Farm and ranch report for 12-4-2019

Texas Districts
A little rain was reported in some areas with little to no accumulation. Wheat and oats were off to a good start with recent rains. Pasture conditions continued to decline as warm-season grasses went dormant. Ponds were starting to show signs of drought stress. Cattle were in good condition with producers feeding hay and supplemental nutrition. Nearly all counties reported short soil moisture levels.

Rolling Plains:
Areas of the district received much-needed rainfall. Winter wheat conditions varied from very poor to good depending on planting date. Cow-calf and stocker operations were providing protein supplements and hay where forages were limited. Cotton harvest continued.

Coastal Bend:
Soil moisture levels were beginning to dry out again. Rowcrop fieldwork continued in preparation for spring planting. Ratoon rice crop harvest was almost complete with varying yields and quality reported. The early frost and freeze caused damage in most rice fields. Freeze damage and sandhill cranes were responsible for most damage to the ratoon rice crop this season. Cattle were in fair condition on supplemental feed. Some late hay was cut and baled. Cool-season forages germinated, but moisture was needed to initiate growth. Pecan harvest continued.

Areas of the district that received good amounts of rain experienced good growth of winter cover crops. Other areas that remained in drought-like conditions showed little to no growth. Many counties needed more rain. Pasture and rangeland conditions were fair. Subsoil and topsoil conditions were adequate. Livestock were in fair to good condition with producers providing supplemental feed. Houston County received reports of flies. Wild pigs continued to cause damage in pastures and hay meadows.

South Plains:
Farmers were still harvesting cotton with average to below average yields reported. Two days of cooler temperatures and very strong winds kept farmers from planting winter wheat or oats. Most wheat fields were planted, but fields without irrigation were struggling. Freezing rain did not provide adequate moisture. Sunflowers not-yet-harvested were expected to be destroyed. Cattle were in good condition.

Pasture and rangeland conditions were fair to good. The district experienced high, drying winds with little moisture. Winter wheat had emerged and was in fair condition. Cotton and soybean harvests were complete. Subsoil and topsoil levels were adequate.

Topsoil moisture levels were mostly adequate. Small amounts of precipitation were keeping moisture levels good. Some counties reported 1.5-2 inches of rainfall. The district experienced warm temperatures. Winter wheat emerged and looked good. Winter pastures planted early experienced some growth following rain and sunshine. Livestock were in good condition. Most producers were feeding hay. Cow-calf producers had weaned, culled, shipped and marketed their calf crops and cull cows. Fall calving should be complete soon.

Far West:
Temperatures were in the upper 70s with lows in the mid-30s. Precipitation averaged between trace amounts up to 1.5 inches. The weather was good for harvest and planting. Winter wheat and oats were still too short for grazing. Cotton harvest was almost complete. Pecans continued to fall, and the quality of mature pecans was very good. Livestock conditions were fair while rangeland conditions were poor. Livestock producers provided supplemental feed to livestock in areas where conditions were dry and forage quality was low.

West Central:
Temperatures were cooler, and light rain was reported. Cotton harvest continued. Winter wheat planting was in full swing, and producers were finally seeing emergence following recent rains. Condition of emerged wheat improved, but it was still too early for grazing. Rangeland and pasture conditions were poor. Producers were feeding livestock.

Winter pastures looked good despite cooler temperatures. Some areas experienced warmer temperatures, which allowed for significant cool-season forage development. Livestock were in good health, and most producers have hay for the winter. Chambers County reported rain, but everything was drying up. Producers began planting ryegrass. The forecast called for dropping temperatures. Rangeland and pasture ratings were fair to very poor, with good ratings being most common. Soil-moisture levels ranged from adequate to very short with adequate being most common.

Seasonal to warmer temperatures were reported. Trace amounts of rain were reported, but dry conditions continued. Rangeland and pasture conditions improved in counties that received moisture. Livestock were in fair condition, and supplemental feeding continued.

Mild weather and adequate to very short soil moisture levels were reported. Maverick County reported no rain and high temperatures of 85 degrees and lows around 50 degrees. Dimmit County reported trace amounts of rain. Soil moisture conditions in Jim Wells County continued to decline. Conditions were dry in Atascosa County, and peanut harvest was about 75% complete and nearing completion in other counties. Small grains had emerged but still needed rain. Fields that received rain responded well to moisture. Pasture and rangeland conditions were fair, and livestock supplemental feeding continued. Some producers reported reduced supplemental feeding for livestock and wildlife. Bermuda grass was dormant. Spinach harvest was active, and cabbage made good progress. Fall vegetables crops in Starr County were progressing well. Producers were shipping hay. Prices for round bales were starting to exceed $65 for 1,000-pound round bales of medium quality hay. High quality hay was approaching $100 per bale. Hidalgo County producers were preparing fields for spring planting. Some growers have done some preplant watering to keep moisture at reasonable levels.