Farm and Ranch
Texas Crop and Weather Report July 20, 2021
By Adam Russell, Texas A&M
Jul 21, 2021
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AgriLife Extension district reporters compiled the following summaries:

Temperatures were slightly below normal. Topsoil and subsoil moisture conditions were excellent. Precipitation amounts received so far this month were approaching all-time record levels for the month of July. More rain was in the forecast. Corn was drying down nicely, and sorghum fields had all changed color. Harvesting may start in a couple of weeks if drier, warmer weather resumes. The cotton crop was improving and producing bolls as the soil dried. Potassium-deficiency symptoms were noted in cotton due to wet conditions. The hay crop quality appeared good and was mostly baled in advance of further armyworm damage and rainfall events. Fall armyworms were common across both rural and urban landscapes following the recent wet weather. Widespread spraying continued. Livestock were in good condition.

Rain showers were hit or miss. Topsoil moisture was getting short. Pastures were in excellent condition for this time of year. Sudan grass and native rangelands were thriving. Approximately 400 additional acres of Sudan grass were planted for bale production. Wheat was still being harvested, but remaining fields were very poor quality and load refusals were reported. Producers who were plowing wheat fields stopped plowing because moisture levels were too low. Cotton was beginning to establish and benefit from the abundant soil moisture. Conditions were ideal for grasshoppers and armyworms. The pests were causing problems for hay producers who continued to cut and bale pastures.

Crop conditions continued to deteriorate under more rain. Some fields were still holding water. Sorghum heads were sprouting. Sugarcane aphid populations were increasing in grain sorghum. Corn was mature and needed harvesting, but field conditions were too wet. Cotton was shedding bolls due to excess moisture. Rainfall during rice pollination was estimated to reduce rice yields 5%-10%. Pastures were lush and should produce heavy hay yields as soon as conditions dry enough. Armyworms were spotted in fields and pastures. Cattle remained in good to excellent condition with all the grazing, and market prices were on the rise.

Wet weather conditions continued to cause delays and problems for producers and landowners. Pasture and rangeland conditions were good. Subsoil and topsoil conditions were adequate. Armyworms invaded the district, with Smith County reporting heavy infestations. Horn flies, horse flies and mosquitos were problematic as well. Livestock were doing fair to good. Wild pigs increased activity and have been a district-wide issue.

Very wet conditions continued across the district. Rainfall totals varied from just under 1 inch to over 5 inches. Continued rain showers were causing significant weed growth, and farmers were busy spraying to keep them under control. Producers were also spraying cotton with growth regulators to limit plant size due to all the rain received. Cotton started blooming in some areas. Insect pressure in cotton remained low. Pastures were in excellent condition. Corn was in good condition and sorghum will be heading out soon. Cattle were in good condition.

Northern and central areas reported short to adequate soil moisture levels while southern areas reported adequate soil moisture. Weather was unseasonably cool with high temperatures in the mid-80s and lows in the low-60s. Producers were trying to control weed pressure produced by recent rainfall events. Pastures and rangelands were in fair to good condition. Winter wheat and oats were being harvested. Wheat yields were surprisingly good despite all the rain. Corn was in good to excellent condition and many fields were just now tasseling. Sorghum, cotton and soybeans were in fair to good condition. Cotton needed additional heat units. Peanut conditions were good. 

Topsoil moisture throughout the district was mostly adequate. Conditions were hot and dry before turning cool. Showers delivered up to 3.5 inches of rainfall and improved drying soils. Summer pastures looked very good. Producers were busy spraying for fall armyworms in pastures and hayfields. High numbers of grasshoppers were reported in pastures, hayfields and crops.

Temperatures remained moderate with lows in upper 60s and highs in the mid-90s. Monsoon rainfall continued across the district over the past week with 0.3-2 inches reported. The frequent rains have created a shallower root system in crops compared to most years, and more rain would benefit dryland cotton, which was beginning to show moisture stress. Grain sorghum fields were heading out and blooming. Growers had most weed issues under control, but herbicide-resistant pigweed was becoming a larger problem each season. Cotton flea hopper numbers were higher than in most years, and many fields were treated to this point. Melon harvest continued. Pastures could use another rain.

Thunderstorms brought more timely rain to most parts of the district. Temperatures were unseasonably cool. Pasture and rangeland conditions were unusually green for mid-July, and soil moisture levels were in good shape. Hay producers were busy cutting and baling. Producers were gearing up to spray hay fields following reports of armyworms. Rangeland conditions continued to improve due to excellent soil moisture and growing conditions. Livestock were in fair to good condition. High grain prices continued to cause uncertainty in the cattle market.

Conditions continued to be wet in areas of the district. Grimes and San Jacinto counties reported issues with armyworms earlier than normal. Rice was progressing and starting to head out. Pastures and hay meadows were growing, but producers were unable to harvest due to excessive moisture. Wet conditions could cause a hay shortage if fields do not dry enough soon. Rangeland and pasture ratings were very poor to excellent with good ratings being the most common. Soil moisture levels ranged from very short to surplus with surplus being the most common.

Moderate temperatures were reported with scattered showers across the district. Rangeland and pastures were in good condition. Haygrazer was being cut and baled. Producers were waiting for some fields to dry before harvest. Sutton County reported a large infestation of grasshoppers. Corn and grain sorghum crops continued to mature. Cotton continued to mature. Cattle, sheep and goat markets looked good. Livestock and wildlife were in good condition. Antler development on whitetail deer was expected to be better than average.

Light showers and mild temperatures continued. Temperatures were below normal. Soil moisture levels were adequate to saturated. Several counties reported half an inch of rainfall up to 6 inches in some areas. Producers in Jim Hogg County reported rainfall totals of 18-20 inches since June 1. Corn fields were in good condition and in silking stages. Sorghum was in good condition with all fields headed out and most changing color. Some corn and sorghum fields were harvested, and others were being prepared for harvest. There were some reports of damages due to rain, including grain sprouting in sorghum. Sorghum producers were also monitoring fields closely for sugarcane aphids. Peanut fields looked good and were pegging. Some peanuts were being sprayed for fungus. Row crop harvests were being delayed by wet conditions. Fieldwork was on hold in many areas as well. Some cotton, hay, corn and sugarcane fields were in standing water. There was concern about aflatoxin in corn if wet conditions continued. Cotton was behind schedule in many areas as some fields had not bloomed yet while others had set bolls. Bermuda grass fields were being cut and baled and many were producing good yields. Rangeland and pasture conditions were good to very good due to recent rainfall and providing plenty of grazing, but some areas remained drier with fair rangeland and pasture conditions. Ranchers continued to provide supplemental feed for cattle and wildlife. Feed prices continued to rise. Cattle prices were up as well. Watermelon and cantaloupe fields continued to produce.