Seasonal rains had impacts on area's growing season


July 26, 2010 at 2:26 a.m.
Updated July 27, 2010 at 2:27 a.m.



From Hurricane Alex's days-long downpour to other intermittent rains, recent months have meant soggy conditions for the Crossroads.

And that isn't always good news for farmers.

Here, Jeff Nunley, executive director of the South Texas Cotton and Grain Association, discusses the 2010 growing season, how the moisture affected crops and what sort of yields farmers expect.

How have recent rains affected this year's crops?

We probably had the best grain sorghum crop that most growers have ever seen. Unfortunately, because we got so much rain from Hurricane Alex and other tropical weather, most of the Coastal Bend experienced damage to sorghum. I've heard damage estimates from 10 percent, up to 80 percent. It depends on where you were and what stage the crop was at when we got that long period of wet weather.

When will the harvest begin?

I think it's getting under way. I've seen combines burning on grain up and down the coast, but it's probably moving further along around the Corpus Christi area. With the damage some crops have seen, some people are in a quandary. When you harvest a truckload of grain to take it to the elevator, you have to pay the elevator to unload it and people don't want to lose money. It's possible crop conditions could improve if we get some good, hot, sunny weather, so some are waiting. If we don't, many producers will see if they can insure the crops out.

How does this year's growing season compare to last year, when the area was in extreme drought?

It's the complete opposite this year. We had good moisture going into the season and a really good crop. I even think we had really good yields on the crops. Unfortunately for grain sorghum, a lot of fields have significant amounts of damage that essentially renders the crop worthless. Really and truly, about five days of rain at the wrong time ruined our sorghum crop this year.

Would you rate this year's growing season better or worse than last year's?

I think this year will be better than last year, but that's not hard because we didn't have anything last year. But we need a little cooperation from Mother Nature so we can get the crop in and get it behind us.

Have there been any positive aspects to this year's growing season?

There is a positive side and I try to stay optimistic. I think the guys who grew corn will see a pretty good crop and I think the soybean yields should be good. Hopefully our cotton crop will be good, too. We've seen some positive things, but, again, we need some cooperation from the weather. I think that, if it would stay dry through October, most of our guys would be happy.



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