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Texas remains in serious drought

Texas remains in serious drought
Texas remains under severe drought conditions. North-central and extreme northeast Texas are exceptions. Cattlemen selling off livestock.

A few areas received rain, but except for parts of north-central and extreme northeast Texas, the state continued to suffer from moderate to exceptional drought, according the U.S. Drought monitor.

Even where the drought had lifted, Texas AgriLife Extension Service personnel reported shortages of hay and damaged crops from lack of rain earlier.

The entire Panhandle remained in a severe to exceptional drought. A report from Mike Bragg, AgriLife Extension agent for Dallam County, northwest of Amarillo, was typical of agent reports from the region for the last week of May.

"Two fires up at reporting time. … One that consumed 15,280 acres -- cause unknown. The other burned 600 acres and was caused by downed power poles due to extreme winds," Bragg said. "Critical fire danger weather conditions are likely this weekend. Farmers were busy irrigating summer crops, completing planting of corn and cotton, and haying wheat and alfalfa."

Likewise, the report from Pasquale Swaner, AgriLife Extension agent for Falls County, east of Temple, typified Central Texas conditions.

"Some rainfall fell across the county this past week," Swaner said."Temperatures are 95-plus, with high humidity levels. Farmers are harvesting the last of the wheat and oats this week. Corn and milo are stressed due to the lack of rainfall throughout the growing season. Stocker operators are shipping cattle out to feedlots. This week should be the last of cattle to be shipped out by stockers."

Conditions varied considerably across East Texas, but the report from Blaine Jernigan, AgriLife Extension agent for Rusk County, mirrored the common themes.

"The weather is dry with no significant rainfall occurring during the reporting period," Jernigan said. "Winds continue to be high, depleting soil moisture. There was very limited hay production occurring at this time."

The report by Arlan Gentry, AgriLife Extension agent for Ward County, southwest of Odessa, was similar to many of those by Far West county agents. 

"No change," Gentry said.  "No rain, temperatures in the 90s and 100s, and still breezy to windy. Producers are making choices to sell cattle versus continued feeding. A couple of brush fires this week, but luckily nothing large or really damaging."

In South Texas, extremely hot weather was rapidly drying out areas that received rain earlier in the month.

"Any improvements from mid-May showers have dried up with prolonged triple-digit weather," said Caleb Eaton, AgriLife Extension agent for Zapata County. "Water levels at Falcon Lake continue to drop at a staggering pace."

 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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