News Headlines

Texas crop weather for Feb. 18

COLLEGE STATION – The drought may have receded in much of Texas, but reservoir levels are, if anything, worse in many areas than they were a year ago, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert.

“If we look at the major urban cities, particularly from the Metroplex down the Interstate 35 corridor, on down to San Antonio, it’s pretty dire,” said Dr. Guy Fipps, AgriLife Extension irrigation engineer, College Station.

According to the Texas Water Development Board, monitored water supply reservoirs were about 65 percent full as of Feb. 17. But the number is misleading, Fipps said, because the average is skewed by many of the larger reservoirs in East Texas, such as the Jacksonville Reservoir, which is full.

“What we see out in East Texas, the reservoir levels are pretty good, but if we move to the central part of the state, we really have pretty low reservoir levels, and in some places, it’s even worse than it was last year,” he said.

Cities will see continuing water-use restrictions, according to Fipps. As far as agricultural interests, it depends upon where they are, but many who depend upon river water will likely see recurring cutbacks in water allocations.

Some of the lowest reservoirs are those fed by the Rio Grande River, such as Amistad reservoir in Val Verde County at 62.6 percent full and Falcon Reservoir, southeast of Laredo at 33.8 percent, he said.

“This water (in both reservoirs) is shared between Texas and Mexico, and cities in Texas have priority over agriculture, so it looks like another bad year for Texas farmers and irrigation districts in the lower Rio Grande Basin,” Fipps said. “And the Highland Lakes around Austin, they’re running really low, which also bodes really bad for downstream agricultural water users and even cities there in the Austin area, which will likely see continuing yard watering restrictions.”

The problem is that the rainfall hasn’t been evenly distributed across the state, he said.

“Here in the Bryan, College Station area, where I live, we’ve received lots of rainfall, but we don’t have reservoirs around here, as we rely on groundwater,” Fipps said.

“If you look to the Hill Country and in northwest Texas, where most of the rainfall would have had to occur to fill the reservoirs, they just haven’t had any rains to create runoff.”

AgriLife Extension district reporters compiled the following summaries:

East: Conditions varied across the region, with southern counties reporting rain and continued wet conditions, while the northern counties had dry, sunny weather. Temperature highs were reported in the 70s at the beginning of the week, then dropping to the 30s. The higher temperatures helped winter forages catch up and somewhat dried out waterlogged roots. Only Harrison County reported subsoil moisture as short. Other counties in the region reported adequate or surplus soil moisture. Topsoil moisture was reported as adequate or surplus in all counties except Harrison, which reported it as short. Ponds and creeks remained full in Cherokee County. Anderson County truck farmers and row crop producers were prevented from working in the fields due to the wet conditions. Fruit trees and bare-root trees were being planted and pruned. Cattle prices were firm, with some classes higher. Hay and supplements were still being fed to cattle. Most cattle were in good condition. Spring calving was in progress. Weaning and selling of market-ready calves and cull cows continued. Goat prices remained good, with demand strong. Several counties reported feral hog activity.

Southeast: Soil moisture varied widely, but was mostly in the adequate to surplus range. Rangeland and pasture ratings varied widely too, from good to excellent, with fair being the most common rating. Hardin County was the exception, reporting 100 percent poor rangeland and pasture conditions. Warmer weather was needed to support grass growth. The available moisture favored cool-season forage growth. Rain was forecast for the next week, and winter-pasture producers were busy applying nitrogen fertilizer. Some producers were applying phosphorus and potassium as well. Chicken litter was also being applied to hay fields. In Fort Bend County, producers were spraying weeds in preparation for planting. Livestock were in fair to good condition.


Roughriders Sports

Family Features

Loading Family Features Content Widget
Loading Family Features Article