Texas A&M AgriLife: 2019 weather preparing panhandle farmers for 2020


AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Extreme weather changes in 2019 brought multiple challenges to panhandle farmers.

“Even though this region is known for historical droughts. we do have increasing periods of very wet conditions followed by very hot and dry conditions,” said Jourdan Bell, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agronomist.

It’s known as cyclical weather and it’s recently hit the panhandle, especially in 2019. Which caused some serious issues for farmers.

“There was delays in planting, issues in getting crops established timely but then when we had the very hot and dry conditions during the summers specifically in July and August, that also negatively impacted crop production,” said Bell.

The timing of these brought more problems as well. Bell says the end of year precipitation was too late as it came after the reproductive period for crop development, hurting both crop production and fiber development, causing some color and grade issues.

“With regards to grain and our forage crops, it delayed farmers getting in the field. The freezing temperatures, especially for late-planted crops stopped development of those late-planted grain crops also, so the yield potential was not achieved like they would’ve hoped it would’ve been,” said Bell.

But because of the issues faced in 2019, Bell says that farmers will now be paying even more attention to the ever-changing weather as they prepare for this year’s crops.

“They really do consider how well the soil moisture is as they plant and of course what the commodity prices are as they make crop decisions too. So it becomes a multi-faceted decision. We’re looking at markets, commodity prices as well as environmental decisions as they make cropping decisions and decide what to plant and where to plant it,” said Bell.

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