50 days without rain and its impact on farms and ranches

It’s been 50 days since the last measured rainfall in Amarillo. The warm and dry conditions are impacting farms and ranches across the Texas Panhandle.

As we transition from fall into winter with planting season just around the corner, producers are hoping for any form of moisture.

“I’ll take a good snow,” said Dan Carthel, Ag Producer. “I’ve got all my crops out I’ll even take a hail storm.”

“The best thing we need is rain,” said Roger Morris, Ag Producer.

“We just pray for it that’s about the best I can say,” said Kenneth Ellis, Ag Producer.

A strong La Nina weather pattern is expected this winter which traditionally means less rainfall and warmer temps for the region.

“We just hope it didn’t blow like it did in the ’30s and there’s not as much wind erosion now as there was back then,” said Ellis.


“You just start sharpening your pencil trying to figure out what you can do to lay off land fallow land for the next year as well what crops will do the best on the least amount of water,” said Morris.

The mild winter impacts ranchers and their cattle – Most rangeland and pastures are dormant which means supplement feeding is taking place.

“Most of the cattle are moved off the grass onto corn stalks or milo stalks but we need the moisture for the spring to green up,” said Carthel.

“This year we’re having to ween our calves early and sell them and then tooth our calves and get rid of the old cows,” said Ellis.

A mild fall and mild early winter mean the warm temperatures are exacerbating soil moisture – which makes it tough when producers have to work on their land where they grow crops.

“You know this time of year you’re out in the field trying to get some fertilizer out I mean there are times when you’re in a field and it’s too dry to get the plow to dig the ground right you’ll irrigate it to make it work frankly,” said Derik Grotegut, Ag Producer.

As the 37th year of the Farm & Ranch show comes to a conclusion on Thursday at the Amarillo Civic Center.

For every day that passes that the region does not receive rain, ag producers and farmers in the Texas Panhandle will tell you were just one day closer to when we will receive moisture.

On Thursday the show resumes at 9 a.m. and finishes at 4 p.m.

Written by Drew Powell

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