COLLEGE STATION – Rain continued to push back the Texas drought, with most of the northeastern, central, southeastern and eastern parts of the state either out of the drought or merely abnormally dry, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor status report of March 27.
But as much as 67 percent of the state remained under one stage of drought or another, according to the monitor.
All of the state remained unseasonably warm, according to this week’s reports by Texas AgriLife Extension Service personnel. The above-average temperatures were a mixed blessing. The warm days quickened the maturing of wheat and brought warm-season grasses out of dormancy early in some areas. In other regions that were not so fortunate to receive frequent rains, the warm weather further dried out soils.
“(Last month) ended as the second-warmest March on record for Lubbock, with the last freezing low recorded on March 4,” noted Mark Brown, AgriLife Extension agent for Lubbock County, Lubbock.
“Soil moisture content is adequate as farmers continue to bed fields, getting ready to plant cotton,” said Ryan Martin, AgriLife Extension agent for Motley County, southeast of Amarillo. “Although conditions are a complete turn around from this time last year, Motley County producers are still worried that the rains could stop at any time.”
“With above-normal temperatures combined with rapid spring green-up, soil moisture is being rapidly depleted,” said Steve Estes, AgriLife Extension agent for Jones County, west of Fort Worth. “Drought effects still linger around the county. About 50 percent or more of livestock ponds are still at extremely low levels. Wheat is on the fast track of maturing, while some acreage is being harvested for hay.”
“Warm weather and some rain has given wheat a big boost,” said Jerry Warren, AgriLife Extension agent for Callahan County, east of Abilene. “Weeds are going to be a problem in some wheat fields — unless they’re grazed out. Some producers are considering buying back cattle that were sold during last year’s drought. They are cautiously optimistic.”
“Good rains recently filled all tanks,” said Lyle Zoeller, AgriLife Extension agent for Coryell County, south of Fort Worth. “All range and pastures are very green and good. Oats and wheat are the best in Coryell County in the last 15 years, and much is being cut for hay.”