AUSTIN (KXAN) — It’s all tricks and no treats this Halloween, as this summer’s excessive heatwave and the ongoing drought have negatively impacted pumpkin crops in the Lone Star State.
This season’s pumpkin yields are far below average crop loads, a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert said in the latest Texas Crop and Weather Report released Tuesday.
Mark Carroll serves as the AgriLife Extension agriculture and natural resources agent for Floyd County. He said this year’s pumpkin product levels are between 20% and 40% lower than expected, as a result of drought conditions in areas where the vast majority of Texas’ pumpkin crops are grown.
Floyd County is considered the Pumpkin Capital of Texas. Its pumpkin crops were planted in early June, but farmers quickly found the ongoing drought conditions were producing much fewer crop yields, per Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service reporting.
“This year’s production has been a mixed bag,” Danny Nut, owner of DL Nut Farms in Floyd County, told Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. “Some varieties have produced their usual amount, but others were extremely low in quantity.”
While “timely rainfall or irrigation systems” can help Texas pumpkin crops thrive during the hot summer months, Nut said this year’s crops went without water for six weeks after mid-July, leading to lower yields.
In Texas A&M AgriLife’s southwest region — accounting for Travis County — hot and dry conditions paired with minimal rainfall offered little relief to many crops growing in the area, per the report.
“The ongoing dry conditions were taking a toll on vegetation, with trees and brush turning brown and grass essentially nonexistent,” the report read in part. “Diet supplementation was critical as sheep and goat breeding season began.”
Texas A&M AgriLife’s central region, which includes Williamson County, was part of an area with recent scattered storms that damaged crops, the report said.
“Despite the recent moisture and cool front, the district remained plagued by persistent drought and above-average temperatures,” the report said.