Most of Texas cropland has enjoyed something early this growing season it hasn’t seen in almost five years—adequate moisture to get plants up and off to a good start.
Of more concern during spring planting was the opposite problem—too much rain to plant or to perform necessary management practices once the crop was established.
Strong storms damaged some crops, prevented planting in some cases, slowed development and created numerous obstacles for farmers across Texas and over much of the Southwest.
But farmers, even though sometimes frustrated by an inability to get into their fields, typically say they had rather have the moisture in the ground than having to plant into dust, hoping that rainfall would be adequate to germinate seed and provide enough moisture to make a crop.
Recent reports from the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) indicate that drought is over, at least for the time being, across most of the Southwest. Other reports indicate that El Niño, the weather phenomenon responsible, at least partly, for the recent rainfall, will continue well into fall, giving row crop farmers and ranchers hope that the summer of 2015 will be dramatically different from the last four hot, dry summers. Here are a few photos from Central Texas up into the Northeast corner of the state showing some of the promise and some of the challenges facing farmers this summer.