Despite the continuing drought and poor soil conditions, rainfall Texas has received so far this year have proved beneficial.
In Texas, planted sorghum acreage was about the same as last year but has seen a 9 percent increase in harvested acres early in the year
While most of Texas has received rain over the last two weeks, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) reports it has not been enough to put much of a dent in the long-lasting impact of ongoing drought trends across the region.
As sorghum harvest spreads from Deep South Texas and the Coastal Plains into northeast regions of Texas, and eastern New Mexico's alfalfa producers wrap up another fresh cutting, dryland cotton continues to struggle in many fields, healthy for the most part but beginning to feel the effects of higher temperatures and depleted soil moisture.
Coastal Bend farmer Charles Ring lamented about another year of dry conditions, expressing concern over the impact of dry weather for the fourth consecutive year in a row across South Texas and the negative impact it has had on croplands across the region.
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“We are praying for fall rains to come in a timely manner to replenish our soil, something we have not had enough of in about three years running,” he said.
Ring grows grain sorghum, cotton, corn and sesame on his farm near Corpus Christi.
As combines continued to roll across sorghum fields in Nueces and surrounding counties in the Coastal Bend, storm clouds formed late last week dropping light to heavy rains across parts of the region providing water that is desperately needed as soil moisture remains low in vast areas of South Texas and extending across much of the state. Ring and crop experts say steady rains in South Texas are desperately needed to increase the depleted soil moisture profile.
According to Bobby McCool, Agriculture and Natural Resource specialist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in Sinton, the region's soil moisture level reaches about 4 feet under the surface currently, but the desired soil moisture level would be between 5and 10 feet deep.