Panhandle: The area continued to be dry and windy. Soil-moisture levels were very short in most counties. Wheat was in from very poor to good condition, with most counties reporting poor. Farmers continued preparing land for spring planting. Rangeland conditions varied from very poor to good, with most reporting poor. Cattle were in good condition. The wildfire potential remained high.
Rolling Plains: Very warm and windy conditions continued to rule. Wheat showed signs of severe stress from lack of moisture. The same held true for rangeland forages, which needed rain soon to boost grass growth. Moisture stress appeared to have pushed wheat heading one to three weeks ahead of expectations. Some producers reported receiving insurance adjustments and crop releases on their wheat, while other producers were put on hold by the adjusters and might have to take the crop to harvest. Ranchers continued to provide supplemental protein to cattle because of poor forage quality. Stock-water tank levels were approaching critically low levels. Producers prepared fields for cotton planting. Some producers increased their cotton-planting acres.
South: The drought continued throughout the entire region. Soil-moisture levels were short to very short. Rangeland and pastures remained very dry and in poor condition, which caused livestock producers to further increase supplemental feeding. The lack of rain and persistent high winds caused forage quality and quantity to decline. Ranchers were selling cattle earlier than normal, but fortunately cattle prices were strong. Oat and wheat crop stands were in poor condition, with growth stunted. Corn growers completed planting, and most of the crop was already emerged. In the northern part of the region, potatoes were flowering. In the eastern part of the region, row crops were well established. In the western part of the region, growers had to increase irrigation of onions, wheat, spinach, cabbage, corn, cotton and carrots, which added to their cost of production. Producers there are still concerned with not being able to make a crop of cool-season grains and had to delay planting of dryland sorghum, corn and cotton because of the extremely dry conditions. In the southern part of the region, the harvesting of vegetables, citrus and sugarcane continued, planting activity wound down and spring crops made good progress.
South Plains: The weather was warm and windy. A few areas received light showers, but overall the region remained very dry. The threat of wildfire was high throughout the region, and most counties were still under burn bans. Livestock were still being supplemented. Wheat under irrigation was in good shape; dryland wheat was being adjusted out for insurance in some counties. Producers were pre-irrigating and minimal tilling, hoping they’ll eventually have enough moisture to plant. Public meetings were being held by the High Plains Underground Water District to discuss proposed regulations to allow residents to meet the desired future condition of the aquifer for our the area under the state water plan.