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Rain, rain don’t go away - Odessa American: News

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Rain, rain don’t go away

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Posted: Tuesday, August 7, 2007 12:00 am

Farmers and ranchers count their blessings — or their hardships — by the ebbs and flows of the weather, particularly rainfall.

Abundant rainfall or the lack of it can spell good fortune or calamity for farmers and ranchers alike.

But is all the rain the Permian Basin has been receiving this year too much of a good thing?

“It’s been very beneficial. We’re going to have a wonderful cotton crop,” said Myrl Mitchell, a cotton farmer at Lenorah and operator of Four Way Gin Co.

Now that there is good subsurface moisture, Mitchell said, “What farmers need now is heat units and dry, warm weather.

But “The moisture has definitely helped,” Mitchell said.

Robert Cantu, dispatcher at the Oasis Gin Co. in Seminole, agreed the rainfall this year has been good for this year’s cotton crop.

He said rains would continue to help “as long as it stops shortly before ginning begins.”

North of Odessa, Janice Boggs, who along with her husband, Dan, operates Pecans International, said the rains are helping Ector County pecan growers, too.

“My mother calls it money in the bank,” Boggs said. “The trees are more beautiful than they’ve been in years.”

With good regular rains, she said, growers can save money on electricity by not having to water their orchards.

And though area ranchers expressed thankfulness for this year’s rains, they also raised a concern that the abundant growth of grass will raise the fire danger this fall.

Evetts Haley Jr., who ranches in Loving and Winkler counties, said 80 to 90 percent of the grama grass there is gone now — the roots died during the long-running drought years.

While other grass has recovered, he said, it would present a fire danger this fall.

Good rains have fallen to this point in the year, he said, but August and September rains are needed for a strong winter weed crop. He noted all the winter weeds in this area are succulent weeds.

“Hopefully, yes, we’ll have a great winter weed crop,” Haley said.

Haley noted that ranchers in far West Texas rely on succulent winter weeds to provide much of their cattle feed in that time of year.

Schuyler Wight, who ranches in Pecos and Ector counties, said another problem ranchers experience during periods of unusually high rainfall is “the grass gets washy. That’s what we call it. It doesn’t have the protein level it usually has.”

But both Haley and Wight noted they’re thankful for this year’s rains.

“It’s much appreciated, and we’re thankful for it,” Haley said.

Too much rain?

Never, said Wight.

“When you live out here in the desert, you’re thankful for all the rain you get,” he said.

WHAT’D WE GET?

The National Weather Service has recorded the following rainfall this year at the Midland International Airport.

>> 1.18 inches in January.

>> 0.14 inches in February.

>> 2.18 inches in March.

>> 1.63 inches in April.

>> 5.27 inches in May.

>> 2.63 inches in June.

>> 2.34 inches in July.

>> 2.74 inches for August.

>> 18.11 total inches so far this year.

Odessa, TX

Current Conditions

Sunny
75°
Humidity: 65%
Winds: E at 10mph
Feels Like: 75°

Your Extended Forecast

Tomorrow

weather
High 89°/Low 63°
More sun than clouds. Highs in the upper 80s and lows in the low 60s.

wednesday

weather
High 90°/Low 65°
Mainly sunny. Highs in the low 90s and lows in the mid 60s.

thursday

weather
High 93°/Low 65°
Mainly sunny. Highs in the low 90s and lows in the mid 60s.
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