Corn yields so far some of the best in years
Writer: Robert Burns, 903-834-6191, firstname.lastname@example.org
COLLEGE STATION – The corn harvest finished in the southern and eastern parts of the state with generally pretty good yields and some outstanding ones, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agronomist.
“In the Gulf Coast region, yields were generally between 130 bushels per acre on the lower side and 150 bushels per acre on the higher end,” said Dr. Ronnie Schnell, AgriLife Extension state cropping systems specialist, College Station. “So things were pretty good overall in that area.”
Thanks to cooler conditions, timely rains and good management, yields were considerably better in the Blacklands region along the U.S. Interstate-35 corridor, Schnell said.
“We really had some outstanding yields in that part of the state. A lot of areas were in the 150 to 180 bushel per acre range,” he said. “And some areas were at 180 to over 200 bushels per acre, which is really just outstanding for that part of the state.”
About half the state’s annual 2 million acres of corn is grown in the Texas High Plains, and though some harvesting of early planted corn has begun, most of the crop, though mature, won’t be dried down and ready for harvest for at least another month, according to Schnell.
The recent rains in the High Plains came a little late to help the crop, he said.
“I’m really not sure what the yields are going to look like there yet,” Schnell said. “I think some folks were worried about catching timely rains. There are some who may have missed out. It’s just uncertain right now what it’s going to look like altogether.”
However, considering that many corn growers got a late start planting because of cold weather, plus a late freeze that bit some early planted corn, the yields so far have been surprising, he noted.
“It started out really dry, but we got some good moisture later, and we ended up with some good yields we haven’t seen in a long time,” he said.
More information on the current Texas drought and wildfire alerts can be found on the AgriLife Extension Agricultural Drought Task Force website at http://agrilife.tamu.edu/drought/ .
AgriLife Extension district reporters compiled the following summaries:
Central: Most counties reported 85 percent good soil moisture, rangeland and pasture conditions. Nearly all rated livestock and crops as 95 percent good. The weather was overcast and cool in the mornings, which promoted hay production and gave some relief to livestock stress from the heat. Parts of the region received small rains on and off during the week. There was some concern that the limited rain on planted wheat might cause germination but would not be enough moisture to keep plants alive. The cotton harvest was running in full gear, with yields ranging from 1.5 to 2 bales per acre. Grasshopper populations were still heavy, but there were no reports of fall armyworms in pastures. Some corn remained unharvested. Grain elevators were full, as was all farm storage.
Coastal Bend: From as much as 7 inches to as little of 0.5 inch of rain fell across the region. Most field activity was halted by the rains. While forage conditions improved due to the rains, the moisture spawned a lot of volunteer cotton and sorghum. The rice harvest was nearly completed. Only a small amount of sesame remained in the fields. Cattle prices continued to soar, while cattle inventories were at all-time lows.
East: The western part of the region received rain, while the eastern counties continued to dry out. Near the end of the week, heavy rains in Trinity County caused flash floods and soil erosion. In areas that received rain, forages continued to be productive. Hay harvesting wound down in areas that had received little or no rain. Armyworms and grasshoppers continued to cause problems for producers. Field preparation for winter pasture planting slowed due to dry conditions. Cereal rye seed for winter pasture plantings was scarce. Producers began fall cattle work. Cattle and livestock remained in good condition. Weaning and selling of spring calves and cull cows continued. Many producers were not retaining ownership of potential replacements from within their own herds due to the high market prices. Producers were using the high returns from cattle sales for much-needed improvements. Horn flies were still an issue in some areas. Feral hog control continued.
Far West: Rains fell over a period of several days, with amounts ranging from a trace up to 5 inches. High temperatures were in the upper 80s. Hudspeth and Presidio counties reported some flooding. Upton County reported a large increase in the dove population. Pasture and rangeland conditions ranged from fair to poor. Subsoil and topsoil moisture varied widely county to county, from short to adequate to surplus. All corn was mature, with about 50 percent of the crop harvested. Upland cotton was in good to excellent condition with all the bolls set and a large portion opening. Producers were beginning to plant winter wheat. All grain sorghum was headed, with some of the crop harvested.
North: Topsoil moisture was short to adequate throughout the counties. Scattered showers fell across the region, with amounts ranging from 0.5 inch to 3.5 inches. Temperatures were in the mid-70s in the mornings, rising to the upper 80s and low 90s by afternoon. Producers were planting winter wheat. The corn and sorghum harvests were complete. Summer grasses were becoming dormant, and producers started planting winter annuals. Overall, cattle were in good condition. Producers were advised to monitor cattle health as weather patterns quickly switched from hot to cool. Grasshoppers continued to be a problem.
Panhandle: Temperatures were near average for the week. From a trace to 2 inches of rain was received. In Collingsworth County, the peanut harvest began, and cotton had matured and was looking good. In Deaf Smith County, scattered showers once again slowed fieldwork, including the seemingly never-ending battle against weeds. Corn was generally in good condition, with some early plantings getting close to harvest. Insect problems were low, with the exception of fall armyworms. Cotton bollworm counts were increasing, however the number of beneficial insects were also building, which may offset further damage. Some producers are planting winter wheat, but grasshoppers were taking full advantage of the new seedling growth. More wheat will be planted as soon as fields dried out. The harvesting of silage and hay crops was halted by the rains. In Hansford County, producers were defoliating cotton. In Randall County, the harvesting of food corn began. All cotton in that county reached cutout, with about 30 percent of the crop opening bolls. Rangeland and pastures ranged from poor to excellent condition, with most counties reporting fair. Cattle were in good condition.
