May Pasture Comments

Published on: 10:28AM May 08, 2009

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Texas pasture conditions have improved with rainfall across the state. However, many areas are still in drought conditions. How are pasture conditions in your state?

Here's a sampling of what some folks are saying:

  • 5/7 North Texas--Dee Ann Littlefield with the Texas NRCS
    Slideshow of Texas wildfire damage:

    Click here to read full story: Rains Aid Wildfire Recovery in Texas by Sara Brown.

  • 5/6 - Texas Pasture Conditions--Texas Agrilife Extension Service

Click here to view map of the Texas regions.

Rain improved crops and pastures but put most field work at a standstill. Livestock body condition improved and milk production increased due to a surge of forage growth. Producers slowed supplemental feeding of livestock.

COASTAL BEND: The northern counties of the region received some rain and saw improvement in forages. Some crops had to be replanted, but most progressed well. However, southern counties were either left dry or did not get enough rain to alleviate the drought conditions. Growing conditions in the southern counties were poor for crops, and the high, dry winds continued to deplete soil moisture. Because standing forage was scarce, livestock producers continued to provide hay and supplemental protein. Producers also continued to sell cattle.

EAST: The region received from 1-6 inches of rain. Growth of warm-season grasses in a few counties was stalled by the high levels of moisture and cool nights. AgriLife Extension agents in some counties received calls about diseases increasing on vegetables. Powdery mildew was reported on various rose varieties. Agents in Nacogdoches County reported feral hogs were staying in the river bottoms due to recent rains instead of getting into fields and pastures. Trinity County reported increased feral hog activity. Livestock were in good condition.

FAR WEST: A light drizzle was reported in some counties, but not enough to register in rain gauges. Cotton farmers continued to prepare for planting. Chile crops emerged. The first cutting of alfalfa was baled. Fall-planted onions began forming bulbs. The danger of wildfire remained high.

NORTH: Soil moisture ranged from adequate to surplus. From 3-8 inches of rain caused some flood damage, but filled stock tanks and ponds to overflowing. New reports indicate that the late freezes in early April did more damage to the wheat crop than was first thought. There have been reports of 30 percent to 80 percent of wheat damage due to the freeze. However, the warmer weather has resulted in excellent crop-growing conditions. Corn and soybean crops looked good. Cotton was about 10 percent planted; sunflowers were about 50 percent planted. Rice was in fair condition. Pastures and hay meadows looked good, and producers fertilized meadows and started their first hay harvest. Cool season forages also made good growth. Livestock were in fair to good condition because of improved grazing.

ROLLING PLAINS: The region received much-needed moisture, from 1-7 inches in most counties. AgriLife Extension in Montague County reported 12-17 inches. The heavy rains slowed milo planting and lowered the quality of some hay still on the ground. Producers continued to prepare fields for planting of cotton, milo and haygrazer (a sorghum-sudan crop used for grazing, silage and hay). Fertilizers and herbicides were applied. The rain greened up pastures and filled stock tanks. Spring branding began. Some cattle that were on wheat pasture were moved or shipped. Fly populations increased. Producers were baling freeze-damaged wheat as weather permitted.

SOUTH: Counties in the region received little to no rain. The potato harvest began, and corn started to tassel. Farmers were preparing to harvest wheat and oats. Cabbage harvesting was ongoing, and the green bean harvest was about a week away. Managing irrigation of corn, sorghum and cotton dominated farmers' schedules. All irrigated crops were doing well with little insect pressure. Pastures and rangeland in some counties greened up with past rains, but most were in poor condition. Livestock were in fair condition, thanks to producers continuing to supply heavily supplementation. Producers were weaning calves early to prevent a further decline in condition.

SOUTH PLAINS: Temperatures were up and down, with highs in the 90s followed by nighttime lows in the 40s and daytime highs in the 60s. Some counties received rain, but not in significant amounts. Soil moisture was short. Corn, sunflower and peanut planting continued. A few fields were planted to cotton, but most producers were waiting for better growing conditions. Wheat was in very poor to poor condition. Pastures and ranges were in very poor to poor condition. Cattle were in good condition with continued supplemental feeding.

SOUTHEAST: Heavy rains replenished stock tanks and ground water. From 4-10 inches of rain fell in some counties. Warm temperatures persisted through the evenings, and pastures were in excellent shape. Ryegrass looked "outstanding," and common Bermuda grass started to grow, according to AgriLife Extension county agents. Cool-season annual grasses matured and some fields were cut for hay. Pasture fertilization continued. Reserve hay supplies were short. Livestock were doing well, with supplemental feeding either reduced or halted entirely.

SOUTHWEST: March and April rains helped green up the region, but the soil profile remained very dry. High winds and near-record afternoon temperatures aggravated drought conditions. Forage was in extremely short supply. Pastures, rangeland and dryland crops made little progress. Ranchers continued to provide heavy supplemental feed to remaining livestock. Cabbage and spinach harvests were completed, and the onion harvest gained momentum. Potatoes, spring onions, irrigated corn, sorghum and cotton made good progress under heavy irrigation. The wheat harvest was nearly complete, though with disappointing yields.

WEST CENTRAL: Most counties received a much needed rain, and soil moisture levels were good. Days have been warm and humid. Field activities increased. Plowing and planting of summer forages was under way. Crops showed signs of improvement. Stock-tank levels remained low and in need of more runoff. Range and pasture conditions greened up. Livestock were looking better.