‘Not in a panic yet, but getting there’: Farmers say crops delayed by Abilene’s 8th-wettest month ever

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – With the heavy amounts of rain the Big Country has received this past month, many farmers are expecting delays when it comes to their wheat and cotton crops. 

National Weather Service (NWS) Meteorologist Hector Guerrero says the extended rains will most likely delay farmers’ abilities to plant cotton and wheat.

“Because they’re going to need a period of some dry weather to do that,” says Guerrero.    

According to the NWS, May 2021 was Abilene’s eighth-wettest month in history.  

“With the current long-range forecast for June showing below normal temperatures and above normal rain fall, well that might pose a challenge to our area farmers,” says Guerrero.   

In Merkel, Farmer Tim Shields’s wheat and cotton fields flooded.  

“The wheat’s in the field and a lot of it is ready, or real close to being ready, but you can’t harvest that with as much rain as we’ve had,” says Shields.   

Steve Estes, County Extension Agent at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension says insurance dictates that they have their crops planted by June 20.

“If this area does not get harvested, and even from here or in up through Oklahoma and Kansas, it’ll keep getting rain and that’s where a lot of the wheat is grown,” Estes says.” It will cause less supply to hit the market.”   

Some farmers may not even make that deadline. 

“Wheat prices are already higher than they have been in the last few years,” Estes says.  

So, it’s possible that this delayed crop season could cause prices to go up even higher. 

“We’re kind of not in a panic yet, but getting there,” says Shields.

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