South Plains farmers dealing with results of recent rough weather - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/12/10

South Plains farmers dealing with results of recent rough weather

SLATON, TX (KCBD) - Farmers are usually praying for rain this time of year and most are grateful for the free irrigation, but in some cases, too much rain has destroyed some crops and damaged equipment across the South Plains.

KCBD NewsChannel 11's Christie Post spoke with one farmer in Slaton who remains optimistic through this rough weather. 

Dale Kitchens owns 7,000 acres of cotton and lost around 5 percent after the rain flooded his crops. "Overall we've lost at least 100 acres that's been flooded out by the tremendous rainfall we've had. We sort of crossed a line where now it's started to hurt us," said Kitchens. 

Kitchens worries that if the sun does not shine his cotton won't grow. "We lost two good weeks of very valuable heat unit time. We really need a hot open fall for it to make a substantial crop. If we get weather like today in September then this crop will be a train wreck," said Kitchens. 

On the plus side though, this Slaton farmer says the rain isn't always a bad thing. He says in the end he won't need to irrigate which means overall less money spent on his crops. 

"We've got one customer whose irrigation cost him $3,000 a day - $21,000 a week. His chemicals aren't going to run near that. So this is one of those million dollar rains," said Mike Wright, Executive VP with City Bank. 

Ag lenders say they've received calls on farmers reporting damage. Wright says one farmer in Tahoka wasn't so lucky and ended up with flooded equipment from the downpour, but overall it's minimal. 

"We're always thankful for good rain. I still think there's an optimistic attitude; even though we've got some loss we're still happy," said Kitchens.

Kitchens, along with other farmers, now hope for dry weather so they can harvest their crops in September.

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