Rolling Plains: Conditions remained dry and windy. Wildfires were burning in several counties. Palo Pinto has been the site of devastating wildfires during the last week. Fires are were only 25 percent contained at the time of this report. The federal fire service took over operations. There was extensive loss of pastures, rangeland and livestock. Wildfires ravaged about 55,000 acres in southeast King County. In Stephens County, more than 50,000 acres burned, mainly native and improved grasslands. At least five homes burned and 20 to 30 cattle died, and many miles of fencing were lost. In Clay County, about 20,000 acres burned. About 4,500 acres burned in the southern part of Young County. Crop-wise, wheat was in sad shape. Most producers have abandoned hopes of harvesting the crop for grain and turned cattle onto it to graze. Stock-water tanks were getting very low; some were already dried up. Cotton producers needed rain to plant.
South: Temperatures 100 degrees and higher, persistent high winds and the lack of rain continued to cause rangeland and pastures to decline and raise the specter of wildfire throughout the region. Soil-moisture levels were short to very short. As pastures rapidly declined, ranchers increased the feeding of hay and molasses, as well as alternative feeds such as prickly pear. They also were culling young calves at a high rate to take the stress off cattle before they lose too much weight. Farmers were heavily irrigating crops in Frio County. Jim Wells County’s crops were stunted. In Zavala County, cabbage, corn, onions and cotton progressed well under heavy irrigation. Also in that area, a limited number of fields of late fresh-market spinach were growing well, and the harvesting of carrots was completed. Citrus and vegetable harvesting continued in Hidalgo County. Grain sorghum in that area showed signs of drought stress.
South Plains: Most counties saw continued dry conditions, high winds and above-average temperatures. Burn bans were in place in all counties. Farmers across the region were watering fields in hope of having enough moisture to plant. Wheat continued to decline. Fields were being released by insurance adjusters to salvage some grazing from the crop. Rangeland water-tank levels were dropping, and cattlemen were concerned about water shortages in addition to grazing losses.
Southeast: Drought conditions and high winds continued. Ponds and lakes further dried out, and water for livestock was predicted to become an issue in some counties. Ryegrass was browning and stands fading. Warm-season forages were not growing. Cotton was in poor condition. Many farmers only completed about 85 percent of their cotton planting. Water for rice irrigation was very limited. Fort Bend County was extremely dry as well. Only irrigated crops were progressing. Wheat was also suffering from drought-stress. Despite hay still being fed due to the drought, livestock were losing body condition.