Triple-digit temperatures throughout Texas are complicating chances of recovery from last year’s drought, according to Texas AgriLife Extension Service personnel.
Many areas only received traces of rain – 0.25” or less during the last week of June, according to the National Weather Service. Heavier rains occurred along the Coastal Bend and South Texas areas, but most rainfall accumulations were 1” or less.
The Southern Plains, Far West and Panhandle regions were hardest hit. Following are comments from AgriLife Extension agents from those areas:
“Pastures and hayfields are making little growth due to hot temperatures and lack of moisture,” says Mark Currie from Polk County, north of Houston. “Producers are trying to put up all the hay they can and hopefully avoid buying hay. If rains are not received soon, many will need to purchase at least some of their hay again this year.”
“Dry, hot and, at times, windy conditions persisted this week,” adds Jesse Lea Schneider from Presidio County in Far West Texas. “Stifling heat with highs lingered around 100ºF in the mountains and were as high as 116º along the river. Pastures have now lost their green tinge and are browning.”
Schleicher County, south of San Angelo in West Texas, has been “very dry and very hot,” says Anthony Munoz. “On Wednesday (June 27) we received some sprinkles for about half an hour but just enough to settle the dust.”
“Area producers had a decent start to this year, but these past few weeks have turned everything completely around. With daytime temperatures reaching 100º-plus, no rain and hot, dry winds, pastures and cotton fields are beginning to show the signs,” reports Ryan Martin from Motley County, southeast of Amarillo. “Currently we are sitting at close to 6” of moisture total for the year, which hasn’t done much to replenish the soil-moisture content. At this time it looks like the only thing that can turn our situation around would be a hurricane.”
“Extremely high temperatures and windy conditions have producers running pivots as hard as they can right now trying to keep up with water demand,” says Brad Easterling from Sherman County, north of Amarillo on the Texas-Oklahoma border.
Topsoil moisture is very depleted and rain is needed soon, according to Josh Blanek from Andrews County, north of Odessa. “Producers are weaning and selling calves early to allow cows to rest and help reduce feed consumption,” he says.
“The rains we received two weeks ago were very beneficial, but now that moisture is gone,” points out Rick Maxwell from Collin County, northeast of Dallas. “The last five or six days have been at 100º or above.”
More information on the current Texas drought and wildfire alerts can be found on the AgriLife Extension Agricultural Drought Task Force Web site.