South Plains: Cooler temperatures brought relief from the region’s hottest summer on record. Scattered light rain fell in some counties over the weekend, bringing highs down to the upper 60s to mid 70s and lows in the 50s. Drought and burn bans continued despite the cooler temperatures. Producers were preparing for an early harvest of what cotton remained. Several Bailey County producers were harvesting corn. Cattle were still being culled, shipped or moved to areas with more water since tanks were drying up and hay was costly and scarce.
Southwest: Daytime highs dropped from 110 to the upper 90s on Labor Day, but high, dry winds continued to aggravate the drought and create dust storms. The region remained in wildfire-alert status. The high winds also fanned more than 60 new field fires, burning more than 30,000 acres of rangeland in Bastrop, Bexar, Travis, Williamson and other counties. More than 500 homes had been destroyed in Bastrop County at the time of this report. Landowners were removing silt and making other improvements to dry stock tanks. Almost all forage had either been used by cattle or wildlife. Some ranchers have liquidated their herds. Others have reduced their herds so they could run minimum stocking rates and thereby maintain carefully developed herd genetics. But they were providing large amounts of supplemental feed for remaining livestock. The cotton harvest was winding down. About half of this year’s cotton harvest remained in field-stored modules. Most dryland and partially irrigated cotton had failed. The sweet corn harvest resumed. Peanuts, pecans and landscape nursery crops continued to make good progress wherever irrigation water was still available.
West Central: A cool front brought temperatures down from the triple digits. A few areas reported some scattered rain, but overall, the weather continued to be dry, and crop conditions poor. Soil-moisture levels remained extremely low. Field crops were almost non-existent unless they were irrigated. Cotton was all very poor. Wildfires continued to be a big issue in all areas. Livestock producers were still searching for additional hay sources, and herd liquidations increased. All water sources further declined.