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 for Feb. 21-28:
The 12 Texas AgriLife Extension Districts
Central: Though days were warmer, soil temperatures remained cool. Small grains looked good. Livestock producers were cutting back on the amount of supplemental feed supplied to cattle, probably because of early spring green-up. Trees were blooming due to warmer temperatures. Wheat and oats were ahead of schedule as daytime highs neared 85 degrees. Corn farmers planned to start planting as soon as field conditions dry out.
Coastal Bend: The northeastern part of the district reported rain and slightly above-average temperatures. These conditions promoted the growth of cool-season grasses such as ryegrass and caused wheat and oats to tiller and put on new leaves. Ranchers were having problems with the abundance of clover. Stockmen were advised to keep hay on hand and make sure livestock do not graze on an empty stomach in order to avoid bloating. Moist conditions have put a damper on corn planting. Most fields were simply too wet to plant. With forecasts calling for warm sunny days, corn growers expected to begin planting soon. The western part of the district did not report any measurable rain, but fields remained too wet from last week’s rain to allow planting. Livestock were still being supplemented with hay and protein.
East: Warm temperatures continued. With the recent rains, most ponds, lakes and other bodies of water were back to normal levels. Winter forages made good growth. Planting of vegetable fields increased. Feral hog activity increased.
Far West: The weather was warm and windy. Daytime highs averaged in the 70s, with lows in the 30s. Due to high winds this week, there were wildfires along the Rio Grande. The high winds also dried out soil moisture that was received from previous snows and light rains. Overall, the region’s rain was above average for the year going into the spring of 2012. However, due to last year’s severe drought, many types of grasses didn’t survive through the winter. Cotton farmers who had irrigation capacity were preparing land for planting. In El Paso County, plans were uncertain as to how much the cotton acreage from last year will be reduced and set under the prevented planting provisions in crop insurance policies. In Reeves County, area producers planted alfalfa, and production seemed to be slightly increasing. Producers were finishing working calves and reported that cows remained in poor condition even though they are still being provided supplemental feed. The lambing and kidding season was in full swing.