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Agriculture Weekly Online

Effects of the 2011 Drought Still Remain 

By: Drought Scouts

While staying focused on this year’s crop, farmers in Texas still remember the effects of last year’s drought.

Heat Flows Across Texas

According to the Texas Tribune, the average water use by single-families in San Antonio and Dallas rose by 17 percent in 2011. In El Paso, the average water use increased by 4 percent. During the summer months, 83% of the state lacked an adequate supply of water.

Dale Swinburn, president of Dale Swinburn Farms in Tulia, Texas, said if he could have done something differently, he would have watered earlier and tried to produce less acres in order to concentrate the water on a smaller portion of land.

“I regret that I pumped all that precious water, for so many days, all summer long,” Swinburn said, looking off in the distance.  “We’re in the business of selling gallons of water for money, and I just wasted all that water and got nothing in return. The yields were extremely disappointed for most producers, and that’s what really stings.”

Swinburn said the drought had a lot of consequences. Not only did producers have a tough time financially because of the loss of production and increase in expenses, but the whole economy was hurt.

According to Time Magazine, the continuous drought will have a global effect. Along with farmers, ranchers are also affected by drought. Many ranchers in Texas have gotten rid of breeding livestock because they can no longer feed and water them.

Cotton Tractor

Wayne Keeling, a specialist in Weed Science at Texas AgriLife Research & Extension Center in Lubbock, Texas, said no one had ever seen anything like what was experienced in 2011. He said farmers have been preparing differently this year.

“People are taking a much more conservative approach,” Keeling said. “If it does turnout to be anything close to last year, they haven’t invested as much in the crop that’s not going to produce anything.”

Keeling said farmers deal with a lot of different weather conditions, including hail, wind, and drought. He said most years the amount of rainfall averages out, so he hopes things will start to turn around.

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