West Texas Farmers Optimistic about 2004 Growing Season - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

4/28/04

West Texas Farmers Optimistic about 2004 Growing Season

Farmers have a lot to look forward to this growing season. Some call it the best growing season in almost 50 years. The reason: record rainfall. So far this year we've received 8 and a half inches of rainfall, more than 5 inches above average. 

Since the age of 19 Don Langston's had the same job day in and day out,  gambling with mother nature for almost 50 years growing cotton. "Finished 45 crops last year and this will be 46 if I can make one this time," says Langston.

It's on this 46th attempt he says mother nature hasn't been kinder. "This is the best that I've ever seen in 45 years that we've had this kind of moisture going into the first of May," says Langston.

Langston has welcomed eight and a half inches of rain into his fields this year. And he plans on keeping every drop. With special equipment Don is making Furrow Dykes. A concept that began in the 30's, farmers still use today to save on irrigation costs. 

"When we get a hard rain if it rains more than the soil penetration can stand those Furrow Dykes hold it until it can soak it up. It's a real water saving conservation," says Langston.

Cutting corners to save money is important because farmers say they never know what mother nature has in store for them. "We watch the soil temperatures, the forecast, and soil levels of moisture."

With hope and green tractors, West Texas farmers plow on beginning another year of cotton, and optimism not seen in almost half a century. "We're in excellent shape. We're just waiting for some of these cold fronts to get our of here. We need 80 degree weather not dropping below 50 degrees and we've had some 40's in the last few weeks," says Langston.

Cotton farmers really get down to science when it comes to planting. They are waiting on steady 60 degree soil temperatures at the 8 inch depth to put seed in the ground. If all holds up most of them will start planting cotton on Monday.

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