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Texas crop and weather

Heavy rains in many areas of the state benefitted row crops, greened up pastures, but delayed hay harvests and planting of some crops, reported Texas Cooperative Extension agents.

"Well, it just keeps raining, something we're just not used to around here," said J.D. Ragland, Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources in Floyd County. "Just this week we've had 5 inches. It's making it really difficult to get this year's cotton crop in up and going."

"All fields are saturated, and there was some hail damage reported on wheat, corn, soybeans and cotton," said Scott Strawn, Extension agent for agriculture and Natural Resources in Ochiltree County. "However the majority of the crops have benefitted tremendously as a result of the wet conditions. Range conditions are near perfect with the rainfall.Cattle are in great shape."

"Finally some cotton weather," said Lee Howard, Extension agent for agriculture and Natural Resources in Martin County. "Cotton producers are soaking up the high 80s to low 90s as they hurriedly plant their acreage. Cotton seems to be coming up in every field that we check."

Extension representatives gave the following regional reports:

PANHANDLE: Field activities are on hold until drier conditions return. Temperatures were near normal most of the week, with much of the region receiving from a quarter to a half inch of rain. There were isolated reports of 2 to 4 inches. Light hail caused some crop damage. Reports show last week's heavy rains caused flash flooding that washed out miles of fencing and damaged crops. Corn is rated fair to excellent with most areas reporting good. Cotton is 90 percent planted with stands rated mostly fair. Peanuts are 90 percent planted and stands are rated fair to good. Sorghum is 50 percent planted and stands are rated fair to good. Wheat is rated mostly good to excellent. Range conditions vary from very poor to excellent with most areas reporting good. Cattle are in good to excellent condition. Horn flies continue to be a major problem.

SOUTH PLAINS: Frequent thunderstorms have made spring planting a struggle. Rainfall ranged from a half to 6 inches. Some areas received hail and high winds, damaging crops and flooding fields. What cotton that did get planted has been held back by the cool and wet weather. Wheat looks good, though some was damaged by heavy rain and laid down (lodged) by high winds. Extension agronomists expect the wheat that wasn't damaged to produce top yields. Corn is in good condition and has responded well to recent rains. Only about 50 percent of the pumpkin acres have been planted. Sorghum that has been planted looks good. Peanuts look good overall and should survive the weather, but some fields were damaged severely by hail and heavy rains. Pastures and ranges are in good to excellent condition. Cattle continue to be in good to excellent condition.

ROLLING PLAINS: Rains continued to hamper the wheat harvest across the district, with some fields beginning to layover. When fields are dry enough for combines to enter, the humidity remains too high for harvest until late in the day. Only about 20 percent of the crop has been cut. Producers are worried about custom harvesters moving north and leaving little help in getting this year's crop out. Reports of 45- to 65-bushel dryland wheat have been coming in. Warm-season grass pastures are greening up, but some producers are worried about how much grass is under all the weeds. Some of the early planted cotton has emerged and is looking good. Livestock are in good condition. Recent rains have filled tanks and creeks.

NORTH: More rain came to the region, with some areas receiving torrential downpours. Soil moisture ranged from adequate to surplus, with surplus the norm for most areas. Stock tanks, lakes, creeks and rivers are full with some overflowing. Many producers have hay down in the fields. The rain has put a complete stop on the wheat and oat harvest in some areas, but boosted row crop prospects. Corn is in good condition, with 100 percent emerged and 30 percent to 80 percent silked. Soybeans are in good condition and 100 percent planted and emerged. Sorghum is planted and in fair to good condition. Winter wheat is headed and in good condition, though lodging has become a serious problem in some fields. Oats are about half harvested. Lodging is becoming a serious problem in wheat. Bermuda grass is looking good. Cotton is planted and about 35 percent to 50 percent squared and in fair to good condition. Peaches continue to do well. Livestock are in good condition. Insect populations are on the rise, and some fungal problems are showing up.

EAST: The district received plenty of rainfall, but this has prevented producers from harvesting hay. Forages and vegetables are doing well. Lakes and farm ponds are full. Blueberries, peaches, squash, tomatoes, beans, onions and potatoes are all being harvested.

FAR WEST: Soil moisture ranges from very short to surplus, and pastures are in very poor to good condition. Corn is in poor to good condition. Cotton is in fair to good condition. Sorghum is in good to excellent condition. Winter wheat is in very poor to good condition. Oats are in fair to good condition. Scattered showers were reported across the region with rain accumulations of 0.2 to 1.5 inches. Pastures are improving because of recent rains. Cantaloupes are doing well with some being replanted.

WEST CENTRAL: Cooler temperatures, light showers and cloudy conditions, accompanied by high humidity, came to the region. Recent rains have slowed field activity. Flooding has taken out fences in a few areas, and some producers lost hay cuttings due to washing. Cotton planting has been in full swing where field conditions allow. Most small grain fields need to dry out for grain to mature. Wheat fields should be harvested in the next few weeks. Where fields are dry enough, there has been some cutting and baling. Pastures continue to green up and have excellent growth. Fungus problems have been reported in many landscape plants and turf grasses. Livestock are in good to excellent condition. Grazing continues. Fly problems are increasing on livestock. Pecan trees are loaded with the largest crop in years. Peach harvest is underway.

CENTRAL: Heavy rains kept wheat fields too wet for harvesters to enter. Black point fungus has been detected, and with moisture delaying harvest, sprouting in the head could be a problem. Producers continue to cut hay when they can get in the fields. Cattle are fat and doing well. Cotton is off to a good start.

SOUTHEAST: Scattered rains slowed or stopped all farming activities. Field conditions are still too wet for much hay harvest or fertilizer applications to be done. Many fields are ready to cut, with producers waiting on drier conditions. No reports of insect or disease damage were filed. Livestock are doing well. Despite the heavy spring rains, there are varying amounts of grass in pastures.

SOUTHWEST: Rainfall was about twice the long-term average for May. The year-to-date cumulative rainfall is about 125 percent of the long-term average. Minor additional rainfall over the weekend delayed harvesting. Farmers are cutting an excellent hay crop. Corn, sorghum, cotton, peanuts, potatoes, watermelons and cantaloupes are making good progress. Wildlife populations are down because of the recent drought, but rain has improved the nutrition situation for remaining wildlife. A good fawn crop is expected. The harvesting of wheat, oats, cabbage, beets (for processing), onions, green beans and squash should resume as soon as fields dry.

COASTAL BEND: Scattered showers, some heavy, were received early this week with sunny weather in the latter part of the week. Some field flooding occurred, but did not persist. Crop conditions have greatly improved with the rains. Cattle prices are still good with grass plentiful. Hay continues to be in good supply and is being sold at a premium.

SOUTH: Adequate soil moisture conditions was reported for the entire region with good to excellent range and pasture conditions. The western part of the region received a timely rainfall for dryland corn and sorghum. Warmer temperatures were the norm for most of the cotton area, and the crop made excellent progress. The abundance of high-quality forage has helped livestock retain excellent body condition. Early planted corn is approaching its dough stage. All sorghum planted in the western part of the region has headed and should begin changing color within the next seven to 10 days. Watermelons are in the blooming stage. The sugarcane harvest is finished. The vegetable and citrus crop harvests are nearly complete. Row crops are growing well under hot weather and moist conditions.

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