialist, reports in his weekly Texas crop and weather update that most of the grain production areas of the state are experiencing drought.

He wrote that grain crops in the upper Gulf Coast, Central Texas and North Texas started off the year with much better moisture conditions than those in the High Plains, but it’s the “same old song and dance” there when it comes to moisture, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert.

“We need help from Mother Nature pretty soon to maintain yield potentials,” said Ronnie Schnell, AgriLife Extension state cropping systems specialist, College Station.

The upper Gulf Coast, the Blacklands and North Texas had good moisture at planting times, but most of the grain crop needs a good rain, he said. Planting was in early March in the Central and North regions and mid- to late-February in the Gulf Coast area.

Areas in the northern Blacklands have received a little more rain than the Central and Gulf Coast region, Schnell said. Crops in all three areas are still OK, but won’t stay that way long without rain in the next week or so.

Freezes delayed planting in some areas, and late freezes damaged corn in the northern Blacklands and resulted in replanting of other crops, but the real issue remains moisture.

“Over the past three months, the area of the state under at least moderate drought has increased from about 50 percent to almost 75 percent,” Schnell said.

More information on the current Texas drought and wildfire alerts can be found on the AgriLife Extension Agricultural Drought Task Force website at http://agrilife.tamu.edu/drought/ .

The Drought Monitor also shows intensifying drought across much of the Western U.S., including large swaths of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Utah. The map shows virtually all of Arizona, Nevada, California and Oregon with drought either persisting or intensifying.

The rest of the country remains drought-free or with diminishing drought status.