Texas Crop and Weather Report April 30th

Texas A&M AgriLife Today

May 15, 2024


A wide range of rainfall amounts were recorded over the past week and soil moisture was good. Two tornadoes were confirmed in Navarro County and hail scattered throughout the district. Pastures had improved, although weeds were prevalent. The winds caused lodging in wheat in some areas and caused significant directional lean in corn, which should rebound over time. Peach growers were finishing up thinning with lots of doubles this year. Producers were able to assess tree losses in pecan orchards, which resulted in at least 25% loss of trees in both irrigated and dryland orchards. Small grains were grazed out, and producers cut oats and wheat that were inadequate for hay or silage. Some wheat and oats were laying over due to plentiful rains. Corn and grain sorghum looked very good in most areas. Cotton planting began, but soil moisture delayed progress. Producers were preparing for hay season; those who cut before last week’s rains will have an extended drying period and quality will be diminished. Livestock were in good condition and fattening up.


Widespread rain led to a few isolated areas of flooding, but it was a positive for soil moisture and livestock drinking-source reserves. Many producers were cutting and baling wheat for livestock hay but there were concerns over the decreased quality of hay that was cut and rained on before it could be baled. Wheat was beginning to mature quickly, and stocker calves were being taken off wheat pasture.


Dry and windy conditions persisted, rapidly depleting topsoil moisture and necessitating rain for field crop growth. Pasture conditions began to decline, and high winds exacerbated moisture depletion. Fertilizer and herbicide applications continued on hay fields, with some hay cuttings ongoing. Approximately a quarter of the rice crop was flooded. Corn neared tasseling, but additional moisture was needed soon for sustained growth. Cotton producers were scouting and spraying for insects and weeds, with cotton replanting occurring in areas affected by heavy rainfall. More rain was needed as the region continued to experience dry conditions. Livestock remained decent, with calves gaining weight. Cattle prices remained high, and pastures were drying quickly, prompting many to begin cutting hay for the first time this season.


Scattered rain showers fell across the district earlier in the week, but winds caused the topsoil in many of the fields to dry out. The high winds and warm temperatures brought in a storm that dropped at least a 1/2 inch of rain. Adequate subsoil moisture remained in most of the district. Some farmers started planting corn to take advantage of the moisture and fields were being prepped for cotton planting. Wheat was starting to head out. Many producers pulled cattle off wheat pastures before the rain and those fields were starting to head out. Many other fields were heading out as well due to increased moisture and temperatures. Cattle were in good condition with warm-season grasses emerging.


The high winds were rough on recently planted crops. Overall soil conditions ranged from adequate to short, and wheat yield prospects continued to decline with above-normal temperatures and windy and dry conditions. Irrigated wheat looked good, but the dryland declined as many fields were going into heading. The number of growers planting corn increased as mid-afternoon temperatures gradually warmed. Fields planted to alternative oilseed crops reached the bloom stage. Range and pastures were still greening up, and spring calving was ongoing.


The district received various amounts of rainfall over the past week, including storms that brought damage and rainfall totaling 3-8 inches, which caused some areas to flood due to already saturated soil. Topsoil and subsoil moisture conditions are adequate to surplus across all counties. Pasture and range averaged from excellent to good to fair for counties within the region. Wheat and warm-season grasses were all progressing well. Corn was up, but there were some issues with early growing and excessive moisture being a concern. The pastures were green, and the ponds were full. Feral hogs were becoming more active throughout the region. Livestock were in good condition, but the horn fly population began to increase with all the moisture.


The average reported temperatures for the week ranged from lows in the 60s and highs in the high 80s to 90s. Average rainfall ranged from 1/3 inch to 1 inch. The dry conditions led to a small wildfire west of Alpine, but the fire was quickly controlled. Producers were preparing fields for cotton, and wheat has been rolled for hay for livestock. Corn, sorghum and melons were taking off and growing. Producers were controlling weeds and building beds in preparation for cotton. Soil moisture levels ranged from short to adequate, but more weed control was needed with the recent rain. Pecan trees were pollinating. Range conditions showed a slight increase in forage due to rainfall the previous week. Pastures were beginning to green up and looked much better, especially in the northern part of the region. Cattle were beginning to be put back to rangeland and off hay. Lambs and goats were finishing up with late works in the coming weeks.


Average rainfall ranged from 1-2 inches this past week with soil conditions looking good. Several small grain fields were cut but were waiting to dry to bale. Warm season forages were being fertilized, and herbicide applied for weed control. Sorghum fields were starting good and some baling of wheat and oat fields continued as producers try to replenish depleted hay stocks while others were choosing to graze out fields. Weeds were abundant due to the rain and last two years of drought. Tree damage was seen on multiple species, including pecans having die back and live oaks dying from hypoxalon canker. Wheat remains in fair to good condition and cotton producers were spraying weeds and preparing fields for planting. Winter wheat has headed across the county and many producers have planted sorghum and sudan and have established stands. Pecan crops remain hopeful. Cattle were good as spring and summer grasses began taking off. Livestock remained in good condition. The market opened with good demand on most classes of calves and yearlings. Stocker steers and heifers both sold $5-$10 higher. Feeder steers and heifers sold steady from last week, as well as packer cows and bulls. Pairs and bred cows sold in good demand on a limited test.


Weather conditions were slightly cooler than normal with moderate winds occurring throughout most of the daylight hours. Rain fell throughout the region, with amounts ranging from none to about 2.25 inches. More rain was in the forecast, and it was cloudy with humidity rising. Soil moisture was good, and crops were responding well. There was some pest presence with caterpillars heavy in trees. Ladybug presence was also relatively high, indicating a proportional response to pest insect presence. Final hay cuttings of cool-season grasses in the south generated a good supply of round bales. Forages continued to progress with consistent rain. Pastures were thriving, and continued fertilization and weed control was still evident. Supplemental feeding slowed as pasture and range conditions improved. Livestock conditions remained good, with producers still selling stock. Spring lambing and kidding was completed while spring shearing continued. Wildlife were more active with plenty to eat.


Conditions in the district ranged from cool to mild and humid with some areas receiving rain while others received little to none. The rain should benefit forage production and help forage sorghum crops. Strawberry crops were slow. Wheat and oat crops were being prepared for harvest while corn continued to develop and cotton planting was complete in some areas. Corn and grain sorghum crops in some areas were starting to stress and yield potential was shrinking due to windy, warm and dry conditions, while others were progressing well with most corn at the silking stage and grain sorghum in the soft dough stage. Cotton plants were growing well but will need to be watered once plant height increases. Row crops in some areas looked good but will need some rain soon for good yields. Onions were still being harvested and citrus was being irrigated. Some hay meadows were being irrigated and some have been baled. Sugar cane aphids were causing issues for sorghum acres, but other crops remained pest-free for the most part. Pastures remained in fair to good condition but were starting to slowly deteriorate due to the lack of moisture. In Maverick County, planted crops were emerging as normal and coastal Bermuda was producing good hay bales. Irrigation water from the local canal system was being reduced in Maverick County due to the current drought and lack of water in the Rio Bravo River. Beef cattle producers were closely monitoring their herd size to maintain their range and pasture conditions. Beef cattle prices remained high and looked to stay that way due to lower overall numbers. In Live Oak County, ranchers were still actively selling their cattle and prices suffered some due to highly pathogenic avian influenza, which was found in a few dairy herds throughout the U.S. Livestock and wildlife continued to flourish thanks to good range and pasture conditions in late winter and early spring.

Southern Livestock

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