Dry Weather Concerns Area Farmers - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2/22/08

Dry Weather Concerns Area Farmers

A little more rain and a little less wind - that's what area cotton farmers say they need right now with just eight weeks to go before they start planting the 2008 crop.

Right now, the South Plains is in the ‘abnormally dry' category according to the National Weather Service, and long-term forecasts show the potential for a drought developing in the area.

"Right now it's dry, but it's been worse," says Brad Heffington, a Littlefield cotton farmer.

Heffington says a rain dance might be necessary if the South Plains doesn't receive rain by April.

"We've got time to get some rain. It is dry. Energy costs and things for irrigating is a concern if we have to water a lot without rainfall," says Heffington.

"We are in a zone termed abnormally dry that has to do with several things looking at past rainfall looking at crop moisture, those are a few indicators," says Jody James, with the National Weather Service.

To make matters worse the experts say long-term forecasts are displaying the potential for a drought.

"As we move into March and April we could see a drought develop. This could be a really short-term event because this la Nina that is responsible for the weather, we're expecting that to weaken as we move into late Spring/early Summer. If that were to happen, we could be back to normal conditions and see more rainfall," says James.

One way farmers are protecting themselves should a drought occur is by installing underground drip irrigation systems. The system basically provides farmers more crop with less water.

"This is the most efficient form of irrigating that we have right now," says Heffington.

Rain or shine, Heffinton and other farmers have a back-up plan that's guaranteed to pay off.

Last year's crop was the second largest on record. Farmers will begin planting in May.

Look Up the Latest Rain Totals for the South Plains
Look up daily National Weather Service recorded rain totals for each county on the South Plains.

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