Drought Planting Decisions

Continuing dry weather conditions are perpetuating the drought, and moisture is desperately needed to fill the farm soil profiles before spring planting can begin. Joe Brown has more in this week’s From The Ground Up.

"Maybe some of the older generation, maybe my Dad could remember when maybe it was like this before, but in my fifty three years I’ve never seen it like this."

John Malazzo farms in the Brazos River bottom in Burleson County and says the current drought will most likely impact local planting decisions.

" If we don’t get good rain in the next 30 days which would be the middle of or end of February, then a lot of the corn people will probably start thinking about switching to sorghum, which is a later crop."

And if that planting window comes and goes with no rain?

"I think you’re talking about these same people starting to think about changing to cotton."

Malazzo said that although most of the producers in the river bottom can irrigate, the amount of water it would take to replace lost subsoil moisture would be staggering.

"I would think because of the difficulty in watering this dry land, I mean it would take immense fuel costs."

"It would take a huge amount of water to get water from one end to the other, and then your fields are so saturated, that you can’t get into the fields to plant for a long time, and then if you get rain, you sure can’t."

And if the drought continues through most of the spring?

"If it doesn’t rain by the end of April, then we’re in uncharted territory as far as knowing what to do with our cropping intentions."

Weather conditions like this make it hard to be optimistic

"We, uh, surely, well this, surely it’s gonna rain by then."

I’m Joe Brown, tracing the journey our food, fiber, and fuel takes from the farm to our home, From The Ground Up.

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