Farmers have seed in the ground, now looking for rain
by Gary Kent
Mar 27, 2011 | 1580 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Corn plants are popping their heads up in fields around Tynan this week. Now, the farmers are praying for rain.
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Bee County farmers have most of the seed in the ground for this year’s crop.

Now all they need is a little rain.

Troy Berthold, who farms east of Beeville, said the lack of rain actually wiped out the cotton he had planted so far.

“I thought it would do pretty good,” Berthold said. But within a few days the crop had failed.

Berthold said he had wanted to rely on cotton for about a third of his crop this year because the price had been good. But the recent disasters in Japan hurt cotton prices some.

Arturo Gaitan, who farms near Tynan, said he was planting cotton for the same reason this year.

He also expressed some concern over the drop in price brought on by the Japan situation.

Japan is a major importer of American cotton, Gaitain said, and it looks now as though the Japanese might not be buying that much of this year’s crop.

Gaitan said he already has his corn and grain sorghum planted. Right now it looks like the crop will do well, if the area can get some more rain.

“We can always use another rain,” Berthold said.

In fact, he said if his crops don’t get another rain by May 1, it may be too late to save this year’s investment in seed.

Both farmers believe a couple of rains between now and harvest time could result in another good year.

Gaitan said one of his major concerns is damage to the grain caused by wild hogs.

Berthold agreed. He said one of the reasons he had planned on growing more cotton this year was “because the hogs won’t eat it.”

“If we can get a little rain in the next week or two, we can still get in there and plant some cotton,” Berthold said. But that is a critical “if.”

“The wind is sucking the moisture out of the ground,” Gaitan said. And that could be a serious concern as he continues to plant cotton.

“A half an inch would do,” Gaitan said. “But the long-term forecast is dry.”

Still, the weather experts are not always right.

“They said it wouldn’t rain until April. But we had some rain earlier,” Gaitan said.

“It’s just a wait-and-see game,” he added.

Like Gaitan, Berthold is trying to remain optimistic.

He said the corn and grain sorghum is “real pretty” right now and he hopes conditions improve enough in coming weeks to keep it that way.

Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at
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