In the Texas Panhandle and South Plains region, Nicholas Kenny with Texas AgriLife says there will be little to no dryland crop production based on precipitation accumulation this year.
“Certainly, there’s going to be no dryland corn, sorghum is going to be questionable, and if it continues like this, there will be no dryland cotton to speak of,” Kenny said in a Texas AgriLife report. “We’ve had a lot of germination issues. A lot of people who have planted and just been sandblasted and sun-blasted so badly that they’re running out of time to be successful at all.”
Irrigated crops were surviving, he said, but with as much as 0.6 inch of moisture being lost per day from evapotranspiration, irrigators were running center pivots around the clock just to keep up with water needs, he said. He added that high commodity prices should offset the increased costs of constant irrigation pumping.
In Central Texas, some areas received rain, but area conditions remain extremely dry and high winds continue to be an issue. Stock pond levels were low along with hay supplies. Many producers are buying silage to feed livestock, according to Texas AgriLife reports.
East Texas, which normally receives the most rain annually in the state, also has suffered from lack of precipitation. In the last two weeks, parts of the region received as much as seven inches of rain, which raised lake and pond levels and improved pastures. However, agronomists say that much more moisture was needed throughout the area to relieve stressed forages and crops. Along with the dry weather, grasshoppers continue to be a problem for farmers and ranchers.
Cotton planting is finished in West Texas, but the outlook is bleak for cotton production, according to crop specialists and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency. Dryland cotton in the area is a total failure, says Texas AgriLife, as there was not enough moisture to promote germination and emergence.
Extreme heat and low rainfall in South Texas is taking a toll on produce. However, farmers are harvesting watermelons. Some areas show signs of overgrazing as producers contemplate hay storage and cattle herds across the state.
Many ranches are out of grasses for grazing. Kenny added that most producers can’t afford to provide supplemental feed to livestock any longer, and they will continue to cull herds.