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Texas crop, weather

The tropical depression following on the heels of Hurricane Alex brought more rain, improving pastures and benefiting crops, reported Texas AgriLife Extension Service personnel.

Native and improved pastures responded well, making possible second hay cuttings in many areas, and rescuing livestock producers from providing supplemental feed. While most of the state benefited, producers in North and Central Texas needed it the most, according to AgriLife Extension agents.

Two weeks ago, producers were feeding hay in this area, said Joshua W. Blanek, AgriLife Extension agent for Somervell County, southwest of Dallas. But rains from both storms really turned things around, he said.

"There was another round of showers this week, with reports ranging from 1 inch to 1.5 inches," Blanek said. "This was icing on the cake following last week's rain. Producers who hadn't already were busy fertilizing hay fields and were excited about getting a good second cutting of hay, quite opposite of the feeling just two weeks ago. Everybody's happy."

Though the rain was a boon to many crops, it came too late for corn, said Lyle Zoeller, AgriLife Extension agent for Coryell County, northwest of Temple.

Before the storms brought rain, Coryell County was extremely dry, he said.

"I drove from here (Gatesville) up to Amarillo, and we were the driest place I saw."

Coryell County sorghum, pastures and native grasses all responded to the rain, but many producers will probably harvest what corn there is for silage rather than grain, he said.

"The corn was planted early when it was so dry, and it didn't get any rain," Zoeller said. "We're very excited about the forages. The big thing for me (is improvement in) the native pastures."

In AgriLife Extension office in McLennan County, Waco, Shane McLellan said corn producers were in the same shape as those in Coryell County.

"A lot of it is being cut for silage," McLellan said, "We had problems early with pollination due to heat, so we had a lesser corn crop anyway than what we should have had, even with the dry weather."

And to make matters worse, grasshoppers were worse than usual this year, he said. Many Central Texas counties were experiencing severe infestations.

"The actual tonnage on (corn) silage was less than what it should be because grasshoppers were stripping the leaves off," McLellan said.

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