The majority of Brazos Valley cropland has water available to irrigate crops, but there are still a large number of acres that depend on annual rainfall to make their crops. It’s harvest time for corn, and in this week’s From The Ground Up, Joe Brown tells us that the dry land corn crop was hit very hard by this year’s lack of moisture and unusually high temperatures.
"All we got was two rains on it, and the last one was at the end of April, first of May."
But, you know it’s cracks out there two inches wide or more and you can see at least two feet down."
Barney Homeyer is a dry land farmer just east of Caldwell.
"This ear should be about 8 to 10 inches long, you know about that long , and this is what we have, and the reason it doesn’t have any kernels is because of the heat and the stress. It didn’t pollinate right."
Homeyer says he can’t harvest the corn.
"When you try to combine that, well it’s such a little ear it won’t pop it off the ear. It’ll go right thru the machine and fall on the ground."
Even though Homeyer has insurance, crop insurance isn’t what most people think it is.
"That doesn’t cover your crop. You’re hoping maybe you’ll get some money back for fertilizer and seed, but you’re not getting all your money back."
"We got cattle too, so we decided to maybe bale it before we combine it, just to have good grain in there. We’re also way short on hay."
Walter Vajdak dry land farms south of Snook.
"Crops aren’t geared to run over 100 degrees, I believe that’s just about the breaking point, 100 degrees, anything over that and they really start suffering. No matter what you do to them it still’s gonna effect them."
Vajdak’s corn also suffered through the hot, dry growing season.
"This ear would have been twice the length that it is now and it would have filled out, but corn tries to survive and make some grain so it fills out from the bottom, and then the top grain is aborted."
But Vajdak believes there’s enough to harvest.
"We’re going to go ahead and run through it with our harvester, and get what’s there. It’ll be a poor crop."
I’m Joe Brown, looking at Brazos Valley Agriculture, From The Ground Up.