Contact: Edith A. Chenault, (979) 845-2886, firstname.lastname@example.org
COLLEGE STATION – The state’s corn growers are getting an earful about the success of this year’s crop, the Texas Agricultural Extension Service reports.
Statewide corn production is estimated at 240 million bushels, a 29 percent increase from 1998 and nearly 3 percent of the 9.47 billion bushels grown nationally, according to the Texas Agricultural Statistics Service.
Extension agronomist Dr. Cloyce Coffman in College Station said he attributes favorable weather conditions during the early growing stage to the above average yields.
“Cool nights during the early vegetative stage gave the crop a good start,” he said. “The overall cool spring is a very important factor.”
Ronald Leps, extension agent in Williamson County, said there was also abundant rainfall in the spring.
“Good soil moisture played an important part,” he said.
Leps said the above average yields in Central Texas led to a slow harvest.
“The grain elevators just don’t have the capacity for such high yields,” he said. “This really lengthened our harvest time.”
Leps said the dry weather allowed for the prolonged harvest without any damage to the corn.
“The weather really cooperated,” he said. “It allowed us to still reach such high yields despite the slow harvest.”
Leps said corn replaced nearly 20,000 acres of cotton and grain sorghum in Williamson County, also contributing to the increased yields.
“The decision was one of dollars and cents,” he said. “There is just more profit potential with corn.”
Coffman said growers were fortunate to not encounter any significant problems with insects and disease.
“The only problem out of the ordinary was hail damage in the Panhandle during the early vegetative stage,” he said. “However, many of the fields were replanted.”
Corn prices are not much of a surprise to growers, Coffman added.
“They are not particularly good,” he said. “But this is not a significant change.”
In Southwest Texas, extension economist Joe Pena in Uvalde said the fall dry spell is taking its toll on agriculture in the region.
“Pastures and ranges remain in mid-summer dormancy,” he said. “The forage availability is way below normal for this period.”
Pena said even if it rains now, it is doubtful whether there will be sufficient forage for winter.
“The dry spell is also delaying the planting of small grains,” he said. “It appears that farmers will switch to spring wheat, but we will still need rain.”
Pena said progress on fall melon crops is also slowing due to the dry spell.
“Fall vegetable crops are making good progress though with the help of heavy irrigation,” he said.
In North Texas, district extension director Randy Upshaw said recent rains brought relief to wheat fields and pastures.
“However, the frost on Nov. 3 eliminated most hopes for additional growth of winter forage,” he said.
Upshaw said many other crops are struggling with the lack of rain.
“The wheat and oats are in need of moisture,” he said. “Fall gardens are also failing from the lack of rain.”
Upshaw also said stress and dust have led to a high incidence of pneumonia in beef cattle.
“Producers are showing less and less interest in keeping cattle through the winter,” he said.
The following specific livestock, crop and weather conditions were reported by district extension directors:
PANHANDLE: soil moisture is short to very short. Low temperatures brought the first hard freeze of the season; sorghum harvest will soon be completed. Cotton harvest under way; cotton aphids a continuing problem. Good corn yields reported. Cattle doing well.
SOUTH PLAINS: soil moisture is short to adequate. Pastures in fair to good condition. Cotton harvest continues. Wheat is in fair to good condition; irrigated wheat progressing well. Sorghum, soybean, sunflower harvests continue. Good pecan crop reported.
ROLLING PLAINS: soil moisture is short to very short. Wheat planting continues; crop rated fair to poor. Most of the cotton will be harvested after the first killing freeze. Peanut harvest continues; good yields and quality reported. Supplemental feeding increasing.
NORTH TEXAS: soil moisture is very short to short. Recent rains brought relief to wheat fields and pastures. Frost eliminated hopes of forage growth. Beef cattle struggling with pneumonia; less interest in keeping them through the winter. Fall gardens failing.
EAST TEXAS: soil moisture is short. First frost reported. Pasture conditions poor. Cattle doing well; hay feeding under way. Greens progressing well. Vegetable planting continues with increased soil moisture. Good pecan yields reported.
FAR WEST TEXAS: soil moisture is very short. Pastures declining due to dry conditions. Continued supplemental feeding of livestock. Cotton harvest continuing; producers still spraying for bollworms. Pecan harvest beginning; facing problems with aphids.
WEST CENTRAL TEXAS: soil moisture is very short to short. Oat producers are preparing, planting fields. Cotton harvest continues; yields remain low. Producers are culling livestock. Pasture conditions deteriorating. Poor pecan quality reported; attributed to dry weather.
CENTRAL TEXAS: soil moisture is short. Conditions improving after recent rainfall. Very little pasture, oats, wheat planted due to drought. Corn and sorghum crops are reported at record` levels. Dryland peanuts are very poor.
SOUTHEAST TEXAS: soil moisture is very short to short. More oat planting due to recent rainfall. Some extra wheat acreage planted for seed and grazing; more moisture needed to see growth. Rice fields being drained. Greens being planted. Pecan harvest in full swing.
SOUTHWEST TEXAS: soil moisture is adequate. Pastures and ranges remain in mid-summer dormancy. Peanut harvest is nearing completion with good yields, quality reported. Fall cabbage harvest in full swing. Fall dry spell is delaying small grain planting.
COASTAL BEND: soil moisture is very short. Land preparations continue for next year’s crop. Peanuts harvested; yields have been good. Cattle doing well; supplemental feeding continues. Vegetables making good progress. Pecan crop ranges from poor to good.
SOUTH TEXAS: soil moisture is short. No moisture reported; many farmers resorting to irrigation. Fall corn crops are progressing well. Harvesting of sugarcane is in full swing. Cabbage and other vegetables are progressing well. Pastures declining.