MERKEL Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Though pea-sized hail can come and go with little to no damage to cars or homes, for Big Country farmers, it can be devastating.
“The hail, doesn’t matter how big it is, if there’s lots of it it can ruin a wheat crop or any kind of a crop,” says Merkel Farmer Tim Shields.
The water already in the ground will do a lot to help the wheat grow, and the rain on the way should do the same for the soon-to-be-planted cotton. That is, as long as we don’t get more rain than we bargained for.
“The rain was late to make a huge difference to the wheat, but it will help the grains to fill out what heads are there will be full now,” said Shields.
Though hail is a different story that brings no positives to the equation.
“We can always do without the hail. It’ll be destructive no matter which way you slice it. It’s always gonna tear something up, farmers just hope that it’s not falling on their crop,” says Taylor County Ag Extension agent Steve Estes.
The wheat that does survive will be selling at more than $6 a bushel, where last year it was only at $4, according to Shields.
“The last couple years we’ve lost money growing wheat. This year we might make some,” said Shields.
Most of the money he and other farmers make is put right back into their farm for maintenance and upkeep. Even though the crops are eventually shipped off, they are locally bought and processed, meaning all that money then makes its rounds in the economy.
“Farmers are funny people, if we make money we spend it. I probably don’t make a lot, but I sure turn a lot of it over,” says Shields.
So for now, most farmers will protect what wheat they have and hope for a dry period to get their cotton in the ground.
“So we will certainly watch this weather event play out and not necessarily be in a hurry to get in the field,” says Estes.