Farm Progress

Hay fields respond to moisture

Robert Burns

July 21, 2010

2 Min Read

With few exceptions, hay meadows, rangeland and row crops continued to respond to rain received from tropical storms, according to Texas AgriLife Extension Service personnel.

The rains continued to cause flooding in South Texas, particularly in Hidalgo and Starr counties. The challenge for many farmers in this area was to get sorghum harvested before the next rain, said Brad Cowan, AgriLife Extension agent for Hidalgo County.

"We're harvesting grain sorghum as fast as we can," Cowan said. "Some of the fields are still too wet to get into, and, of course, we've got challenges with long lines at elevators and those sorts of things too."

Cowan said he'd only heard limited reports of sprouting in the grain heads, though there had been some quality reduction discounts at the elevators.

"The main thing is we do have dry weather right now, and we're trying to get the crop out of the field as fast as we can," he said.

While rains were a challenge to South Texas agriculture, hay producers in East and North Texas were particularly thankful for the revitalization of pastures that it brought, AgriLife Extension agents reported. The rain allowed many farmers to take a second cutting.

But when it comes to hay supplies, local producers aren't out of the woods, yet, said Chad Gulley, AgriLife Extension agent for Nacogdoches County.

Like much of East Texas, Gulley said rains were hit and miss, and so are the hay stocks.

"Parts of the county received rain, and parts are pretty dry," he said. "Some producers are cutting hay; some of the cuttings are pretty good. Some are pretty light."

Gulley said many got a first cutting, but the unusually cool weather meant the Bermuda grass was diluted by a lot of ryegrass.

But what's been unusual, this year is the severe infestation of both grasshoppers and armyworms.

"Producers who have been in the county for a long time tell me this is the worst case of grasshoppers they've ever seen," Gulley said.

Grasshoppers typically follow dry weather problems, but the armyworms were early, he noted.

"We usually don't get armyworms until late July or August, but we've had them for a couple of weeks now," Gulley said.

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