Corn planting started late January and early February in south Texas and has progressed to the upper Gulf Coast region and Blackland Prairie of Texas, according to Ronnie Schnell, Texas AgriLife Extension specialist.
A farmer from Fayetteville County, Texas, reported to AgWeb Crop Comments that he’s been planting corn since mid-February, and some corn has already emerged. "Our moisture is kind of iffy but should come up. Soil seems very cold for Texas this time of year."
Even though corn plantings were down slightly in 2012, current high prices have many farmers choosing to plant grain instead of cotton or soybeans. Last year, grain sorghum acres were 29% higher than 2011, while soybean and cotton acreage fell.
In Texas, grain sorghum planting generally follows corn by a week or so. As of March 17, about 42% of corn and 26% of grain sorghum have been planted in the state, Schnell says.
"Dry conditions continue to be a problem, especially south Texas, and long-term forecasts do not look favorable," Schnell says. Yet in some areas the weather isn’t as challenging. For instance, planting moisture was good for the upper Gulf Coast and Northern Blacklands.
Drought has severely impacted cotton plantings in the state. "Grain acreage will be up for 2013 with grain sorghum acreage increasing significantly primarily due to grain prices versus cotton prices," Schnell predicts.
A farmer from Fayetteville County, Texas, submitted this photo to AgWeb Crop Comments. The farmer says this corn was planted Feb. 19.
Texas farmers are most worried about moisture and seasonal weather patterns this year, Schnell adds.
In the Lower Rio Grande Valley, water shortages are creating a crisis for farmers as well as entire cities this year, adds Dr. Guy Fipps, AgriLife Extension irrigation engineer in College Station. Most all crops in the Lower Rio Grande Valley are dependent upon irrigation water.
Some irrigation districts already know they won’t be able to meet demand. "Three districts have informed their municipal water contracts that they will likely be out of water by April or May and will not be able to supply municipal water. This is quite serious," Fipps says.