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2010 brings wet but successful harvest

By ALLISON MILES
Oct. 5, 2010 at 5:05 a.m.

Excessive moisture toward the end of the 2010 growing season damaged many grain sorghum crops throughout the Crossroads area. Of the more than 20,000 acres planted in Victoria County, 9,000 acres failed. This year's harvest is nearly at its end.

For more information, contact your area extension office. Those numbers include:

Victoria County: 361-575-4581

Lavaca County: 361-798-2221

Victoria County saw a successful 2010 harvest, despite soggier-than-usual conditions.

Grain sorghum was the hardest-hit crop throughout Victoria County, county Extension Agent Joe Janak said. Of the 20,329 acres planted, 9,000 failed due to excessive moisture.

Even the sorghum that was harvested brought difficulties, he said, explaining farmers received a dock of approximately $1.25 per hundredweight, due to sprouted grain.

"It was probably the worst crop grown in the county for 2010," Janak said.

Other crops faired better, however.

Corn yields were high, averaging about 107 bushels per acre, he said, but some areas yielded up to 150 bushels. Soybeans crops averaged 45 bushels per acre but brought in up to 70 bushels in some areas.

Lavaca County plays home to fewer row crops than surrounding counties do but it also saw a healthy corn harvest, said Shannon DeForest, the county's extension agent for agriculture and natural resources.

"The harvest went real well," he said. "Most people saw over 100 bushels of corn, some considerably more than that."

Lavaca County focuses more on the beef and forage business than row crops, however, and DeForest said both industries also saw a boost in 2010.

The added moisture meant healthy pasture conditions and a boost to the hay business.

"We had to buy hay the last two years during the drought," DeForest explained. And, this year, we have a lot of people who have actually put up all the hay they need and then some. There's a lot of hay still being put up now."

Hay isn't the only thing still under way across the Lone Star State. The cotton harvest isn't complete just yet.

Producers are required by state law to destroy cotton stalks by a certain date but the local deadline was pushed back to Oct. 15, said Jeff Nunley, executive director of the South Texas Cotton and Grain Association.

About 10 percent of cotton remains in the fields throughout Victoria County, but that number jumps to about 70 percent in areas such as El Campo, he said.

"We've had such wet weather that the guys who have harvested haven't had time to get the stalks out," he said.

Removing cotton stalks facilitates boll weevil eradication efforts, Nunley added.

"The sooner we get them out, the better," he said.

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