Rain may have been too little, too late for crops

May 13, 2011 4:54:45 PM PDT
Farmers are now getting a better look at the state of their crops after Friday's rain. It's the first time in months we've seen any at all here.

But farmers say much more is needed to end the drought. They're hoping that the limited rain we received will save what they have left.

We've gone months without rain, and many farmers have had to water their own crops.

The ground is now relative moist, much more so when we were here at the end of March. And the farmers are a lot more optimistic now too.

As we walked through the fields with Fort Bend farmer Allen Stasney, he saw something he hasn't seen in quite some time.

"I'm in a better mood today," Stasney said. "It's nice to have mud on the bottom of your feet."

Exciting he says. There's proof of the rain that fell -- finally. He says he got nearly an inch of rain across his 3,600 acres near Kendleton.

"As we dig down, in this particular field, it's moisture, so this is even better," Stasney said.

"The rains a blessing; no matter what you wound up with, it's a blessing," said Vincent Manning, Fort Bend County's agriculture extension director.

We are though still in a drought; most crops show symptoms that grain sorghum and cotton are stunted -- corn, too, even if irrigated.

For some corn, it's just too late because it just couldn't take the heat. The ground has been so dry it couldn't put down brace roots, and the wind which came with Friday's storm was too much.

Still farmers say a little more rain might just salvage this growing season.

"Another inch Thursday, oh man! Gosh! That's like a new pair of tennis shoes you know? I mean, really," Stasney said.

Another pair of shoes he hopes he can get even muddier.

To qualify for flood insurance in Texas, all crops have to be planted by Sunday. So the rain at least put a little moisture in the ground before that. Again, the drought is far from over.

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