With triple digit temperatures and virtually no rainfall, farms and growers in East Texas have been dealing with depleted soil moisture levels and shrinking pond levels, according to the latest report from the Texas AgriLife Extension Service out of Overton.
Some Gregg and Sabine county producers continued hay harvests with Cherokee County reporting 25-50 percent less than normal for their second cutting.
The list of producers looking for hay continued to grow in Trinity, Houston and Anderson counties. Pasture and rangeland conditions were poor to very poor across the district with a few exceptions. Sabine County reported good pasture and rangeland conditions, and Jasper and Gregg counties reported fair conditions.
Counties reported short to very short subsoil conditions in all but Sabine, Jasper and Gregg counties. Topsoil conditions were also short to very short in all but Sabine and Jasper counties, which reported adequate conditions. Anderson County cotton was good to excellent, while grain sorghum, corn and soybean fields were burning up or were too far gone to recover.
Watermelon and peach season slowed down. Most gardeners in Marion County were watering more than once a day to keep their gardens growing and a large number of producers had given up. Marion County was added to the ever-growing burn ban list. In Marion County, cows were holding their weight, and calves were growing well even with grass drying out.
Gregg and Shelby counties reported local cattle prices were lower for the most part. Houston County cattle sale numbers were up due to grass shortage, and slaughter prices were down, but calves were steady to higher.
Armyworm infestations were reported in pastures and hay meadows in Cherokee, Gregg and Wood counties. Feral hogs continued to cause problems for producers and homeowners in Anderson, Shelby, Wood and Trinity counties.