Texas AgriLife Extension
COLLEGE STATION – Though most dryland crops have
failed due to the drought, there were scattered pockets of production, according
to a Texas AgriLife Extension Service expert.
Kerens-area farmer, Sonny Bancroft, and his granddaughter,
McKenzie Bancroft, were harvesting grain sorghum July 22. Bancroft said he was
seeing 3,500-pound-per-acre yields, but only because he got a good rain about a
month earlier that others in his area did not. (Texas AgriLife Extension Service
photo by Robert Burns)
will be some dryland crops harvested in Texas,” said Dr. Travis Miller, AgriLife
Extension program leader and associate department head of the Texas A&M
University soil and crop sciences department, College Station. “The best areas
are going to be from Corpus (Christi) north to Victoria and along the coast a
little ways; and then from Hill County north and east.”
predicted cotton yields in the area from Corpus Christi to Victoria will be in
the 350- to 400-pound-per-acre range. Sorghum yields were reported as being in
the 3,000- to 3,700-pound range, while corn yields were about 35- to 40-bushels
the situation varied widely not just from one region to another, but county to
county, he said.
you get a little farther north, say to Matagorda County, they just missed those
rains, and there’s some 25- to 30-bushel corn,” Miller said. “Then Hill County
and to the north had some pretty good rains. I think there was some 75-bushel
corn, and I believe there will be 3,800- to 4,000-pound sorghum. With the
current price scenario, they can probably do a little better than break even on
for most of the state, the dryland situation was just plain dismal, he said.
From Uvalde (South Central Texas) north to Spearman (the upper Panhandle),
nearly all dryland crops have failed, he said. There is not going to be much of
anything harvested on dryland fields in the southwest Texas area, the Edwards
Plateau, the Rolling Plains and the High Plains.
almost looks desert-like, he said.
can’t even tell they planted anything,” Miller said.
information on the current Texas drought and wildfire alerts can be found on the
AgriLife Extension Agricultural Drought Task Force website at
Extension district reporters compiled the following summaries:
The 12 Texas AgriLife Extension Service
DistrictsCentral: The region remained very hot and dry. Local
livestock auction sales were at record high levels. Sales included more than
just calves and cull cows; a large portion was of bred, medium-aged cows. Trees
showed extreme drought stress. Hay supplies were short, with most buys being
trucked in from six to 12 hours away. Some stock ponds dried up. Farmers were
cutting corn and milo stalks for hay.
Bend: There was no rain or relief
from above-normal temperatures, drying winds and the drought. The cotton harvest
was under way.
East: Daytime temperatures remained in the triple
digits. The region received little to no rain, and pastures continued to worsen.
What little rain some areas received quickly evaporated due to the heat. Water
levels of creeks and ponds dropped further. Some producers completely liquidated
their herds, while others were hauling water for livestock. Many producers had
only one cutting of hay this year. Grasshoppers remained a problem.
West: Widely scattered showers
brought from 0.15 to 0.5 inch of moisture, which helped new weeds and grasses
emerge. Lightning from the storms also ignited a few fires. Only some irrigated
cotton was in good condition, and it began squaring. Alfalfa growers were taking
a third cutting. Pecans initiated nut growth and entered the water stage. Insect
pressure on crops was low due to the dry conditions. Locoweed and twinleaf senna
were beginning to appear but there were no reports of animal consumption. Burn
bans remained in effect across the district.
North: Soil-moisture levels were short throughout
the region. Triple-digit temperatures continued to take a toll on every aspect
of agriculture. Crops were burning up. Pastures were going downhill fast. Some
ranchers continued to provide supplemental feed or hay, but most were thinning
or liquidating herds. Hay prices spiked, and supplies were short. Extra hay may
be needed to make it through the winter if rain is not received soon. In some
areas, the stock ponds were getting very low. The corn harvest just began, but
there were no reports of yields to date. There were reports of high aflatoxin
levels in harvested corn. The oat harvest was completed, and sunflower planting
was finished. Rangeland was in poor condition, but there was some cutting of
Johnson grass. Forage production was dismal. Soybeans began to turn color, and
needed rain soon.
Panhandle: Hot, dry and windy weather continued. A few
southeastern counties received some moisture in isolated areas, but
accumulations weren’t significant. Soil-moisture levels in most counties were
very poor. Water-demand by crops was very high, and irrigators continued to
divert water to other crops and fewer acres. Corn was in poor to very poor
condition. Mite populations in corn were rising because of the hot, windy
conditions. Cotton was in poor to very poor condition in most counties.
Rangeland and pastures further declined. Reduction of herds by producers was
South: Soil-moisture levels were very short
throughout most of the region with the exception of parts of Atascosa, Kleberg,
Zapata and Hidalgo counties, where they were 50 to 60 percent adequate. There
were light, scattered showers in some northern and western counties, but not
enough to help make a difference. Daytime temperatures continued to rise and add
heat stress to rangeland and pastures already in poor condition. Livestock
producers increased supplemental feeding of cattle, using emergency feeds such
as prickly pear in some instances. High evaporation and water-consumption rates
caused stock-water tank levels to rapidly decline, and producers further culled
herds. In Frio County, the corn harvest was in full swing, the sorghum harvest
began and peanuts were pegging. In Jim Wells County, corn yields were marginal
at 20 to 25 bushels per acre, as were grain sorghum yields at 2,000 to 2,500
pounds per acre. Producers also began harvesting cotton in that area, with
yields predicted to average about 500 pounds per acre. In Kleberg and Kenedy
counties, the sorghum harvest
Grain sorghum is moved from a combine into a truck near
Kerens, southeast of Dallas. Though there were pockets of production, mainly in
Central Texas and along the Coastal Bend, most dryland fields have completely
failed, according to Texas AgriLife Extension Service personnel. (Texas AgriLife
Extension Service photo by Robert Burns)