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Texas crop, weather

Livestock and crop conditions are improving in many regions following a series of slow-moving weather systems bringing rain.

In the South Plains, wheat fields were reported in good condition, said Jett Majors, Texas Cooperative Extension district administrator in Lubbock.

"If we can stay away from hail storms, we should see some of the best wheat yields ever," he said.

Crops in the Rolling Plains region are improving as well, said Galen Chandler, district Extension administrator in Vernon.

"Wheat and cotton farmers are looking forward to some warmer, dryer days so that they can get the wheat out of the fields and the cotton in," he said.

Officials with Texas Cooperative Extension gave the following regional reports:

PANHANDLE: Temperatures were slightly above average but dropped by week's end. Most of the area received from 1 to 8 inches of rain, and that put many field activities on hold. Corn planting is about complete, and stands are fair to good. Sorghum is about 25 percent planted, and stands are mostly good. Cotton is about 75 percent planted, and peanut planting continues. Wheat is mostly good to excellent, but high winds, hail, tornadoes and flooding damaged the crop in the northeast part of the region. Leaf and stripe rust is showing up but should have minimal impact on yield. Range conditions are mostly fair to good. Cattle are in good condition, but are being pestered by horn flies.

SOUTH PLAINS: Weather was cool and damp. Farmers are working to plant cotton in any fields that are dry enough because the optimal planting time is passing. Cotton seedlings are struggling to emerge because of cool temperatures. Wheat fields are in good condition and barring hail storms, should bring in some of the best yields ever. Corn is growing rapidly and in good condition. Corn farmers haven't had to irrigate. Pumpkin planting is in high gear. Pastures and ranges are in good condition. Cattle are in good to excellent condition.

ROLLING PLAINS: A surplus of rain has filled stock ponds and creeks. Even the rivers are running constantly. Cattle are being shipped and branded.

NORTH: Soil moisture ranges from adequate to surplus. The rain has helped pastures and crops but has hampered hay operations. Hay yields are good – about 4 to 6 bales per acre – but quality is lower because it is too mature. Despite the rain, bermudagrass pastures seem to be slow-growing due to cooler temperatures. Corn is about 25 percent silked and progressing rapidly in good condition. Soybeans are in fair condition. Grain sorghum is in excellent condition. Cotton planting continues. Oats are being harvested. Livestock are in good condition and grazing on ryegrass, clover and warm season grasses. Range and pasture conditions are good.

EAST: Cotton farmers are concerned that wet conditions could cause disease problems. The corn crop is fair at best, and there are some problems with feral hogs. Squash, onions, potatoes, and some beans are being harvested, as are early peach varieties. Livestock markets remain strong and stable. Cattle are in good to excellent condition with flies and parasite control under way. Grasshopper populations appear to be increasing. Most of the area got from one-quarter of an inch to 5 inches of rain, filling up ponds. Producers are cutting fair to excellent supplies of hay.

FAR WEST: Soil moisture ranges from very short to surplus. Recent scattered rain showers left up to 5 inches in places. Ranges and pastures are in very poor to good condition. Sorghum is in excellent condition. Winter wheat is in very poor to good condition. Oats are in fair to good condition.

WEST CENTRAL: A very cool, humid week was marked with as much as 7 inches of rain. Some roadways, fences, buildings and homes were damaged. Many ponds have filled up, and some are still catching rain. Fields in Tom Green County are thriving with moisture and growth from spring crops. Jones County farmers are unable to get in the fields due to moisture. Cotton planting is stalled because of rain. Some oats and wheat have been harvest. Livestock are in good condition, but some meat goats are afflicted with sore mouth. Sheep shearing has begun where conditions are dry enough.

CENTRAL: Cattle continue to improve. Recent rains saturated soils. Grain sorghum is in excellent condition. Corn is progressing rapidly. Most oat fields have been harvested. Some stock tanks are having problems with algae.

SOUTHEAST: Rain showers held up hay baling and fertilizer application. Livestock conditions are improving. The rice will be late this year due to the unfavorable weather conditions which limited the amount of time farmers could tend their fields. Hay crops are down due to the rain, and pastures are in poor condition because fertilizer couldn't be applied to the flooded fields. Livestock are doing well.

SOUTHWEST: Sporadic thunderstorms deposited up to 3 inches of rainfall. The rain caused some flooding in the San Antonio area and delayed the wheat, oats, onion, beets, cabbage and green bean harvest. Overall, the May rains have helped green up the region, improve forage availability and provide an excellent boost to corn, sorghum and cotton.

COASTAL BEND: Recent rains will help the yield potential for grain, cotton crops and grasses, but it's a little late for the corn crop. Rangelands and pastures are in good shape. Livestock are in good condition.

SOUTH: Soil moisture conditions throughout the majority of the region has been adequate. In the western area, fields were very wet due to rain which caused minor flooding. Wheat harvesting will soon be completed if conditions become sufficiently dry. Producers have saved on the cost of irrigating this since the rainfall has occurred at critical times in the growing cycle. Plenty of high-quality forage has been produced making pasture conditions mostly good to excellent. Producers say their livestock are in good to excellent condition, and there has been no need for supplemental feeding. Cotton made good progress.

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