What is in this article?:
- In spite of needed soil moisture, farmers begin sorghum planting in the Coastal Bend
- Alternate crops
- Planting is underway in coastal bend.
- Core samples indicate there is enough soil moisture to start a crop.
- A few growers are looking hard at drought-tolerant alternatives.
Cotton and sorghum growers in the Coastal Bend are concerned about low subsoil moisture levels and the prospect for needed rain this spring, but that hasn’t stopped most from starting the process of getting this year’s crop in the ground.
“This area is traditionally number one in the state for grain sorghum production and last year’s drought wasn’t as bad for us as it was for others because we started the year with a lot of moisture in the ground. But this year, as it stands now, we’re about 15 inches of rain short of where we would like to be in terms of soil moisture. Without it the prospects of a good crop year are not promising,” reports Nueces County Extension Agent Jeff Stapper.
He says recent core samples indicate there is enough soil moisture to start a crop this year, but without substantial rain in the spring, dry land crops will suffer and yields will falter.
“We were fortunate to receive from 4 to 6 inches of rain in February, but core samples indicate soil moisture is at about 50 to 70 percent of capacity, and while that doesn’t sound so bad, it is a clear indication that more rain will be needed soon for a young crop to thrive,” he adds.
Many producers in Nueces County rotate cotton and grain sorghum, and like most everywhere in drought-stricken Texas, concerns for adequate rainfall is the number one issue on growers’ minds.