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Weather patterns impact crops, stock
Jul 16, 2013 | 442 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Heat-wise, Texas had a roller coaster ride the last days of June and the first week of July.

During the last few days of June, temperatures were extremely high in much of the state, stressing row crops, pastures, rangeland and livestock, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service personnel.

In some areas, historical records were broken the last week of June. In San Antonio, a 108-degree day was the highest since the 1800s, when records began to be taken, said Aaron Treadway, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in New Braunfels.

But during the first days of July, it was record lows that were broken.

“It’s been pretty much a roller coaster ride of extreme temperatures,” Treadway said. “It’ll warm back up as we get into the middle of July, and we’ll see temperatures back in the century mark.”

Last week, the same high-pressure zone that is blocking cooler air from the north and causing extremely hot weather on the West Coast, was behind the extreme highs in Texas, Treadway said.

The summer high-pressure zone is what meteorologists call the “death ridge,” he said, as it not only blocks cool fronts but moisture as well.

Death-ridge conditions are not that much out of the ordinary; they just came a little earlier this year, and will likely return mid-July, he said.

The week or so of extremely high, near-record breaking temperatures combined with drought conditions during the last half of June were hard on all crops, said Dr. Travis Miller, AgriLife Extension agronomist and Texas A&M University soil and crop sciences associate department head.

More information on the current Texas drought and wildfire alerts can be found on the AgriLife Extension Agricultural Drought Task Force website at http://agrilife.tamu.edu/drought/.

AgriLife Extension district reporters compiled the following summaries for the week of June 25 – July 1:

South: (Live Oak and McMullen)

Rain came to a few counties. Atascosa and La Salle counties received rain, while Frio and McMullen did not. Brooks County received some light, scattered showers. The rest of the region remained dry.

Soil moisture conditions were short to very short in the eastern and southern parts of the region, adequate to short in the western parts of the region, and adequate in the northern parts of the region.

Generally, soil-moisture levels dropped due to triple-digit temperatures and persistent high winds.

Rangeland and pastures were beginning to decline throughout most of the region as temperatures soared into the triple digits, and strong winds were constant.

In Frio County, peanut planting neared completion, corn was being harvested and sorghum was turning color.

Jim Wells County producers were harvesting hay. Many row-crop fields were being zeroed out by insurance adjusters and plowed under.

Zavala County cotton was progressing well, corn was quickly maturing or already drying down, melons were being harvested, while the onion harvest wound down.

In Hidalgo County, grain sorghum and corn harvesting was very active. Starr County row-crop producers continued with grain sorghum harvesting, while the harvesting of cantaloupes, watermelons and hay continued.

Coastal Bend: (Bee County)

Oppressively hot, dry weather settled over the area, causing a rapid decrease of soil moisture, and stressing crops and livestock. Some counties were harvesting corn and sorghum as the triple-digit temperatures sped up the maturation of both crops.

Ranchers were still feeding range cubes and hay as pastures deteriorated because of the ongoing drought. There was some rain reported over the last weekend of June, but none was forecast for the first week of July.
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