Recent Flooding Affects Cotton Farmers

In the past month, San Angelo has seen almost nine inches of rain. While the precipitation is great for our city's water supply and area lake levels; for cotton farmers, recent flooding has hindered their crop.

What started as the driest year in more than 100 years, changed over four days. Memorial Day weekend, San Angelo's Mathis Field recorded over seven inches of rain, and that caused area pastures to flood.

Texas Agrilife Extension Range Specialist, Morgan Russell, says the land was at a crucial crossing point.

"We could either be setting ourself up for failure or laying the groundwork for perennial range land grasses to really start and thrive," Russell said.

Economically, cotton is the biggest crop. This year, experts project a $10,000 drop in cotton value compared to last year.

Extension Economist, Bill Thompson, says cotton producers were fortunate to not have planted before the flood.

"A lot of them hadn't started planting yet simply because there wasn't any moisture to get a crop up, so once it dried back up after the big rainfall event you know they had some moisture to work with and it improved their outlook considerably," Thompson said.

Thompson says, if mother nature cooperates the rest of the summer, producers could still get a decent cotton crop.

"This last weekend, where we got a lot more, easier, gentler rain that'll help the range lands considerably. What we need now is some good hot days to get that cotton moving along," Thompson said.

Cotton production is at it's peak in the fall; Russell says, now is critical despite above average rainfall.

"We have tons of catch up to do in terms of rainfall, and we really don't know what the summer is going to do for us," Russell said.

Russell says, cotton farmers will be prepared regardless of conditions.

"Our West Central Texas producers are very resilient, and they're very adaptable. This is not the first drought they've experienced nor will it be the last," Russell said.

This weekend, Mathis Field recorded over half an inch of rain bringing us to ten and a half for the year.

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