There is no argument when Paul Weinheimer, a local farmer with land just east of Amarillo, said that Panhandle weather can be unpredictable and one of the things they are never sure of. But this year, farmers were planning for a summer of dry weather and drought, but were hit with unexpected rainfall the past few months.
??This has just been a pure blessing for us in that there have been many benefits in the timeline of the rainfall,?? said Weinheimer. ??This has been a total turnaround. A completely different snapshot of what it was like when we began cotton and we had our corn in the ground and we were using a lot more irrigation and once again this has just been a fantastic blessing for us and we couldn??t ask for it at a better time.??
??The rain has really changed the outlook for producers this year. In many areas, we received over 10 inches of rain just in the month of June, so it??s been phenomenal for this year??s summer crops,?? said Jourdan Bell, agronomist for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and Research.
However, the rainfall has not alleviated all of the issues facing cotton production. In fact, it has created some new ones.
??With this year??s cooler temperatures, we??ve seen a delay in the cotton crop. We??ve had decreased heat units, which is really important for cotton growth and development,?? said Bell. ??But we??ve had corn that??s really had the opportunity to grow and allowed producers to balance their irrigation a little more efficiently.??
??At the first of the planting season all the rain held us back on planting cotton. So the rain got a slow take off and it didn??t come out of the ground as fast as we needed it too,?? said Rex Brandon, an agronomist for Crop Production Services.
For the farmers that decided to take the gamble on corn production this year, their crop is flourishing. But the severe weather is not doing them any favors either.
??The high wind comes and the corn is about head high and it just blows it right over. It??s called green snap,?? said Brandon.
Ultimately, it??s a guessing game for farmers and an ideal middle ground where both crops can grow successfully is almost impossible.
??We need more sunshine for cotton and we need more rainfall, cooler days for corn. So it??s definitely a middle ground that is beneficial for both crops, ??said Weinheimer.
Overall, agronomists and farmers agree that they??ll take the side effects of heavy rains over the extensive drought, any day.