Rainfall Mixed Blessing for Farmers - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

6/4/04

Rainfall Mixed Blessing for Farmers

Rainfall, a rare but welcomed sight for West Texas farmers, until... "It came and it was fast and furious," says Shallowater cotton farmer James Simpson watched as mother nature gave his cotton fields a big drink of water Thursday morning.

"We never turn down a rain. It was a little too much, too quick," says Simpson. In just over an hour, three inches of rain quickly covered Simpson's 1,000 acres of tiny cotton. And Friday we rode along with Simpson as he surveys what survived and what didn't. "That wash right there we'll lose all that cotton," says Simpson.

Swift running water from the rain quickly pulled some of his cotton right out of the ground. "This right here is a lot of what we're gonna have to deal with," says Simpson.

Fortunately, most of the cotton survived. Now it's more of a waiting game to see what mother nature throws his way next. After a rainfall that welcome turns to worry because a crop can be lost the very next day to high winds and blowing sand. "The plant is stuck out there bare," says Simpson.

When water soaks into the ground, sand is left behind. And even a small breeze can mean death to young cotton plants. "It doesn't take much wind we get 20, 25 in here and as it drives down the sand turns loose and we end up with sand blowing and those tender plants just can't handle it," says Simpson.

So even with a good rain, "We're always thankful for that," says Simpson. Repercussions are sure to follow. "More critical than the amount it's critical what happens here the next couple of days," says Simpson.

Blowing sand can ruin a field in a matter of minutes. So, during the next couple of days farmers will be in the fields turning the soil to prevent the sand that is left behind from blowing.

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