Last year, the region harvested 5.3 million bales, but that was a perfect year for cotton, Kelley said. A more average year would be about 4.4 million bales.
“But I don’t know what an average year is anymore,” 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: Dry weather persisted across the region. Due to high winds and no rainfall, wildfire conditions were severe. Beef producers continued to sell cattle due to lack of water and insufficient hay. Ponds were either very low or completely dry.
Coastal Bend: Some areas received intermittent showers, but nothing substantial enough to change crop, pasture, rangeland or drought conditions. Farmers were deep-plowing fields so when rain comes they can capture as much moisture as possible. The cotton harvest neared completion with below-average yields. Cotton-stalk destruction continued. Livestock producers continued to sell cattle as there is no grass growing on rangeland, and hay is in short supply and is expensive when it can be found. Wildfires remained commonplace even though burn bans remained in place.
East: The region remained hot and dry. A few counties received scattered light showers, but the drought continued to worsen. Livestock producers were buying hay from other states, but the costs of hay and transportation charges were becoming too high for many. Some also had to haul water in for livestock, and others continued to cull their herds or sell out completely. Wildfire burned tens of thousands of acres and destroyed homes and outbuildings. Two lives, a mother and an infant child, were lost in one fire.
Far West: Drought conditions continued throughout the area. El Paso County peanut development was good, with nuts entering the gel stage. Cotton got a double whammy from the drought and environmental conditions; leaves were burned and bolls burst open by the heat, and there was disease pressure, most likely verticillium and fusarium with some root rot. Alfalfa growers were taking their fifth cutting. Most of the region was still under burn bans. Only irrigated crops were surviving.
North: Without rain, soil-moisture levels remained very short. With the hot, dry, windy weather, scattered fires broke out in many counties. Producers continued selling off livestock and were providing supplemental feed for the remaining cattle. There was no grass for grazing, and ponds were either very low or completely dry. Rangeland and pasture conditions were poor to very poor. Some producers were preparing fields in hope of being able to make fall plantings. The harvesting of all row crops was finished except for cotton, which was from 60 percent to 80 percent harvested.