ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) — Abilene wheat and cotton farmer Tim Shields hasn’t seen these dry conditions in the Big Country for several years.
“2011, this one reminds me an awful lot of that year,” Shields said.
County Extension Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources Steve Estes says 2011 was one of the worst droughts that the state of Texas had ever experienced to that point.
“We might be a little bit better than we were at that point in time, I don’t think we’re in quite as bad of shape but only time will tell as we move into our warmer, hotter months of the year,” Estes said.
Shields says he normally plants 2000 acres of wheat each year. This year with the drought, he planted 1000 acres, all of which failed.
“We probably wouldn’t put out as much as we normally would, it would just be hard to justify that,” Shields said.
Farmers are now left to wonder what they can do to cut back.
Shields says he has crop insurance to help out during harsh years like this one, but is hopeful for a little rain soon as he prepares to plant his cotton.
Estes says the price of wheat and cotton have risen in the past year, with wheat going from around $7.50 to over $10 a bushel. Cotton is over $1.30 per pound, which he says they haven’t seen since 2010.
Estes says if these conditions continue, he thinks consumers will see an increase in the price of food and clothing.