Record-high heatwaves may hurt local farmers

Local News

Tripe-digit effects on harvesting

COYANOSA, Texas (BIG2/FOX24) – Record-breaking heat is sweeping through the nation with West Texas breaking a record today at 107 degrees. It is tied with two other days in August since 1931.

While the scorching heat may not be much fun for anyone, it often hurts businesses for farmers like Beto Mandujano. For people like him, there is no greater blessing than good weather.

“If we have bad weather, I guess we’re out of luck,” said Mandujano. “Sunshine is good for us. We harvest everyday. If we don’t get rain during the summer it’s okay, but we love the rain.”

However, mother nature is not always so forgiving. While sunshine and rain in moderation creates an ideal climate for crops, too much of either can do more damage than good.

“We got some rain and we got hail on Saturday. We lost some cantaloupe acres. In May we got a lot of hail also, and we lost a lot of crops. The heat, it produces the watermelon, cantaloupe , it gets it out of the field, it ripens it up, but it also over-ripes it if it’s too hot.”

Senior Forecaster, Greg Murdoch, of the Midland National Weather Service says in August of 2019, there has been ten 100-degree days. And while the record was set in 2011 with 65 days of triple digits, it does not make it any easier for farmers now.

“The guys can’t stay out there maybe past 2 o’clock. We’re worried… It’s going to be hot, but like I said, we’re used to it already. We got to water the watermelon and cantaloupe and see, hopefully, how far we can go with it.”

Mandujano waters the crops using drrp irrigation on a daily or 12-hour basis.

“Luckily before this extended hot spell that we’re in, a lot of rain occured across the state including West Texas, and the reservoirs even in West Texas caught a lot of water,” said Murdoch.

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