Panhandle: Temperatures were near to slightly above normal for most of the week, then dropped to below normal by week’s end. A few areas reported receiving some moisture late in the week. Soil-moisture levels varied from adequate to very short, with most reporting short to very short. Winter wheat was in good to very poor condition, with most reporting poor condition. Rangeland and pastures were in mostly poor to very poor condition. Livestock producers were still providing supplemental feed to cattle.
Rolling Plains: The western part of the region remained dry after several missed chances of rain. Winter wheat needed some measurable precipitation as it was due to come out dormancy this month. Without rain, there will be reduced grain yields and grazing potential. Pastures and rangeland were in poor condition with very little grazing left. Producers worried that 2012 might be a repeat of the 2011 drought. Fortunately, eastern counties reported that recent rains left rangeland and pasture in good condition. Wheat continued to make good progress. Stock water tanks were full.
South: Conditions in northern counties improved somewhat. Winter weeds grew as the result of scattered showers last week, which supplied some livestock grazing. In Atascosa and La Salle counties soil moisture was adequate, but remained short in the rest of the region. A substantial rain was still needed to fill livestock tanks. Supplemental feed for cattle was still greatly needed as many ranchers’ hay stocks were short, and prices continued to rise. In Atascosa County, corn producers were preparing land for planting. Potatoes emerged in the Frio County area. There were no field activities reported in the eastern part of the region. In Zavala County, dryland wheat and oats were mostly in good to fair condition, the cooler weather was favorable to spinach and onions, and cabbage harvesting was very active, and corn and sorghum producers were preparing for planting. Although field activity was minimal in that area, producers took advantage of the moisture in some areas to apply fertilizer. In Hidalgo and Starr counties, citrus, sugarcane and vegetable harvesting was put on hold by light rains. Willacy County reported a delay on the planting of sorghum in that area also due to rain.
South Plains: Most counties received a little moisture, either as rain or snow or both. Southern counties received rain last week and most counties received a rain/snow mix on Feb. 12. However, topsoil remained very dry and much more moisture is needed to make an impact. Pasture and rangeland were in fair to poor condition. Winter wheat was still suffering from drought. The recent rain and snow was expected to help producers begin field preparations for the spring.