Harvey’s damage stretches to Texas farms
More than 30 inches of rain has fallen since Thursday
By Diego Flammini
Assistant Editor, North American Content
A hurricane that’s battered parts of Houston, Texas with torrential rains and high winds is also having a significant impact on farmers in the state.
Since Hurricane Harvey made landfall on Thursday, it’s brought more than 30 inches to Texas.
Livestock producers were busy during the storm to ensure their cattle were safe.
“Within (two to three) hours, it went from ‘we can handle this’ to ‘this is serious,’” Gene Kubecka, who owns and manages Wendt Ranches in Bay City, told Chron.com on Sunday.
And winds have been recorded as high as 130 mph, which is damaging crop storage facilities.
Nearly 100 cotton storage modules, each capable of holding 13 to 15 bales, blew away during the storm, Jeff McKamey, a farmer from San Patricio County, told Bloomberg on Saturday.
And with much of the state’s cotton crop still in the field, the heavy rains could damage what was shaping up to be a great year for cotton farmers.
88 percent of the Texas cotton crop is setting bolls, according to the USDA’s latest Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin. And 12 percent of the total crop’s bolls are opening but that crop could all be washed away by Harvey.
“The cotton crop in the (Texas Gulf Coast) area of Texas is the biggest and most beautiful that anyone can remember in years, and probably two-thirds of it is still in the fields,” Michael Klein, a spokesman for the USA Rice Federation, told CNBC on Friday. “(Harvey is) going to be disastrous for them.”
Louisiana fields could be impacted too
Rice fields in southwest Louisiana could also be impacted by Harvey’s rain.
Farmers have harvested 69 percent of the state’s rice crop, according to the USDA’s latest Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin.
But farmers could lose what remains in the field if more rain comes.
“If the rice goes underwater right at harvest, a lot of times you lose that rice because it begins to sprout,” Mike Strain, Louisiana Agriculture Commissioner, told KPLCTV on Friday.
“We’re hoping farmers can get as much out of the fields as the can, and the water will not rise enough to touch the actual rice grain itself.”
Top photo: Hurricane Harvey over Texas/NASA