An exceptionally dry winter and already above average temperatures could cause some stress to area ranchers.
With some crops in the middle of their production and others about to be planted, the lack of moisture is having an impact.
Jourdan Bell with Texas Agrilife says they are already seeing some crops feeling the heat.
“We are in the middle of our wheat production season and so the warm temperatures are really driving not only the maturity of our wheat crop but also the water demand and with the lack of precipitation we are really starting to see many of our wheat fields becoming water stressed,” said Bell.
Bell says since NOAA is predicting a hotter than average spring there is also a chance ranchers will have to turn their focus when it comes to crops.
“If we do not have the spring precipitation to refill those soil moisture profiles, kind of that bucket, that reserve that we have in the soil then we often have to rely more heavily on our irrigation systems just to get those crops through the summer,” added Bell.
Instead of irrigating to make sure the wheat continues to grow, Bell says there is a chance producers will save their water for their summer crops.
Bell is hopeful there will be more rain in the forecast so ranchers don’t face complete losses.
“Under severe water stress we will eventually see complete crop loss and so we hope that we don’t wind up in such a severe case.”