AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — As producers prepare to plant crops this season, the drought in the area continues. According to Chief Meteorologist John Harris, the Texas Panhandle is three-quarters of an inch below normal.
Dr. J.D. Ragland, with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, said producers are getting ready to plant corn seed, cotton, and sorghum in the ground, but he said the conditions right now are so dry that if any seeds are planted in the ground, even with irrigation, the likelihood of them coming up and getting off to a great start are slim to none due to no moisture in the soil profile.
Dr. Ragland said some farmers have access to underground availability of water and said some of those producers may have to cut back and only irrigate half of the field as they normally would. As well as concentrate on smaller acreages of land to save those water reserves.
“Maybe this year, that producer is going to have to take a strong look and maybe limit instead of that 60 acres, maybe only raising a crop on half of the acreage that they are normal too,” said Dr. Ragland.
He added other producers will have to make adjustments if significant rainfall doesn’t happen between now and planting.
“They are looking at potentially cutting some acreage and maybe concentrating on their highly productive ground in planting this year only. They are only going to have to concentrate on those areas if they do irrigation and concentrate their crop efforts where they do have good moisture,” said Dr. Ragland.
Chief Meteorologist John Harris said this is one of the longest periods of time without significant rainfall in thirty years.
“This has definitely been one of the drier periods that I have seen. I think the worst year that I have seen on record and for sure that I have been in weather was in 2011,” said Harris.
John said the outlook for the coming months is not looking good.
“Right now, it looks like La Niña will continue all the way through may which means we are going to be drier than normal, and may starts our traditional wet season up here in Amarillo and the viewing area and then we might get back into a neutral phase as we get into the summer months, which can go either way when it comes to rainfall. But we may be going into June this year with a drought continuing,” said Harris.
John said the area is what’s known as a steppe climate, where we lose our humidity very quickly at night because we have an arid climate and we don’t have moisture come back until May or June.
John said Wednesday the area will have red flag warnings issued because even as a cold front moves, there will be high winds.