Precipitation Boosts Hopes for Good Start to

2012 High Plains Crop

Friday, March 30, 2012                          By Mary Jane Buerkle

      Planting time for the 2012 crop is approaching at a rapid pace, and many producers are more "cautiously optimistic" about the moisture situation going into this year, especially compared to what turned out to be a disastrously dry 2011.

      Over the past couple of weeks, land on the High Plains has benefited from rains totaling anywhere from a few tenths to more than an inch in some areas.

      Weather experts have noted that 2012 already differs from 2011 in that storm systems are dipping further south, creating more of an opportunity for precipitation.

      County Extension agents in the area report that some producers are applying pre-plant irrigation, pre-emergent herbicides and some fertilizer, preparing the ground for what they hope will be a more fruitful crop than last year.

      However, even with recent rain events, the High Plains certainly remains in a drought situation, especially with warmer temperatures and gusty winds causing what moisture does fall to dissipate more quickly. High temperatures around the area this past week have been as much as 15 to 20 degrees above normal, and precipitation forecasts are trending below normal.

      According to the West Texas Mesonet, the 10-day average soil temperature at the 8-inch depth ranges anywhere from 50 in Hart and 51 in Pampa to near 60 in southern and eastern portions of the PCG service area.

      "Some areas are in pretty good shape right now with regard to moisture," PCG Executive Vice President Steve Verett said. "But we've still got a little more than a month to go before the 2012 crop goes into the ground, and we'll keep praying for rain."


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Agricultural Issues Conference Set For

Tuesday in Lubbock

      Area producers, ag consultants and landowners actively engaged in farming should all benefit from a Texas AgriLife Extension Service conference set from 8 a.m.-noon Tuesday, April 3 in Lubbock, organizers said.

      The Lubbock County Ag Issues Conference will be held at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Lubbock, located a half mile east of Interstate 27 on Farm-to-Market Road 1294.

      "Producers are facing new and challenging problems as they plan for the 2012 growing season," said Mark Brown, AgriLife Extension agent in Lubbock County. "These include such issues as recently documented herbicide-resistant pigweed on the South Plains, new groundwater pumping regulations and the possibility of an extended drought. These issues will require different management practices.

      "Experts will be on hand at this conference to address these critical issues, and to introduce management strategies and new tools to allocate and better utilize water resources," Brown said.

      Brown said the slate of speakers includes experts from AgriLife Extension, High Plains Underground Water Conservation District and the Texas Alliance for Water Conservation.

      The conference was developed by AgriLife Extension with guidance from the Lubbock County Agriculture Committee, Brown said.

      Individual registration is $10, payable at the door.

      For more information on the event, please visit, or contact the AgriLife Extension office in Lubbock County at 806-775-1680.


Upcoming Area Ag Conferences

The following area ag conferences have been scheduled for early April:

      April 2 Irrigation Meeting, Crosby County Contact Caitlin Jackson, County Extension Agent-AG, 806-675-2347.

      April 3 Lubbock County Production Issues Meeting, Lubbock Contact Mark Brown, County Extension Agent-AG, 806-775-1680.

      April 4 Spring Ag Meeting, Tulia Contact David Graf, County Extension Agent-AG, 806-995-3726.

      April 4 Lower Rolling Plains Ag Conference, Scurry County Coliseum Contact Greg Gruben, County Extension Agent-AG, 325-573-5423.

      April 5 Pre-Plant Meeting, New Home Contact Bryan Reynolds, County Extension Agent-AG, 806-561-4562.

      April 14 Wildlife Management Workshop, Potter County Contact Brandon Boughen, County Extension Agent-AG, 806-373-0713.

      April 25 Horticulture Meeting, Hereford Contact Rick Auckerman, County Extension Agent-AG, 806-364-3573.

      April 25 Spring Beef Class, Potter County Contact Brandon Boughen, County Extension Agent-AG, 806-373-0713.

      May 5 Alternative Crops Conference, Bailey County Coliseum, Muleshoe Contact Curtis Preston, County Extension Agent-AG, 806-272-4584.

      A complete conference list can be found on PCG's website at


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