Panhandle: The region continued to be hot and dry. Soil-moisture levels were very short. Irrigators were still very active. More cornfields were abandoned because of lack of irrigation. Where possible, producers were salvaging what they could from corn failures by chopping it for silage. Pastures were in very poor condition. Livestock producers further reduced herds and were weaning calves early.
Rolling Plains: The record-breaking heat and dry weather that was the norm for the past several months continued. Scattered, light showers had little effect under 100-plus temperatures and wind. As mid-August came to a close, it was nearly a year since most counties had any measurable moisture. The region has had more than 80 days of highs above 100 degrees. Most of the cotton crop was disastered-out for insurance. Only irrigated cotton was left, and that was beginning to bloom out the top of plants and show signs of giving up. Hay was in short supply, and what was being harvested was sold before it is baled. Some producers stopped watering hay fields and were only irrigating cotton to conserve water. Most pastures were grazed off, and producers were forced to sell more cattle. Ranchers who still had cattle were worried about winter feed. Conservation Reserve Program acres were being grazed and bailed for hay, but approaching deadlines will force producers off these acres. By law, haying must cease Aug. 31and grazing by Oct. 31. Many stock-water tanks were being built, cleaned and given more depth. Low water levels resulted in fish kills, especially at Lake Kemp.
South: Scorching temperatures well above 100 degrees continued, keeping soil-moisture levels very short. Zapata County reported highs of 110 degrees. Rangeland and pastures were in poor to very poor condition, adding hardship for ranchers, livestock and wildlife throughout the entire region. High evaporation rates and the water needs of livestock and wildlife added to the difficulty for producers trying to hold onto their herds going into the fall. Livestock market prices weakened as a result of herd liquidations. Cattle body condition scores declined, but livestock mostly remained in fair condition thanks to supplemental feeding. Atascosa County livestock producers shipped in alfalfa from Nebraska. In Atascosa and Frio counties, peanuts were progressing well with constant irrigation, the sorghum harvest was completed and irrigated Bermuda grass fields were being cut for hay. In Zavala County, the cotton harvest began and preparations for fall plantings were in progress. In Cameron and Hidalgo counties, the cotton harvest was ongoing, producers were actively irrigating sugarcane and citrus, and some fall vegetables were being planted. In Starr County, the soybean harvest was under way and the sorghum harvest was finished.