There have also been regional reports of poor honeybee honey-production and low brood numbers despite many areas having good flower blooms. Sansone said this too is most likely a result of the drought.
“There was a large decline in hive strength because of that drought, in my opinion,” Sansone said. “I don’t think the numbers were high coming into 2012, and I think that is what the beekeepers are experiencing. We had good flower production so you would have thought that nectar production would have been good, but the bee numbers just weren’t there.”
When we see our highest bee numbers is when there is average or above-average moisture, he said.
More information on the current Texas drought and wildfire alerts can be found on the AgriLife Extension Agricultural Drought Task Force website at http://agrilife.tamu.edu/drought/ .
AgriLife Extension district reporters compiled the following summaries:
Central: Most counties received good rains. Many farmers had applied fertilizer earlier in anticipation of the rains. The winter-wheat harvest went well. Yields ranged from 40 to 70 bushels per acre, with a median of about 55 bushels per acre. Corn and sorghum continued to look good. Thrips in cotton increased over the last couple of weeks. Grasshoppers became a major issue earlier than normal, already severely damaging hay meadows and crops. Native rangeland had yet to recover from last year’s drought. Rangelands had an overgrowth of winter and spring forages and weeds. Livestock were in good condition across throughout the region.
Coastal Bend: Crops, rangeland and pastures were drying out, and rain was needed. Temperatures were above normal. Crops were growing, but not uniformly due to erratic rainfall patterns. Sorghum was rapidly maturing. Hay producers were taking second cuttings, but needed moisture for any subsequent harvests. Producers were feeding hay in pastures that were in poor condition and still overstocked.
East: Rain ranged from 0.25 inch to 4.5 inches around the region. Heavier rainfall was reported in the northern part of the district. Growing conditions were generally good. Hay harvesting was ongoing, with many producers taking their second cutting. Farmers were spraying for weeds in pastures. Grasshoppers were reported in pastures and hay fields. Vegetable growers saw increases in disease and insect damage. Feral hogs were active. Cattle were in good shape.