Rolling Plains: Heavy rains fell across the far western counties of the region, with accumulations of as much as 6.5 inches. Unfortunately, some southern counties remained very dry. Winter wheat planting began. Lower bolls on cotton plants began to open. Warmer temperatures were still needed to finish the crop. Rye grass planting was underway. Livestock generally remained in good condition. Grain sorghum headed out. Lake levels were still critically low.
South: Scattered showers fell over most of the region, slowing field activities but improving rangeland, pastures and soil moisture. In the northern part of the region, peanuts were doing well, sesame crops were seeding and strawberry growers had about 80 percent of the crop planted. The scattered showers stalled cotton harvesting, but warmer temperatures helped with sorghum harvesting. Soil moisture ranged from 100 percent very short to 80 percent adequate. In some counties, producers were able to reduce supplemental feeding of livestock, while in others they had to increase it due to poor grazing conditions. Cattle body-condition scores remained fair. In the eastern part of the district, good rains – as much as 4 to 6 inches in some instances – helped range and pastures. However, livestock producers continued to supplement cattle and wildlife with hay and protein to help make up for poor rangeland and pasture conditions. Cotton harvesting was stalled due to the rain. Soil moisture varied from 60 percent very short to 90 percent adequate. The western part of the region received light to fair showers. In Zavala County, supplemental feeding was ongoing; parts of the county received light showers, with 90 percent of the county remaining extremely dry. No planting activities were reported, as wheat and oat producers could not establish the crop due to lack of soil moisture. Spinach and onion producers continued pre-watering fields for planting. Cotton gins were operating at full capacity. Soil moisture conditions throughout the area ranged from 80 percent adequate to 80 to 90 percent very short. Rangeland and pastures were in good to fair condition. In the southern part of the region, conditions were extremely wet all week. Vegetable crops were progressing. In Hidalgo County, cotton harvesting was almost complete. However, stalk destruction and module moving was delayed due to wet fields. Soil moisture was 100 percent surplus in Cameron County, 100 percent adequate in Hidalgo County, 80 percent surplus in Starr County, and 40 to 80 percent surplus in the Willacy County area. Rangeland and pastures were in good to fair condition.
South Plains: The region received more rain, with amounts varying from as little as 2 inches to as much as 11 inches. All grain harvesting and wheat drilling was delayed due to wet conditions. Cotton looked good, but still needed more heat units to finish. There was concern the heavy rains might cause excessive growth/regrowth in cotton that had already reached cutout. Also, the lint in already opened bolls could be damaged by exposure to rain and begin to fall out of the bracts. On the bright side, the moisture was great for raising subsoil moisture levels that had been so low for the last few years. Rangeland and pastures began to improve as cool-season grasses emerged after the rains. Livestock were in good condition and no supplemental feeding was required. Already planted wheat was doing well.
Southeast: Soil moisture levels throughout the region were mostly in the adequate to surplus range, with Hardin County reporting 100 percent surplus. Rangeland and pasture ratings varied widely from fair to poor, with good ratings being the most common. Continued rain held up the cotton rice harvests in many areas, but benefited pastures. The rain also stalled out hay harvesting, but could mean another cutting once fields dry out. However, the delay may mean hay that is harvested will be more mature and of lower quality. Parts of Brazoria County received as much as 6 inches of rain, though some parts of the county remained dry. Livestock were in good condition. Where field conditions allowed, producers began to work land for winter cool-season forages. Armyworms were reported in the northwest part of Brazos County.
Southwest: The central north-to-south corridor of counties received more rains, some fairly good. The western half of the district continued to receive precipitation. The eastern half of the district also received showers, some scattered and others more substantial. Topsoil and subsoil moisture were improving. Cotton was in various stages of defoliation with harvest on hold in some areas due to wet conditions. In some of the central counties, the cotton harvest has been on hold long enough to create some problems and possible lint grade issues. Hayfields were showing some regrowth and another cutting may be in the cards. Livestock and pastures were in fair to good condition in most of the district. Forage and browsing availability in deer country was reported as good. The acorn crop was expected to be good as well. White-tailed bucks were losing the velvet on their horns, and the deer crop was predicted to be excellent.
West Central: The region had cooler temperatures but with very high humidity. Scattered showers from the recent tropical storm brought much-needed rainfall to most all counties. Burn bans were lifted. Producers continued field preparations for fall planting. Some small grain planting was already underway where it was not too wet, including wheat for early grazing. Early planted winter wheat was mostly emerged and doing well. Late-season grain sorghum looked good except for sugarcane aphid pressures. The grain sorghum harvest continued. Hay producers expected to get an additional cutting of hay thanks to the rain. Cotton was maturing and looked good. Bolls were set and starting to open. Rangeland and pastures improved. Livestock were in fair to good condition. Some fall livestock work began.