Farmers prepare for freezing rain

LUBBOCK TX - Colder temperatures are expected to roll into the Lubbock area on Friday, bringing freezing rain...but this isn't the first climate change farmers have faced this season.

According to Cotton Farmer Steven Brosch, the crop yields from 2016 were good.

"This last year had some challenging times," Brosch said, "But overall it turned out pretty decent...we can't complain."

Regardless, the warmer temperatures this year have presented an unusual challenge.

"It's kind of odd I guess, but we know around here, it [the weather] can change in a heartbeat," Brosch said.

No matter the season, each one brings its own set of challenges.

"It's been warmer, but it really doesn't matter right now because we still get the cold spells in between," Brosch said, "Our ground temperature is a little bit warmer, but it's not really going to change anything like our planting date."

What the average person may not know is that snow and freezing rain isn't necessarily bad for soil post-harvest.

"If you have your modules out of the field, then it really doesn't make much difference," Brosch said, "If anything, the snow and freezing precipitation helps loosen up this ground and it gets really soft and mellow, makes it easier to work."

Farmers in West Texas work an ever-changing forecast to their benefit, and they won't turn away rain, because they know it won't last forever.

"Right now we're preparing the fields and trying to get ready for the upcoming year, so we just take everything in stride," Brosch said, "Work when we can and if it's too cold, if the ground is frozen, we just lay off for a few days. We're not under as big of a time crunch as we are earlier in the season."

Brosch says every drop of rain counts.

"March will usually be dry for us, it normally is, so as long as we can get that moisture in the ground and start storing it up, there will be some there for the cotton to start growing on."

For Brosch, it's business as usual.

"The soil will store some water and it saves the ground...this soil is our livelihood so we have to do our best to protect it and keep it from washing away. You can't wash away nutrients in organic matter...it's a lot better to hold it where you can when you can."


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