Excessive heat causing issues for area farmers

Agriculture

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — We all know it gets hot here in the panhandle, but the current heat has been excessive.

“Anytime you go into the triple digits even though it’s in the summer, that qualifies going from a hot day to an excessively hot, and we now have had a streak of seven days in a row of 100 or hotter. A few of those days were record highs,” said KAMR Local 4 Chief Meteorologist John Harris.

Which is putting stress on our area farmers and their crops.

“We would hope that we would have precipitation to help minimize the effect of the heat stress but right now we’re facing both heat stress and water stress and so we are below average with regards to our precipitation for this year across much of the panhandle,” said Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Agronomist Dr. Jourdan Bell.

Dr. Bell said the drought forecasts they follow has the High Plains under a severe to extreme drought for much of the growing season.

“When we look at 2020, we have bad prices, trouble getting our crop in the ground and in many cases due to dry conditions in May and now we have this persistent dry period throughout the season,” said Dr. Bell.

With declining well capacity too, Dr. Bell told us farmers are managing the water they do have with better heat and drought-tolerant options such as cotton and grain sorghum.

If this area does not get the moisture they need, this heat could also have future ripple effects.

“In the next eight weeks or so, we’re going to see a lot of wheat acres that should be planted but if we do not have the moisture that we need, that may impact our wheat planting,” said Dr. Bell.


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