USA - Texas Panhandle farmers struggle with crop damage after third hail storm of the season

20.09.2023 137 views

Storms moved through the Texas Panhandle on Friday night bringing hail, rain and strong winds wind and rain. Cleanup is ongoing on ranches and farm land in Deaf Smith County an area that took the brunt of the weather as crop damage is being assessed while sawing and removal of downed trees is underway.

“There’s never a good time for hail especially when we’re getting close to harvest and the crop is completed,” said Jim Gibson, ag producer.

It’s safe to say that the 2023 growing season has been a challenge for ag producers and farmers in Deaf Smith County. Sporadic heavy rainfall the region received in the spring caused washouts and flooding. They’ve had to deal with excessive heat and now their coping with their third hail storm during the growing season. We still have a month to go till we get to harvest for the grain crops. 

"This year has been a real rough year,” said Gene Vasek, farmer.

Ag producers were cleaning up damage on their property from Friday night’s hail storm that damaged crops.

“On my crops myself, we went well we took a 30-ton corn yield and we harvested 10 tons,” said Jason Jesko, ag producer. “I lost sixty percent (60%) of crop just in one hail storm.”

Gibson has run cattle and raised crops for decades. He tells ABC 7 News that hail the size of a marble or a quarter will do enough damage to a crop where all you can do is collect on insurance.

“It just completely destroys it, it shelled all the leaves off of my milo crop and got all the majority of the grain,” said Gibson. “It shattered it out of the heads that’s the bad thing about the timing we were pretty well done with the crop.”

“It sets it back, it damages it, just flat stunts its growth,” said Vasek. “It gets bruises and it affects it, diseases set in before it gets the bruise and it’s just a big problem.”

Wet conditions can keep producers out of their fields for up to a week as they prepare for harvest. The unpredictability of the weather is having an impact on the land and on profits.

“The heat hit and the rain quit now we got rain but now we got hail and so but that’s farming up here on the Texas Panhandle,” said Gibson. “My grandpa did it almost all of his life and so he’s seen a lot of times and true tested times and that’s just part of farming.”

Harvest is about three to four weeks away and more rain is in the forecast.

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