Local weather affects everything from your day-to-day to even agriculture. We wanted to find out how our local farmers are dealing with our local weather, and changes that are to come as we go into a La Nina winter season.
Lindsey Schaertl and her family own a corn maze in Wall. While Schaertl primarily farms for entertainment purposes, her crops are still at the mercy of the weather.
Her biggest weather concern for her crops is the wind.
“when it’s dry and brittle that wind will just knock it right over,” said Schaertl
Wind also plays a huge role in designing the corn maze. Spraying chemicals helps to kill sections of the corn to create the designs.
Schaertl also mentioned, “when we’re putting our design in the maze, we can’t have wind blowing because it’s going to one drift over and kill other corn and it could possibly drift over and kill other farmers’ crops as well. So wind is a huge factor out here in nearly everything we do.”
Wind is not the only weather factor that can impact local crops. Josh Blanek, County Extension Agent Agriculture/Natural Resources in Tom Green County says that you expect drought in West Texas, and that rainfall is always beneficial.
In regards to this year, Blanek said, “We really got some timely rains that came in through the summer and here into the early fall, which has really yielded well to a good grain crop. Our corn, sorghum did well. Then our cotton that is about to be harvested, or is in process of being harvested made a really good crop this year.”
However, there could be trouble for local farmers on the horizon. NOAA has forecasted a La Nina winter season or a winter that is typically warmer and drier across our region.
Stephen Harrison, Science and Operations Officer at the National Weather Service office in San Angelo explained the outlook for the upcoming spring.
Harrison stated, “The very long-term outlooks for next spring is drier than normal, and so that could be concerning because you know during the growing season we want some rainfall.”
Meanwhile, Schaertl plans to cope with the upcoming drier weather by pre-watering the grounds. She wants to make sure they get proper moisture to help germinate the seeds. Josh suggests that other farmers may choose to not plant as much during drier times, knowing that yields would be reduced by the drier conditions.
For now, the long-term forecast is not promising for local farmers, with drier conditions expected in the months ahead.