“The driest months – if you look at historical weather records — will be December, January and February,” Baughman said. “November will be slightly behind those, so … if we don’t get any rainfall from now through the first of November, then the chance of actually building that deep moisture up is limited even in a normal year.”
And obviously, this has been far from a normal year, 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:
The 12 Texas AgriLife Extension Service Districts
Central: Temperatures remained high. Where there was rain, forages greened up but were not growing as well as hoped. Water for livestock was becoming a major issue. Hay prices continued to rise. Most corn and milo were baled for hay. Trees were going dormant; some are dying.
Coastal Bend: Extremely high temperatures and severe drought conditions continued. The cotton harvest was ongoing. Many trees showed signs of drought stress, and some were dying. Ponds were dry or extremely low. Herd liquidation became a reality for beef cattle producers. What cattle remained were being supplemented with hay and feed. Most livestock water had to be hauled or pumped from wells. Hay was being hauled in from other states.
East: Some areas had scattered showers, but they did not bring enough moisture to alleviate drought conditions. Pastures remained dry and short. Trees were dying. Ponds and creek levels continued to drop; some were already completely dried up. Producers were buying hay from out of state. Some also brought in water for livestock, while others continued culling of herds and some sold off entire herds.
Far West: In Glasscock County, rains caused quite a bit of cotton boll-drop, but the rest of the region suffered from extreme drought conditions. High temperatures were in the lower 90s in the mountains, but still in the triple digits along the Rio Grande. Nighttime temperatures dropped into the low to mid 70s in some areas. Cotton near El Paso was in full bloom and setting bolls, with very low pest pressure. Some pecan trees were winding up a light August nut drop. Other trees were entering the gel stage and continued to grow. Alfalfa producers were taking their fifth cutting.
North: With no rain and 100-plus degree daytime highs, soil-moisture levels were short throughout the district. The drought continued to take its toll on pastures. Nearly all livestock producers were feeding hay and supplements. Feed dealers were enlisting AgriLife Extension offices to help them find hay. Some dealers had to go as far as Alabama to find hay. With the drought and extreme shortage of hay, most producers were reducing or liquidating their herds. Stock tanks were very low and ponds were drying up across the area. Most corn and grain was harvested, with yields for both crops reported as average or slightly above. Grain sorghum that was planted on time did well, but late-planted sorghum was struggling. A few soybean fields were harvested over the past couple of days, but most was being cut for hay. Cotton looked terrible, and peanuts were in very poor condition. Skunks and armadillos were reportedly digging under houses to escape the heat and find moisture. Feral hogs were searching for ponds and mud holes. Rangeland and pastures were in very poor condition.