Big Country farmers welcome recent rains
ABILENE, Texas - After a dry start to the year, heavy rains in the Big Country are needed for current and soon-to-be planted crops. "We've had some dry weather that we've gotten through, but at this point, the rain right now is going to be more beneficial than anything," said Robert Pritz, Taylor County extension agent for agriculture and natural resources. The time to plant small grains like wheat and oats is soon but some farmers have already planted their grains. "A lot of producers that put in the small grains for grazing try to get em in early, and the dry weather has been a challenge as well, so a lot of them are trying to get it in before we got this rain so that they can get the benefits of the rain," Pritz said. With only trace amounts of rain so far this month, inches of rain in just a few days can disrupt those grains already planted. Abilene has gotten 15.36 inches of rain so far this year. That's 3.48 inches shy of the average rain total for this time of the year. "There can be some challenges when you get a lot of rain at one time, so we do have to worry about there being some times when some newly planted fields may get under water or we may have some washouts or things that happen where we have to go in and replant in some of those areas," Pritz said. Even with flooding concerns around the Big Country, rain is still welcome. "We'll take a rain anytime we can get it," Pritz said.