Drought in southern Texas may hinder planting season, devastate yields

While a blanket of snow covers the northeast, other corners of the country struggle with severe drought.

In two to three weeks, farmers in Starr County, Texas will be planting. In drought conditions, there might be some hesitance to start that process, but that does not seem to make anyone stop.

“I think people are going to continue with their plans to plant in hope of them probably getting some sort of precipitation, some kind of moisture in the next month or so,” Omar Montemayor with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension states.

If no moisture comes, the results could be devastating for the local ag community.

According to Montemayor, “We’re going to get bad germination on a lot of these crops and, as a result of that, our yields are going to suffer. It could be that the insurance may come and zero out these crops. We just don’t know how bad it could be, but we could lose everything.”

There has been a problem with this part of the country. In the last three years, the Rio Grande Valley has had Mother Nature respond to calls for the end of a drought by sending floods. As for now, the flood fears have not started.

“I do not think right now, we’re in the season of us getting a flood,” Montemayor states. “I think if we were in the summertime, when we’re during the hurricane season that chances of us getting into a situation where we may get some flooding may be a problem. Maybe in the fall too, September around that area.”

The drought also affects Starr County’s renowned beef industry.

“We had forage in pastures. A lot of that has dried up already. A lot of forage that is left in some of these pastures is just too dry for the cattle to consume,” he adds. “Many of the ranchers that I know of are supplementing their beef cattle with protein and minerals.”

He says that the beef cattle industry will likely not be hurt much due to supplemental feeding.


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