Texas Sorghum Growers Talk Conditions

June 18, 2015 04:47 PM
Texas Sorghum Growers Talk Conditions

Many Texas grain-sorghum producers are still trying to get their crops in after the state received record rainfall in May. Now growers talk conditions as they face another round of storms. 

Producers in South Texas say this has been a pretty odd year. I had one grower tell me this area has received over 46 inches of rain since last August. Now, because of that wet weather, some producers are both planting and harvesting their crop.

“We’re going to make a crop. It’s just going to be a hard one,” said Raymondville, Texas sorghum producer, Spence Pennington.

South Texas grain sorghum producer, Spence Pennington says heavy rainfall has him running behind this growing season.

“If this was a normal year and it was hot, we would be in a bigger mess than we are already in right now,” said Pennington.

Pennington says he’s able to plant from January to April, but not June, he is close to wrapping up but has more acres to go.

“We still have planters rolling and have combines sitting ready to go into the field. We made the decision to park the planters when we start the combines which is uncommon for us,” said Pennington.

Mild weather may be what saved the crop. “We’re able to continue to plant and possibly harvest. The o nly risks are insects and hurricane season,” said Pennington.

“The old timers who were around for 40 years say we had this 38 years ago the same conditions and too early but I don’t think we’ve ever had this and hopefully we won’t see this again for a long time,” said Texas Grain Sorghum Producers Executive Director, Wayne Cleveland.

Cleveland says while some producers in the Valley are both planting and harvesting, in the pan-handle, most are still planting. Overall, he feels crop conditions are improving every day.

“We got farmers who are optimistic in the Valley who got grain in. We probably got normal acres in and they feel they’ve got an above average crop,” said Cleveland.

Others in Central Texas say the crops vary field to field. Heavy rainfall has really taken a toll.

“Some of our lighter soils look pretty good. I think they have potential to produce a little above average crop. The heavier soils that don’t drain as well look tough and yellow,” said Central Texas producer, Josh Birdwell.

But Pennington believes the crop he has in the ground should be able to yield well if Mother Natures cooperates.

“Conditions are bad for what we didn’t get planted but for the acres we got planted, they’re looking good this year because we’re so used to being dry. We now have adequate moisture,” said Pennington.

Some farmers say they are fighting some insect problems but we have been told the sugar cane aphid has not been a a huge threat here in South Texas. Pennington says he’s now wrapping up sorghum planting. A week ago, he still had about 30% of his acres to go. The tropical storm went North of his area, bringing in about an inch of rain.

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