COLLEGE STATION - “Wet” is still the primary story across Texas. And wheat harvests are having problems due to the abundance of moisture, according to Texas Cooperative Extension officials.
Harvest delays are being reported in several areas, but the Panhandle is seeing more than just delays, said Dr. Carl Patrick, extension entomologist in Amarillo. Some wheat head armyworm damage is showing up when producers take their truckloads of wheat to the elevators.
“It has to be tied to the weather, the kind of spring we had,” Patrick said. “Wet conditions, thick wheat and mild temperatures combined to allow it to survive in greater numbers than we typically see.”
The wheat head armyworm is one of many insects seen every year, he said, but generally they don’t cause significant damage.
“I knew it was out there this year, but until the damage started showing up at the elevator, we didn’t know how big the problem was,” he said. “Usually the insect-damaged kernels are not high enough to cause them to dock the price, but this year is running four or fives higher than in the past and elevators are discounting the wheat.”
With the damage already done, producers can justify little in the way of treatment, Patrick said. Plus, any chemical treatment would require a pre-harvest interval and delay harvest for several weeks. At this time of the year, a timely harvest is important, he said.
The following condition reports are from Extension officials:
Panhandle: Temperatures were slightly above average much of the week. Some rain occurred over the area with amounts varying from 3/4 to 1inch and isolated reports of 2-3 inches. Soil moisture is rated very short to surplus with most areas reporting short to adequate.
Corn is rated fair to excellent with most areas reporting good.
Corn in the southern portion of the area has some southwestern corn borer activity.
Cotton is rated fair to excellent with most areas reporting fair. Warmer temperatures this week have improved the crop’s appearance. Thrips continue to be a problem in late-planted fields.
Peanuts are rated fair to good with no pest problems reported. Sorghum planting continues.
Stands are rated mostly fair to good.
Soybeans are rated fair to good with no pest problems reported.
Wheat harvest is progressing with only temporary halts because of occasional rain.
Insect-damaged kernels from wheat head armyworm continue to be reported.
Range conditions are rated mostly good. Cattle are in excellent condition. Horn flies continue to pester animals.
South plains: Weather has been hot with temperatures in the 90’s, which has allowed area cotton fields to make good progress. Cotton is in fair to good condition. Weed pressure is heavy and some Roundup applications were made.
Wheat harvest is continuing and yields have been excellent.
Corn is in good condition and has gained rapid growth this week.
Sorghum fields look excellent.
Peanuts are in good condition.
Pumpkins are growing well and warmer temperatures are promoting rapid growth.
Pastures and ranges are in good to excellent condition with an abundance of grass and weeds. Cattle are in good to excellent condition.
Rolling plains: Scattered thunderstorms and late evening showers were reported all across the region. Some have produced strong winds. Some field work was stopped for conditions to dry out.
Early planted cotton looks good; some cotton is still being planted.
Wheat and oat harvest for grain has also been slowed by wet fields. Good quality alfalfa hay has been reduced due to showers on freshly cut fields.
Pastures look great, stock tanks are mostly full and livestock are in good to excellent condition.
Weeds have increased so cotton farmers will be spraying soon.
The peach and pecan crops look good. Peach growers are battling brown rot disease due to wet humid conditions. Truck crops/produce is abundant.
North: Soil moisture ranges from adequate to surplus. Heavy rains caused localized flooding and washed out roads, fences, houses and barns.
The last rains damaged the wheat crop; harvest for both wheat and oats has stopped. The rain has caused some sprouting. Winter wheat is in fair to good condition, and 20 percent to 50 percent has been harvested.
Corn, grain sorghum and soybeans look good. Corn is silked and in good to excellent condition. Soybeans are in good condition. Sorghum is about 50 percent headed and in good condition.
Oats are about 20-50 percent harvested.
Rice is in good condition.
Cotton is in good condition. Warm humid days and nights have provided excellent growing conditions for pastures and crops.
Some hay meadows have not had a first cutting due to rain, but that which has been harvested has had impressive yields. Winter annual hays not yet harvested are lost.
Although about 30 percent of the summer grasses were lost to the drought, the rest should recover with the rainfall.
Livestock body conditions are very good and the market is very active.
Sweet potato farmers are reporting the excess moisture is hurting their crops.
Range and pasture conditions are good to excellent.
East: Watermelon, peach and blueberry harvests continue, and there is a good crop of berries this year.
Peas are ready to be picked, along with tomatoes, squash and other vegetables.
Pastures are in good condition. Producers are planting grass.
Cattle prices are steady to $2 per hundredweight higher. Demand is strong on quality calves and cows.
Heavy thunderstorms over the weekend brought 4-5 inches of rain to the region. Some localized flooding occurred, but no damage was reported. Temperatures are in the 90’s F.
Hay harvest is being hampered by wet conditions. Pastures are improving with moisture.
Far west: Soil moisture ranges from very short to surplus, and crops and pastures are in very poor to excellent condition.
Corn and sorghum are in good to excellent condition. Cotton is in very poor to excellent condition.
Winter wheat is in very poor to good condition.
Widely scattered storms were reported across the region dropping anywhere from a quarter inch to 2.5 inches of rain.
Hudspeth County reported some heavy storms with hail and high winds that damaged crops.
Cantaloupes and watermelons should be ready for harvest in two or three weeks.
West central: A cool front brought in continued rainfall in many areas this week.
Wheat harvest continues where fields are dry enough. Wheat and oat harvest is near completion in most areas.
Cutting and baling hay continues. The hay crop is excellent this year, with improved pastures and hay-grazer patches recording excellent yields.
Cotton planting is ending. Most cotton started well with very good moisture conditions.
Range and pastures remain in good condition due to above-average rainfall.
Livestock are in good to excellent condition. Internal parasites are a major problem for sheep and goats. Fly problems are extreme with all livestock.
Central: Due to substantial rainfall, some wheat and oat acreage could not be harvested.
Cloudy, wet weather has triggered disease development in the landscape and crops.
Hay producers are trying to get hay baled between rain storms; many are behind schedule.
Cattle are in good condition. Flies and mosquitoes continue to be a problem.
Southeast: Recent rains have greatly improved pastures. Tanks and ponds are at full levels for the first time in years.
Conditions are excellent at this time in Grimes County. A few fields have been cut this week or will be cutting this weekend. Most of the fields are 20-30 days past the opportune time.
Southwest: The region received over 2 inches of much-needed rain last week, bringing year-to-date cumulative rainfall to about 120 percent of the long-term average for the year.
Agriculture production outlook appears good, but evidence of the 23-month severe drought remains.
Corn, sorghum, cotton, peanuts, watermelons and cantaloupes are progressing well. Corn and sorghum have matured and are starting to dry down. The harvest should start in about two to three weeks.
Forage availability is above average, but better quality grasses have not fully recovered after the severe drought.
Wheat, oats, beets (for processing), green beans and squash harvests continue.
Onion harvest is complete, but yields were disappointing.
Coastal blend: Rain, along with warm and humid conditions, benefitted some areas but came too late for others. Some corn is showing signs of leaching in the leaves.
The first grain sorghum was harvested in the region. Sorghum harvest will increase if weather permits.
Cattle look good, with hay still being cut and baled where producers are able to get into fields.
South: Conditions have been hot and humid throughout most of the region. The mid-region reported adequate soil moisture conditions, while the eastern and western parts reported short to very short.
Grain sorghum harvest is picking up under the hot, dry weather. About 90 percent of the cotton crop has matured.
Citrus and sugarcane are being irrigated.
Range and pasture conditions are fair.