Dryland Corn Suffers From Lack of Rainfall

BOSQUE COUNTY, Tex. (KBTX) - Agriculture in general and row crop farming specifically is one of those professions where you can do everything right and at any point in the process Mother Nature can throw you a curve that you can’t do anything about. That’s what happened to many Central Texas corn farmers this year. Chris Hargrove grows corn in Bosque County.

“We were very adamant on doing things a little differently and trying to be very efficient with nitrogen for example. So we put nitrogen with the planter and we built a wide drop system and side dressed in season. The crop looked as good as we’ve ever seen to be honest. We had high hopes until just recently.”

Hargrove says the tables turned quickly.

“But at the same token I’ve never seen one go backwards as quick as this one has either. In fact, three weeks ago it still looked good from the road, but it just wasn’t. I mean it looked very, very good and went backwards really fast.”

When it turned hot in Mid-May Hargrove began to worry about his corn.

“Years ago, I don’t remember what year but it got one hundred degrees three days in the month of May and I remember going to a grower’s place then and you could watch literally a planting date, over a three day period, just over three days there was probably a twenty or thirty bushel difference, just on pollination, and that backed up to three different days of planting back in early March.”

The heat in May didn’t help, but Hargrove believes that they’re finding out that lack of water was the biggest problem.

“We found a little spot outside of town yesterday that we feel like a small field might make two hundred bushels in one little spot. And a guy found it while he was cutting the turn rows for hay. So, it’s just amazing. That tells me it was more the moisture. There’s an underground water source in that particular area for whatever reason. I feel like the corn pollinates probably early morning, so as long as it cools off at night it’ll probably go ahead and is able to pollinate.”

Hargrove says that bringing in a crop is about the money to some extent, but at the same time it’s really not.

“I want to be successful and I want to be able to see what I grow and I want it to be a good bountiful harvest if you will. And this year’s really hard for me because we did the fertilizer in season and tried the management. We spent a lot of extra time, side dressing, for example, trying to make it the best we could, and there’s just not much to look at today, which makes it really, really tough.