Drought Make Have Taken Significant Part Of Texas Cotton

Many areas haven't had enough rain to support crops this summer in some parts of Texas for cotton and other crops plus rangeland and pastures.

Published on: Jul 20, 2012

Calvin Trostle, Texas AgriLife Extension agronomist, Lubbock, says there are reasons that USDA's mid-summer estimate had projected Texas sorghum at 2.3 million acres.

"There's a couple of things that pulled the acreage back up," Trostle says. "Grain sorghum prices, which are tied to corn, remain strong. Also the Drought of 2011 reminded some people that corn has more risk involved than sorghum."

Corn is a riskier crop than sorghum during a drought for a couple of reasons, he notes. One, sorghum is more drought-tolerant and more likely to produce a crop when there is limited rainfall or irrigation capacity.

Another risk factor for corn that sorghum doesn't have is alflatoxin development during dry weather.

"Aflatoxin is just not an issue in grain sorghum the way it is in corn," Trostle says.

Trostle reports that a fair amount of grain sorghum was planted on the High Plains during the first two weeks of July. For some, sorghum was an option to drought-destroyed or hailed-out cotton in Texas.

"Some of that was primary crop sorghum, with a fair amount of acreage being put in after failed cotton," he says. 

Meanwhile, Siders reports that peanuts on the Texas High Plains are about one to two weeks ahead of where they were at this time last year.

"Irrigation is critical at this point in peanuts," Siders says. "It is critical not only for the plant to grow but also it creates an environment which is conducive for peg penetration in the soil."

Siders points out if the soil surface is too hot and dry, the pegs will not develop properly, and hence no peanut pod.

Weeds continue to be a challenge for peanuts—just as they are in cotton—but he says there are excellent herbicides labeled for peanuts.

Dry on the range

Veteran Shackelford County AgriLife Extension Agent Rocky Vinson says the drought certainly hasn't ended in his Albany, Texas area—some of Texas' traditionally best ranch country.