There may not be as much grain to harvest in Bee County this year after the extended period of dry weather. But the quality of the product arriving at local elevators is good and the price is excellent, according to Darwin Anderson, manager of the Bee County Co-op in Tynan.
“We’d like to have twice the volume,” Anderson said. ‘We’re one or two rains short” of having a better crop, he said.
Flooding in the midwestern part of the nation, often called the country’s bread basket, has helped boost the price. But Anderson said the price has slipped some this week after some better news from that part of the country.
The one to three inches of rain that has fallen here in the last week or 10 days has interrupted the harvest some. But the rain had caused no damage to the crops in the field.
“Everybody is hoping for some clear weather,” Anderson said.
A little more than half the grain sorghum has been harvested in the southern part of the county, Anderson said, and about 20 percent of the corn has been delivered to the elevators.
Even though the rainfall has slowed harvesting some, the moisture also has been a blessing. Anderson said the rain has helped cotton and grain sorghum that was planted a little late.
Mike Huser of the Bee Agricultural Co. in Beeville agreed with Anderson.
“It looks pretty good,” he said of the grain quality.
However, the yield is down considerably when compared to that of last year, Huser said.
“We hope that the rain hasn’t hurt any of the milo,” Huser said of the possibility that moist weather could cause some damage to the grain sorghum still in the fields. But he said he has not seen any damaged grain yet.
Huser expects the flow of grain to his company’s elevators to pick up this weekend when the skies clear. He said about half of the expected crop here has already been cut and delivered.
Meanwhile, the rain will sure help the county’s ranching industry, Huser added.
Like Anderson, Huser said the price for grain continues to be good in spite of a slight softening of the market this week.
Huser said the price has been affected by news from the midwest grain industry.
“So far so good,” said Olmos area farmer Arturo Gaitan about his expectations this year. “This rain gave us a little scare,” he commented. Rainfall at harvest time last year wrecked the spectacular expectations of area farmers when the moisture just about ruined the grain before it could be cut and trucked to market.
However, Gaitan said weather reports show that the skies are clearing up and harvesting has begun again in earnest.
The farmer said his milo yield looks much better than he expected after so many dry months. And his other grain crop, corn, looks good.
“The aflatoxin was not even there,” he said of his drought-stressed corn.
And then there’s the price. “We’ll make even or as much as we made last year,” Gaitan said. “But don’t get me wrong, we’re not making anything this year.”
Breaking even is better than losing money on a crop. Gaitan said everything he planted this year has been maturing early. That made it possible to start harvesting early. He estimated that he has about half his crop harvested and in the elevators already.
The rain slowed down maturity somewhat. But things are looking up now.
Gaitan said the recent rainfall has him optimistic about the other crop he has growing this year.
“I’m just kinda anxious to see what the cotton is going to do,” he said.