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Rainfall improves conditions across Southwest

Rainfall amounts highly variable across SW region. Some areas experience damaging hail, high winds. Most areas rate conditions better than last year.  

Many areas of the Southwest received at least some relief from drought conditions this week as scattered showers and thunderstorms, sometimes heavy and some with damaging wind and hail, moved across the region.

A Southwest Farm Press mini-survey of Extension specialists, farmers and other agriculture observers indicated that rainfall totals were highly variable as was hail and wind damage.

Most areas report conditions improved over the past few weeks and were significantly better than a year ago.

Greg Cronholm, Texas AgriLife Extension integrated pest management specialist for Hale and Swisher counties, said his area did receive beneficial rainfall. “Typical rainfall amounts ranged from 1.5 to 3 inches,” he said.

 Salvador Vitanza, AgriLife, IPM-Extension Agent, says no rain fell this week in El Paso and Hudspeth Counties. “The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) shows that El Paso has received an accumulated total precipitation of 1.38 inches since the start of the year,” Vitanza said. “For comparison, the average accumulated precipitation from January to May from 1879 to 2008 is 2.02 inches.”

Vic Schoonover, reporting for North Texas-Oklahoma-Kansas Cotton (NTOK), says rainfall is highly variable for much of Oklahoma. “More than 2 inches has fallen at Altus in Jackson County.”

But much more is needed, he said. “Unless there are several large rains on the watershed north of Lake Altus in Jackson County, there will be no irrigation this year in the Lugert Irrigation District. The lake is less than 22 percent full, lower than the minimum amount allowed for any irrigation.”

He says Tillman County south and north of Frederick received more than an inch of rain this week. “More than 2 inches to 2.5 inches fell in Comanche County near Lawton. Traveling up the I-44 corridor to Chickasha and Oklahoma City and west to Elk City on I-40, rainfall totaled more than 1 inch. Still more fell in the southeastern and northern portions of the state.

“Like the Texas AgriLife article published in the recent Southwest Farm Press Daily reported recently, farmers are planting cotton as fast as possible. Some fields of hybrid feed for hay planted early due to the early, warm spring are nearly a foot tall in fields around Snyder in Kiowa County,” Schoonover said.

“We received just under 2 inches yesterday (Wednesday) and last night,” said Scott Averhoff, an Ellis County, Texas, farmer who farms near Waxahachie. “About 10 days ago we received 0.8 to 0.9 inches. Other than that it has been dry,” he said.

“No sir. We were right on the western edge of it every day,” said cotton farmer Eric Seidenberger, Garden City, Texas, just west of San Angelo.

“I could hear the thunder and smell the rain, but we didn’t receive any. Things are up and going well, however, even the dryland. We received some good moisture pre-plant, but we need some more soon.”

Variable amounts

Scott Russell, Texas AgriLife Extension IPM agent for Terry and Yoakum Counties, says rainfall “was variable. Most of Terry County received over an inch with reports up to 1.5 inches. But many spots only received 0.2 to 0.4 inch.”

He said Yoakum County is even more variable, with the largest amounts being in the Tokio area with about 0.5 inch. “As one moves westward across Yoakum County, there was generally less rainfall; however, now and then there is an isolated spot where an inch was received (very isolated spots). There was some scattered hail, although I am unaware of anyone requiring replanting due to hail.”

Monti Vandiver, Extension Agent-IPM inMuleshoe, Texas, said recentstorms “have battered some area crops. Some fields in the path of the severe storms have been completely destroyed.

Local weather stations recorded from around 0.1 inch at the Muleshoe Wildlife Refuge to 0.4 and 0.8 inch at the Friona and Muleshoe weather stations for the week ending June 6. Individual reports of over 3.5 inches have been received as well. In most cases, the large rainfall areas experienced hail and washing.”

Kerry Siders, IPM, Hockley and Cochran Counties, Texas, said Levelland received 0.59 inch Monday night (June 4). “Rain amounts for Hockley and Cochran Counties ranged from zero to 2.2 inches. The area received damaging wind and hail as well. During May, we received a total of 0.99 inch.”

Manda Anderson, Gaines County, Texas, IPM agent, said Gaines County received 0.3 to 1.8 inch Monday evening. “The higher rainfall totals were spotty but everyone received some rainfall. We did have some cotton damaged by blowing sand, and small areas had a little hail damage,” she said. “Overall, our soil moisture profile is looking a lot better than last year.”

Bill Ree, Bryan/College Station, says the area has received “none.”

IPM agent Ed Bynum said rainfall amounts for the Texas Panhandle have ranged from “nothing to 3 inches.”

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