Much of the state received much-needed rain May 12 -13 —torrential in some cases — greatly benefiting all crops, according to the National Weather Service and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service personnel.
In the last week, east of Interstate 45, the state received from 3 to 6 inches of rain, according to the service. West of I-45, many areas received substantial rain too, more than 2 inches, but the Panhandle, parts of the South Plains and Far West regions remained largely dry.
Rice, as it’s an irrigated crop, is not as dependent upon rain as other crops, but rain was still welcomed because it helps recharge the lakes and irrigation sources, said Tyler Fitzgerald, AgriLife Extension agent in Chambers County, east of Houston on the Coastal Bend.
Chambers County remains one of the major rice producing counties in Texas. This year, as last year, an unseasonably cool spring and late freezes delayed planting and slowed growth, according to Fitzgerald.
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 A&M AgriLife Extension Service Districts
Central: Soil moisture was fair, as was the condition of rangeland and pastures. Livestock were in good condition. However, only irrigated small grains showed much promise. Most dryland small grains had been abandoned except for those that had enough growth to bale for hay. Bermuda grass that was not irrigated did not have enough moisture to recover from the April 15 frost, and many fields were still brown. Wheat crops were severely damaged by the freeze and lack of rain in many areas. Heavy rains midweek caused some mature wheat fields to lay over. The rain did help fill ponds and stock tanks and benefited corn, cotton, sorghum and forages.
Coastal Bend: In most counties, the wheat harvest was well under way, and corn was tasseling. Grain sorghum and cotton looked good following much-needed rain late last week. Throughout the district, rainfall amounts ranged from 0.18 inch to 4 inches. The moisture was critical to crops due to the scarcity of rain during mid- to late-April, with virtually none during the first of May. Forecasts were calling for more rain the next few days, followed by another cool front and drying trend. Ponds were restored to capacity, and the last cutting of cool-season grasses for hay was nearly completed. Forage producers were applying herbicides and fertilizer to fields of warm-season grasses.