Dry weather promotes fieldwork, slows winter forage growth
Except for a very few showers, Texas remained dry during mid-January, according to the National Weather Service and reports from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service personnel.
Many AgriLife Extension personnel reported warm and windy weather in conjunction with the dry weather, which further dried out topsoils. For some areas, such as the east, central, north and southeast regions, the dry weather was somewhat welcome for those needing to get back into fields to prepare for spring plantings. For other regions, the dry, windy weather stressed winter forages and slowed or stopped growth.
“Deaf Smith County producers are in a hold mode for the time being,” said Rick Auckerman, AgriLife Extension agent for Deaf Smith County, west of Amarillo. “The winter wheat crop is holding for now, with the pivots stopped for the time being. The dryland wheat crop is also holding on for now with little hope of Mother Nature helping out any time soon.”
“With the wind staying in the 20 mph range daily, it is drying out our topsoil very quickly,” said Gary Roschetzky, AgriLife Extension agent for Dawson County, south of Lubbock. “Our area has not seen any rainfall or precipitation in over 28 days. With that, producers are starting to lose hope about this upcoming year and how planting season is going to turn out. Our pasture land is starting to look more like a set up for fire to break out anytime soon.”
“Conditions in Hardeman County remain dry; wheat producers have achieved a stand on about 85 percent of acres planted and are waiting on the remaining 15 percent to emerge,” said Steven Sparkman, AgriLife Extension agent for Hardeman County, northwest of Wichita Falls. “Very few cattle are on wheat at this time.”
“Many cattle producers were able to turn cattle back on wheat pastures this week after the cold and damp weather,” said Rick Maxwell, AgriLife Extension agent for Collin County, northeast of Dallas. “Wheat and winter annual pastures are doing very well at this time.”
“Temperatures have been mild this week, giving cool season forages a chance to dry out and have some growth,” said Randy Reeves, AgriLife Extension agent for Harrison County, north of Longview. “Cattle remain in good to excellent condition; hay feeding and supplementation continues.”
“Extremely dry conditions this week kept irrigation producers applying irrigation water to all crops including small grains,” said Marcelino Valdez Jr., AgriLife Extension agent for Zavala County, in the Winter Garden area, southwest of San Antonio. “Spinach fields were reported to be in good to excellent condition. Wheat and oats also made good progress following irrigation water applications.”