Thursday, September 18, 2014




Extension Agent: Harvest nears completion

By By Peter J. McGuill
Sept. 3, 2013 at 4:03 a.m.

Peter McGuill

A little windshield time on the back roads of the crop-growing areas of the Crossroads yields a view of harvested fields, a smattering of cotton waiting to be picked and a few tractors turning the soil in preparation for next year's opportunity to begin the cycle again.

The summer rains that we have recently enjoyed have been a welcomed change for the cattle producers and hay growing enterprises. Forage growth had been, at best, sparse for most of the year, and it looked as if the rains would never fall.

Grass growth that resulted from the May and June rains had long since disappeared, as did the green in the pastures and fields. These recent rains, however, are beginning to waken the dormant grasses and changing the landscape to a more favorable green hue.

For our crop farmers, it appeared as if they couldn't buy rain when they desperately needed it. Areas of the county, until recently, failed to receive any measurable rainfall since late April.

Those April showers were greatly beneficial to support crops' water needs early in the growing season, but when the crops needed water the most, the clouds tended to float over without delivering their blessing.

As a result of missing these timely rains, the crop yields in Victoria County failed to realize their potential and fell well below the historic average. Some fields of corn and sorghum fared a bit better than most because of a fortunate scattered shower, yet this was the exception rather than the rule in 2013.

Dryland farming along the Texas Gulf Coast can be best described as feast or famine. There are years that the rains fall perfectly in line with crop needs and yield a bountiful crop.

Yet there are years, such as this, that just don't seem to go right, and the weather seems out of alignment. But those in agriculture have always been and probably will always be a resilient bunch that carries with them an optimism that next year will be better.

Festival in the Gardens

Mark your calendar for the Festival in the Gardens hosted by the Victoria County Master Gardener Association. This group of dedicated volunteers has planned a day full of activities for children and adults alike.

Children's activities in the gardens, educational programs for your home and landscape and the much-anticipated VCMGA Plant Sale will all take place at the Victoria Educational Gardens on Sept. 14 at the Victoria Educational Gardens. The Gardens are across from the control tower at the Victoria Regional Airport. Look for more information in the upcoming "Gardener's Dirt" column in Friday's edition of the Victoria Advocate or visit vcmga.org.

Peter J. McGuill is the Victoria County extension agent - ag and natural resources. Contact him at 361-575-4581 or pjmcguill@ag.tamu.edu.

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