Contact: Edith A. Chenault, (979) 845-2886, firstname.lastname@example.org
COLLEGE STATION – Harvest is keeping Texas sorghum producers busy this fall with 2.9 million acres to harvest, a 26 percent increase from last year, the Texas Agricultural Extension Service reports.
District extension director Jett Major in Lubbock said sorghum replaced a half million acres of cotton lost in June to hail and heavy rain.
He said producers replaced the cotton with sorghum because it has a shorter growing season.
“By mid-June it is just too late for replanting cotton,” Major said. “So producers had to follow up with a quick maturing crop like sorghum.”
Nearly 180 bushels are expected from the 2.9 million acres, according to the Texas Agricultural Statistics Service.
Major said this year’s crop benefited from early rainfall.
“The sorghum burned up last year from heat and dryness,” he said. “This year we had the gift of timely rainfall from Mother Nature.”
Major said the increase of sorghum acreage will not have an unusual effect on prices.
“As with any crop that has had a good growing season, prices are depressed,” he said. “This isn’t anything new for agricultural commodities.”
The state’s producers haven’t experienced problems storing the high-yielding crop, Major added.
“The storage issue is really minimal compared to the huge bumper crop of 1992,” he said. “Producers struggling with storing sorghum this year are north of the Panhandle, out of Texas.”
District extension director Dr. Bob Robinson in Amarillo said the sorghum harvest in the Panhandle is nearing completion with about one third of the crop left to harvest.
“A hard freeze is needed to help dry down the remaining crop,” he said.
Robinson said a freeze will kill the crop by preventing the movement of water and nutrients and prepare it for harvest.
Robinson said he expects the sorghum harvest to be complete by Thanksgiving. “The harvest is progressing along well with average yields for the dryland crop,” he said. “There were some exceptionally good yields from the irrigated fields.”
Robinson said producers encountered some problems with greenbugs early in the year.
“Treating the fields adds to the input cost,” he said. “But the greenbugs didn’t really have an impact on sorghum yields.”
In Central Texas, district extension director Ronald Woolley in Stephenville said the sorghum harvest is progressing well.
“Both corn and sorghum yields have been reported at record levels,” he said.
Woolley said many producers are selling cows due to low hay availability and low stock pond water.
“Those cattle that are left are being fed heavily with supplemental hay,” he said.
Woolley said dryland peanuts in his region are in poor condition.
In North Texas, district extension director Randy Upshaw in Dallas said harvesting is completed for all spring planted crops.
“The wheat has been planted,” he said. “Some earlier planted wheat will be lost, however, due to dry conditions.”
Upshaw said pasture conditions are still very dry and getting worse.
“Cattle are being given hay,” he said. “The lack of pond water is becoming a big problem for livestock producers.”
Upshaw said both the quality and yields of the pecan crop are good.
“We have had some problems with scab, though,” he said.
The following specific livestock, crop and weather conditions were reported by district extension directors:
PANHANDLE: soil moisture is short to very short. Peanut harvest is under way; average yields reported. Good sorghum yields also reported; freeze needed to dry down the crop. Corn harvest nearing completion; yields at 200 plus bushels per acre. Cattle doing well.
SOUTH PLAINS: soil moisture is short to adequate. Pastures and ranges in good condition. Cotton harvest continues; yields have been low. Sorghum, soybean, sunflower harvests continue. Irrigated wheat looks good; many dryland fields never planted due to dry weather.
ROLLING PLAINS: soil moisture is short. Wheat planting continues. Cotton harvest is beginning; most will be harvested after the first killing freeze. Sorghum harvest nearing completion. Supplemental feeding increasing with poor pastures, ranges.
NORTH TEXAS: soil moisture is very short to short. Harvest of spring planted crops completed. Wheat planted; some earlier planted wheat lost due to dry weather. Cattle being hayed; lack of pond water a continuing problem. Good pecan crop; some problems with scabs.
EAST TEXAS: soil moisture is short. Pastures declining rapidly. Supplemental feeding under way. Sweet potato harvest nearing completion. There is little to no vegetable activity due to moisture shortage. Pecan harvest under way. Cattle doing well.
FAR WEST TEXAS: soil moisture is very short. Cotton harvest in full swing; one of the heaviest crops. Front damage to some warm season vegetables. Tomato farm in full production. Fall cantaloupe destroyed by virus disease. Aphids still a problem for pecans.
WEST CENTRAL TEXAS: soil moisture is very short to short. High winds continuing to dry things out. Oat and wheat producers are waiting for moisture. Cotton harvest continues. Peanut harvest winding down. Pasture forage is decreasing. Pecan harvest under way.
CENTRAL TEXAS: soil moisture is very short. Producers are heavily haying cattle; many selling due to low hay availability and low stock and water. Corn and sorghum yields at record levels. Dryland peanut yields very poor. Pasture grasses short.
SOUTHEAST TEXAS: soil moisture is very short. Fall planting continued due to improved moisture conditions. More oat, ryegrass, clover planting due to rainfall. Many peanut fields being plowed under. Cool season grassed being planted. Cattle still being given hay.
SOUTHWEST TEXAS: soil moisture is adequate. Pastures, ranges remain in mid-summer dormancy due to dry spell. Forage availability is below normal. Small grains planted for winter forage; fields not in good condition. Good cabbage yields reported.
COASTAL BEND: soil moisture is very short. Rebedding of row crop land in progress. Late soybean harvest under way; low yields expected. Range conditions deteriorating due to dryness. Supplemental feeding increasing. Pecan crop varies; prices are good.
SOUTH TEXAS: soil moisture is short to adequate. Some sorghum nearing harvest. Pastures and ranges in good condition. Sugarcane harvest beginning. Citrus harvest continues. Harvest of greens and peppers under way.