Steve Ellis might tell you that he plants cotton as opposed to grows it, at least for the past three years while he and other West Texas producers have suffered through the ongoing drought. And with more rainfall in May and June across the South Plains than many counties have seen all year which brought storms that also included blowing dust and damaging hail, farmers have their work cut out for them. If they aren't replanting cotton they may be planting later season alternatives like grain sorghum, sesame, and sunflowers. But not Steve Ellis. He's still just wishing it would rain.
"It's real dry," Ellis said. "We haven't gotten as much as these surrounding counties yet. I think we're way behind the game. We planted all of the irrigated in early May to to mid May, and then we planted the dry land, we were through by June 3."
Brownfield has only received about 3.82 inches of rainfall for all of 2013. And Ellis said that it's very obvious where it has rained in Terry County just by what you can see when you drive around.
"You can draw a line through the middle of Terry County and what we have east of that line is pretty good dry land cotton. What we have west of it is pretty skippy. It needs a rain," Ellis said.
But one thing seems to be surviving the drought perfectly, and even thriving. That's careless weeds. After spraying his Roundup Ready cotton with Roundup or glyphosate, the weeds just didn't die.
"Insects are very low right now, weeds are very high," Ellis said. "Resistant careless weeds are giving us quite a problem."
To look on the bright side there's a replenished need for field help. But that work won't last long if the real crops don't get any rain.
"Cotton is setting right now, if we could get a rain it could still be good, but we need a rain real quick," Ellis said.