Drought conditions improve but more rain needed

Wichita County out of severe drought conditions but more rain still needed.
Wichita County out of severe drought conditions but more rain still needed.

WICHITA COUNTY, Tx (RNN Texoma) - February's rain and ice played a role in getting Wichita County out of severe drought conditions but strong winds and warm weather are drying out the soil.

"It's an improvement," Wichita County Texas A&M Ag Extension Agent David Graf said. "It puts us back what's called drought mode that could change in a couple of weeks."

Graf said two inches of moisture the county got from last month's rain may not last long because of the weather.

"It depends on how much wind we're going to have and what the temperatures are," Graf said. "Ideally if we didn't have a lot of wind and the temperatures weren't really high, that would last for two to three weeks."

He said more rain is needed now as wheat starts coming out of its dormant stage.

"There would hardly be a harvest if we don't continue to get some rain as dry as we are," Graf said.

Don Crook,87, and his son Bryan,62, are Childress farmers and ranchers. They said because of the dry soil makes it difficult for farmers without irrigation to have a wheat harvest. "There won't be any," Don said. "I don't think up in Childress."

Eileen Vale, a resource team leader for the National Resource Conservation Service said time will tell if we get a good harvest.

"This rain will help with the next crop growing in," Vale said.

That spring crop is cotton which the Crooks said several farmers have not prepared it since the last harvest.

"It's too dry," Bryan said. "They try to plow it. It clods up and they just have to leave it alone for now."

Bryan said he just wants one thing to help all farmers and ranchers.

"Ideally if we could have asked the good Lord, we'll want a long slow rain for about six inches and a hard rain to fill all the livestock water tanks," Bryan said.

Graf also said ranchers may have to rely on hay and protein to feed their cattle if they have a bad wheat harvest. He also said if there is no significant rain in one month than Wichita County will be back to severe drought conditions.

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