Big Country farmer reacts to 3 month drought

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ABILENE Texas (KTAB/KRBC)- Following February’s “Snowpocalypse” the big country saw some heavy downpour for a few good months. According to Taylor County Ag Extension agent Steve Estes.

“From there (The end of the freeze) till about mid June we had quite a bit of rain. And it fell quite frequently around Abilene and the big country” Estes says.

But all that rain didn’t last for long.

“It quit raining in July it’s like the good Lord just shut it off and we haven’t had any measurable rain since then” Says Merkel Cotton and Wheat farmer Tim Shields.

Blooming cotton in Merkel

Shields says he was able to get most his cotton in the ground around march right as the rains came. But September rain would have really put this crop in a good place.

“We were one rain away from just having a home run with cotton. It’s not going to be bad but its not going to be as good as it looked like it could be.” Shields says.

Though the wheat he planted didn’t do quite as well. Forcing him to abandon that planting.

“We planted the wheat acres that we plowed up to milo and the milo did really really well. It doesn’t take as much rain to finish milo as it does cotton”

Milo being a drought resistant grain crop that is mainly used in animal feed.

Merkel cow grazing in field

But farmers and ranchers who plant wheat for their cattle to graze wont be able to re plant as easily.

“If we don’t get a good wheat crop and timely up for cattle grazing then that would effect local farmers and ranchers” Says Estes.

Those ranchers would be out whatever money they’ve already spent on cattle. Or possibly not be able to buy cattle to put in the fields. Which effects their bottom line.

Though there is some rain in the forecast. As Mr. Shields knows well. it doesn’t always fall where you need it.

“North of Anson had some rain that we didn’t get and south of Abilene they had some rain that we Didn’t get.” Shields said.

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