January 10, 2012 at 9:20 PM CST - Updated June 26 at 6:42 AM
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) - The following reports were compiled by AgriLife Extension for the week of Jan. 10:
Central: Winter wheat and oats and cool-season grasses responded well to recent moisture. Runoff from the rains helped to partially fill some stock tanks and ponds. Livestock producers, however, were still heavily supplementing cattle due to lack of grazing. Volunteer ryegrass was in higher abundance than expected, possibly due to lack of competition from short warm-season grasses.
Coastal Bend: Conditions in the northern and lower portions of the region varied because of recently received rainfall. In the northern counties, cool-season grasses responded well to mild temperatures and better soil moisture. In the southern counties, there was little rain and no substantial changes in conditions. Some producers were applying fertilizer to cropland. Cattlemen were grazing livestock on winter legumes which have improved where there was rain. Livestock producers continued to provide supplemental feed for cattle on pasture.
East: Recent rains helped to improve soil-moisture levels, but more was needed. Stock ponds and creek levels rose. Some winter pastures that were planted on time could already be grazed, but producers were still looking for hay to buy. Feral hog activity increased.
North: The new year was off to a good start with short to adequate soil moisture and seasonal temperatures. With the December rains, and with the past two weeks of dry weather and sunshine, winter annual pastures were doing well. It was dry enough the first week of January to allow some cattle ranchers to turn cattle into winter pastures. Also, as subsoil moisture was recharged, fields were in good enough condition to plant row crops. Many stock ponds were still low, but some were filled completely by December rains. Livestock were in fair to good condition.
Panhandle: Soil moisture continued to be mostly short to very short. The cotton harvest was almost complete. Winter wheat was in excellent to very poor condition, with most reporting poor to very poor. Producers were tilling fields in preparation for planting crops. Rangeland and pastures were in fair to very poor condition, with most reporting very poor. Livestock producers continued to provide supplemental feed for cattle on pasture.
Rolling Plains: The cotton harvest was nearly finished, and producers were preparing land for spring planting. Winter wheat was holding on, but more moisture was needed. Some producers reported there was still a small amount of soil moisture present, but that it wasn't deep enough. Counties that have received moisture and mild temperatures reported good wheat development and grazing. Ranchers were grazing cattle on winter wheat in hopes of not having to further cull herds and put weight back on cattle lost due to 2011 drought conditions. One rancher said he had been feeding supplements nonstop for more than a year now. Pastures were in fair condition, with rye coming on, but producers were worried as to how long it will withstand dry weather. Water-use restrictions were still being enforced in the cities of Chillicothe and Quanah in Hardeman County. The restrictions will continue until the Greenbelt Reservoir at Clarendon receives enough runoff to raise levels.
South: Producers throughout the region were still waiting for enough rain to improve soil moisture, rangeland, pastures and crop production. Soil moisture levels in all but two counties were short to very short. In Atascosa and McMullen counties, levels were 50% to 60% adequate. Daytime temperatures were mild with cool nights. The cooler nighttime temperatures brought forage growth to a standstill, and many livestock producers still had to supply hay, range cubes and other supplemental feed to cattle. Hay was in short supply in many counties and prices continued to increase. Body condition scores on some cattle herds declined due to cold-weather stress, but most remained in fair shape. Frio County producers began field preparations. No field activity was reported in the eastern counties. Maverick County reported some winter crop emergence. Cameron County producers continued irrigating fields already prepared for spring planting. In Starr County, fall onions were progressing well.
South Plains: Recent rains and snows improved topsoil moisture, but most counties needed more to fill the profile. All but a few cotton fields were harvested. Some producers were listing fields in preparation for spring planting and cutting stalks. Rangeland and pastures improved, but cool-season grasses needed more moisture. Winter wheat continued to suffer from the drought despite the recent moisture. Livestock producers continued to provide supplemental feed for cattle.
Southeast: Some areas received light rain, greening up winter pastures, but more moisture was needed. Most ponds and lakes remained low. Mild temperatures along with the rain maintained cool-season forages, particularly those planted in late November to early December. Livestock producers continued supplemental feeding of cattle, but herd reductions slowed after the rains. Many producers were still buying hay if they could find it - in one instance from as far away as Kentucky.
Southwest: Moisture from recent rains was already drying up. Earlier pasture green-up turned brown with lack of continued rainfall and freezing temperatures. With little or no standing crop of native grasses, livestock producers continued to provide heavy supplemental feed for cattle. Some larger ranches sold off more cattle due to projections of continued drought.
West Central: The region had unseasonably warm temperatures with cool nights. Most counties remained dry, but a few had a little precipitation early in the week. The winter wheat crop continued to do well. Some producers were plowing fields for spring plantings. Where moisture was received, pasture and rangeland conditions improved as winter annuals greened up. Livestock producers continued heavy supplemental feeding of cattle. The pecan harvest was winding down with very disappointing yields reported.