Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Late rain dampens harvest outlook

Staff writer

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Recent rains have been good for Roosevelt and Curry counties, but the lateness of it has caused quality issues for some crops.

Roosevelt County farm Rick Ledbetter said the rain in September caused delays in harvesting corn, but had no effect on the quality of the corn. His other crops, including cotton and chiles, will not be ready for harvest until late October and November. Those two crops were affected by the late rains, he said.

“We always want rain, but the timing caused some problems with cotton as the quality will not be as good. Cotton likes the heat and it got the cold weather,” Ledbetter said.

Ledbetter said the chiles will not affected as much as the cotton, but the quality will be less.

Ledbetter said the area needed the rain and the grass looks great around the county, but if the area got rain around August and July, his crops would have been better off.

Rainfall through September of this year is about 85 percent normal in Curry and Roosevelt counties, according to the National Weather Service. Clovis has soaked up 12.29 inches of rain through September. Portales has measured 11.95 inches of rain.

Steve Bailey, a farmer in the Grady/Broadview area, said the late rain made his grain sorghum — milo — unable to harvest for sale.

“We had the best start in a long time with the early rains and I was hoping for more rain in July and August, but we just didn’t get it,” Bailey said.

Bailey said the September rain was too late for his milo and the quality would only be good for cattle feed.

Bailey said his winter wheat crop has a good chance this year with the late rains. Bailey said the other farms around his area are growing hay and the crop looks good.

“It has been quite a year, with the dust storms in March and the good rains in June, then the amount of grasshoppers, then the late rains. It will help for next year,” Bailey said.

“We will be in better shape for next year. If we have a wet winter and a decent spring, it’s going to look pretty good for us,” Bailey said.