Many areas, some of which were under exceptional drought, received drenching rains over the Memorial Day weekend, greatly improving the prospects for crops and forages, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service personnel.

Even better, the rains generally came slowly and continued over a period of three or more days, according to regional reports. This meant that flooding and washouts were minimal as the moisture had time to soak in.

“It was just a wonderful rain,” said Dr. Travis Miller, AgriLife Extension agronomist and Texas A&M University soil and crop sciences associate department head, College Station. “It’ll make a tremendous difference for livestock operations. We’ll grow a lot of grass and hay with this. Much of the High Plains just had no moisture for planting. This one event won’t make a crop, but it’ll get them well on the way.”

Parts of the Panhandle, the South Plains and the Rolling Plains received varying amounts, from as little as 0.5 inch to 6 inches. 

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One of the biggest winners was West Central Texas and the San Angelo area, where 11 inches and more were reported.

“Since the first of the year we had 0.85 inch; the driest in a century,” said Steve Byrns, AgriLife Extension communications specialist, San Angelo. “But since Friday (May 23) at my house, I’ve had almost a foot of rain — including 1.5 inches we received last Monday night. What a blessing!”

Miller noted that some areas were passed over. Only the more western counties in South Texas received rain, about 1.5 inches in some cases. In the Rolling Plains, the western counties got about 4 inches, while the eastern half of the region was largely left dry.

But for those who did receive the perfect rain storm, particularly in the High Plains, it came just in time, Miller said, as there’s still time to plant most crops.

“Most everyone will need another rain during the growing season,” he said. “In locations which had heavy, prolonged rains, we may have had enough moisture to fill soil profiles, which will carry crops well towards maturity, although more rain will be needed to make a good crop.”

More information on the current Texas drought and wildfire alerts can be found on the AgriLife Extension Agricultural Drought Task Force website.

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