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Texas crop, weather report

Producers and agricultural officials around the state continue to assess the impact of an Easter weekend freeze, according to Texas Cooperative Extension officials.

No sooner did the freeze melt, however, than spring rains, hail and wind storms began throughout most regions.

Here are reports from districts around the state:

PANHANDLE: Most of the area received at least 1 inch of rain. Thunderstorms that brought the rain also brought hail and tornadoes. Wet conditions have slowed planting and land preparation activities. Soil moisture is short to surplus. Wheat is poor to excellent. Leaf rust and powdery mildew have been diagnosed in some fields. Range is mostly fair to good. Cattle are in fair to good condition.

SOUTH PLAINS: Weather included warmer temperatures, wind, tornadoes and hail. Soil moisture is adequate. Field preparation is in full swing. Many wheat fields have been cut for hay. Freeze from a couple of weeks ago caused significant damage to primary buds of grapes and pecans. Damage to secondary buds is still unknown. Pastures and ranges are in good condition; however cattle continue to receive supplemental feed.

ROLLING PLAINS: Soil moisture is adequate to surplus. However, some surface tanks need runoff water to refill. Farmers are applying herbicides in preparation of cotton planting. Pastures are green with winter annuals, weeds and some permanent grasses. Livestock are mostly in good to excellent condition.

NORTH: Not available.

EAST: The area received some rain and localized high winds, but no significant problems. Lake and pond levels are full. Cattle are in good condition and prices are high. Grass planting continues. Clovers are seeding, and fertilizer is being applied in pastures. Soil moisture is declining. The recent cold snap set some of the warm season grasses back. Fertilization of pastures and hay fields continues. Ryegrass and clovers are in good shape.

FAR WEST: Soil moisture ranges from very short to adequate, and rangeland and pastures vary from very poor to excellent. Winter wheat is in very poor to good condition. Milder temperatures with high winds were reported. The Easter weekend freeze damaged wheat fields and the chile crop. The extent of damage to pecans is not yet known.

WEST CENTRAL: Warm, mild temperatures with cool nights, very windy conditions and scattered showers were reported. Soil moisture remains good. Fields are being cultivated and planted for summer forage. Some producers are spraying for spring weeds. Corn, wheat and grain sorghum crops were affected by the late freeze, though damage in most areas has been minimal. Some fields need to be replanted. Range and pastures are showing good growth. Cattle sales remain high. Pecan spraying is under way.

CENTRAL: Some crops are suffering due to excessive rainfall while others are flourishing. Land needs to dry more before more planting can continue. Producers being very conservative on fertilizer use due to high costs.

SOUTHEAST: Winter annuals are flowering. Oat is being cut for hay. Temperatures were moderate and promoted good growth. The top soil moisture is saturated, and many farmers are unable to plant rice. Rain slowed field activity and delayed hay pasture fertilization. Livestock are fairing well.

SOUTHWEST: Forage availability has improved, and corn and sorghum fields have greened up after yellowing because of the late spring cold weather during early April. Recently planted cotton has not emerged. The region remains dry, with year-to-date cumulative rainfall at about 86 percent of the long-term average for the same period. Potatoes are making good progress, and cotton plants are slowly emerging. The cabbage harvest continues.

COASTAL BEND: Milder conditions have helped plant growth in most areas. Row crop farmers are cultivating fields and spraying for weeds. Cotton replanting is occurring in some areas that were affected by wet fields. Some producers have switched to soybeans due to the late planting. Cotton growth has been slow due to below-normal temperatures and lack of heat unit accumulation. Corn is beginning to be irrigated where possible and needed. Pastures continue to show good growth, and livestock are in good condition.

SOUTH: Short to adequate soil moisture conditions have existed throughout the region. Spring onions, vegetables, citrus and sugarcane continue to be harvested. Spring row crops are progressing well. Cotton growth has been limited due to unseasonably cool weather.

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