Winter forages, wheat benefit from rain
Winter rain accumulations varied across the state, from as much as 5 inches in some East Texas counties to 1 inch to 3 inches in Central and North Texas, according to reports from Texas AgriLife Extension Service personnel. Parts of the Rolling Plains also got rain, as much as 1.5 inches, while some areas in West Central Texas got more than 1 inch, according to reports by AgriLife Extension county agents.
The rest of the state remained mostly dry, receiving only light rains if any.
Where there was rain, winter forages and wheat benefited, and stock tanks and ponds were replenished to varying degrees.
The rains also improved U.S. Drought Monitor ratings for much of the state. As of Jan. 10, about 62 percent of the state was rated as being under severe to extreme drought. Though still high, it's an improvement over nearly 70 percent being under severe to extreme drought on Jan. 3, and a vast improvement from October when 97 percent of the state was under severe to extreme drought.
"Wheat was in better condition due to moisture received in December," said Scott Strawn, AgriLife Extension agent for Ochiltree County in the northeastern Panhandle. "All fields are up to a good stand. Subsoil moisture below 6 inches is very dry."
"Conditions have basically remained the same with the outlook not being positive with continued above-average temperatures, windy conditions and no precipitation in sight," said Toby Oliver, AgriLife Extension agent for King County, east of Lubbock. "Several rain chances were missed over the last few weeks."
"All of the county received from 1 inch to 2.5 inches of rain," said Todd Vineyard, AgriLife Extension agent for Wise County, northwest of Fort Worth. "The weather has been warm and sunny with cool nights. Small grains are making excellent growth."
"Pastures continue to green up after each rainfall event, but soils are still trying to recover from the drought," said Shane McLellan, AgriLife Extension agent for McLennan County, Waco. "A slow, soaking rain is needed. Grasses are slow to respond to nitrogen fertilizer, much slower than normal. Many producers are attributing this to the drought's effect on the soil."
"Over the past two days we have received 4 inches of rain in Upshur County," said William Odowd, AgriLife Extension agent for Upshur County. "There is water standing in several spots, but this is not enough rain to take us out of the drought."