Some Big Country farmers glad to see early freeze


ABILENE, Texas (KRBC/KTAB) – Some farmers around the Big Country say they were glad to see the recent precipitation, even if it was wintry.

“It’s a record snowfall, the last time is snowed this early was back on October the 29th 1993,” Hector Guererro with the National Weather Service in San Angelo said.  

He said his property saw a mixed bag of icy weather.  

“We saw patches of sleet mixed with freezing rain,” he said.   

“Overall this is a blessing in disguise,” Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Abilene’s Steve Estes said.   

He said after a big rain in September, things were drying out faster than expected.  

“We were already seeing some stress in some of our crops in range and pasture conditions,” he said.

Estes says wheat farmers just now planting are getting much needed moisture, but cotton farmers are also seeing the positives from the ice. Farmers are getting ready to harvest an industry bringing in more than $237 million annually to the Big Country.  

“So, farmers have to make a decision to defoliate it, to spray the folate on it to make it drop its leaves before they harvest it or they’ll wait for a freeze, which we got,” he said.  

But it’s not all positive, as some crops had to be terminated.  

“One drawback to it was any cotton that was a little bit late as far as when it was planted, it wasn’t quite a 100 percent mature or ready to be harvested,” Estes said.   

He said some people think an early freeze signals a treacherous winter, but in the Big Country, anything goes.  

“We may wind up and have a warm winter and we may have some more of this on the way, who knows? That remains to be seen,” he said.     

Steve said we’re entering a La Niña period, which will bring warmer, dryer weather to our area.

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