LUBBOCK, Texas — Sunday night’s thunderstorms ended the 46-day streak without rain for the Lubbock-area, and farmers said they are praying that more is on the way in time for the cotton season, just a few months away.
Guy Harmon with Harmon Farms in Idalou said he was surprised when he woke up to clouds Sunday morning.
“It was a big shock cause I kind of just quit looking at the forecast,” Harmon said. “I couldn’t believe it. I just figured it would last like 2 minutes and go on, but it was a pretty decent rain.”
Harmon said Sunday’s rain did wonders for his crops and soil with the recent dry spell, but there is a downside. He said with rain comes a layer of sand that can blow on crops, which can cause damage.
“It’s been sandy and plus with the high winds that are not helping at all. We’ve actually been doing more plowing than we wanted to because we’re trying to bring some heavier dirt clods up to the surface and to try to plow under some of the sand,” Harmon said. “But when it rains, the rain pushes down the clay material in the soil and leaves the sand on top, so every time it rains, the sand is going to blow as soon as the surface dries up.”
Harmon’s crops were fortunately not damaged by hail from Sunday’s storm. However, many farmers’ crops in the area were.
Shawn Wade, the director of policy analysis and research for Plains Cotton Growers said crops can be extremely damaged or ruined by these storms.
“We certainly don’t like to see those hail events because they’re very damaging, especially early in the season to young plants when they’re very small and you know really can be damaged with just one or two pieces of hail striking them later in the season,” Wade said. “Obviously, when plants are bigger and more robust, they can handle that sort of activity a little bit more.”
Wade said with the past few years being some of the driest farmers had seen, they are hoping this is the start of more rain to come.
“Certainly, improves our attitudes and hopefully that gives us some hope this spring will kind of be shifting back more to that normal pattern and we’ll begin to see how those rainfall events that will kind of help us prepare and get the soil prepared for the 2023 growing season,” Wade said.
Harmon said they will begin planting cotton in May.