Farmers concerned about developing drought

Farmers concerned about developing drought

BELCHER, LA (KSLA) - It's been a year of extremes for farmers, from cold to hot, floods and now a drought.

Drought conditions have developed over much of Northwest Louisiana and Northeast Texas. UNI Plantation is in the town of Belcher in Caddo Parish, and farmer Ryan Kirby is becoming concerned about growing drought conditions in the ArkLaTex.

Kirby's soy beans crunched when he picked them. They're not supposed to do that.

"We need rain, and we need it now," he said.

Kirby said his soy bean crops were hit especially hard because of the river flooding in the spring, and that the developing drought couldn't come at a worse time. He lost 100 acres of soy beans to the flooding, and then the heavy spring rains didn't allow him to plant on time. It's costing him money by the day.

"The cost of seed alone is probably $5,000 to $10,000, but the biggest problem is I wasn't able to plant till July," he explained. "So I'm going to lose a tremendous amount of yield due to that. I could be looking at $20,000 to $30,000 maybe."

Kirby also grows cotton and corn, but the fields of cotton that aren't irrigated are already showing signs of wilting. His last hope is getting his corn harvested while it is dry. Ironically, he said the worst case scenario right now would be too much rain all at once.

"The crops that we're trying harvest would rot in the fields because it would be too muddy to get in there and get them out," said Kirby.

He said even an inch of rain could triple the yield of his soy beans, but he fears that he will come in below average on both corn and soy beans without any rain.

The forecast over the next seven days shows more triple digit heat, and little to no rain in to be had.

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