Back in early May, farmers told KRIS 6 News that if they did not get rain soon, they would have to cut their losses, rely on their insurance company, and hope they have a good cotton season.
There is still no rain here in South Texas, and now, many area farmers west of Corpus Christi, like Ray Patrick, are being forced to cut their losses, and have now started to harvest crops as forage rather than take them to grain. And for Mr. Patrick, that is a big loss.
"It is pretty bad because we got money borrowed from banks, of course, to finance these crops, and they are not going to get enough return to pay the banks off. All together that amounts to 2,000 acres and 2,000 acres at $250 an acre is going to amount to about $500,000 in cost, " said South Texas farmer Ray Patrick.
If we don’t get some relief soon, it won’t just affect our farmers, it will also affect our local economy.
"It affects the gins, it affects grain elevators, it affects the Port of Corpus Christi – it receives a lot of the grain that is sold. A lot of the feed lots use corn that comes out of this area, and it’s probably going to run the cost up," said Patrick.
Some farmers remain a little hopeful they will get a crop to emerge, but even so, a lot more water will be needed to bring the crop to harvest, and prospects for more water do not look promising.
"We still have a lot of potential in our cotton, most of our income does come from our cotton acres, and hopefully we are going to get a rain here to bail us out with this cotton. Cotton still has some potential to make because it doesn’t take near as much water at its early stages in growth as grain does," said Patrick.
La Niña weather pattern has meant lower moisture levels for Texas producers. Acres planted in February and March had performed well but over the last couple of months crops like corn, sorghum, and milo have been seriously under stress from lack of rainfall.
"The last time we went through something like this was in 2011 when we had a pretty bad drought. The thing about it then was it was dry early on, and we didn’t have the production cost in it like we have this year," said Patrick.
Texas accounts for 2-3 percent of U.S. corn production. U.S. corn acres in 2018 were estimated at just over 88 million, down from 90.2 million in 2017,with Texas producing 2.4 million acres, down from 2.45 million acres in 2017.