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Rain too little too late for small grain

Rain falls on some Texas farm land. More moisture needed for summer crops, hay and forage. Corn crop in trouble.

Rain came to many parts of Texas, giving some relief to drought-stricken crops and pastures, and—temporarily at least—alleviating the danger of wildfire.

The consensus among Texas AgriLife Extension Service personnel and farmers located where rain was received was that it came too late to save small-grain crops, and more rain will be needed soon for any substantial improvement in pasture and hay land.

Parts of Central Texas received from a trace to 4 inches of rain on May 13.

About 1 inch was more common, as was received at Davidson Brothers Farms, just east of Georgetown. The Davidson Brothers, Dennis and Buster, and son Dustin, raise stocker cattle and grow hay, as well as some corn and cotton.

"Our biggest rain since January was yesterday at about eight-tenths," Dennis said. "We had 8 inches of rain in a two-day period in September, which was enough moisture to get our oats up for grazing. But we didn't have another good rain until Christmas Eve."

There were small rains near the end of January, which they have "been pretty much living on" until the recent 0.9-inch rain, he said. 

"Corn: It's deceiving if you look at it. It's green, and if you don't know much about farming, you'll think it's alright," Dennis said. "But if you look at it right now, it's starting to tassel and it's not even waist high, so that's not going to make any grain. I don't even think it'll put an ear out."

Dennis said they'll probably either bale or ensile their corn. But because it won’t likely make any grain, the silage will not be of any quality, and will mainly be a filler-feed.

Local wheat was in similar condition, said Jared Ripple, AgriLife Extension integrated pest management agent for Williamson County. The crop may look good and golden from the road, but plants are stunted and stands thin. The crop is apparently making grain, but yields will be well below average.

More information on the current Texas drought and wildfire alerts can be found on the AgriLife Extension Agricultural Drought Task Force website at .


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