Rain delivers for some farmers

By Christina Calloway

CMI staff writer

ccalloway@pntonline.com

CMI staff photo: Christina Calloway Roosevelt County Farmer Allen Deen said nothing was in this 160-acre field between Portales and Floyd two years ago, but recent moisture has now produced corn as far as the eye can see.

CMI staff photo: Christina Calloway
Roosevelt County Farmer Allen Deen said nothing was in this 160-acre field between Portales and Floyd two years ago, but recent moisture has now produced corn as far as the eye can see.

It isn’t rocket science. All farmers said they needed was precipitation for so many problems to be answered and the rainfall over the summer delivered more rain in three months than most farmers received in all of 2012.

For Floyd farmer Allen Deen, the 16 inches of water that drenched his land contributed to his “miracle” golden field of corn.

“We had nothing here, we hadn’t had a crop here in two years,” said Deen pointing to his 160 acres of dryland corn. “I had neighbors who told me I’d be crazy to have anything grow out there.”

All his naysayers have to do is drive down N.M. 267 toward Floyd to see it for themselves. As proud as he is of his crop, Deen proves that a year’s precipitation can make a big difference.

“Rain makes corn like the song says. It does help, we’ve just had moisture and that’s all we needed,” Deen said. “You can’t make a crop without it.”

Deen, who sells his crop to local feed suppliers, said seed companies have done a better job at making drought-tolerant crops as well.

Curry County wheat farmer Bill Smith said Roosevelt County has received more rain than Curry but recent rains have helped with the grass he’s grown.

“It’s turned all dry, the pastures are all brown again. Last year we didn’t grow any grass at all,” Smith said. “Right now it’s just planting time and right now we don’t have the moisture to get dryland wheat up.”

But like most farmers, Smith will take what he can get from the weather.

“It was awfully nice when we were getting it but you sure can forget awfully quick,” Smith said. “Last year was just terrible, anything is an improvement over that.”

CMI staff photo: Christina Calloway Allen Deen, left, and his son Seth Deen take a closer look at their corn crop in their field near Floyd.

CMI staff photo: Christina Calloway
Allen Deen, left, and his son Seth Deen take a closer look at their corn crop in their field near Floyd.

Roosevelt County farmer Carlos Paiz said he hasn’t seen too much of a difference in his crops but the rain has definitely helped.

“We didn’t have to pump water for a couple of weeks but now we’re back in the water again because it’s dry and it’s hot,” said Paiz who grows corn, tomato, squash and watermelon.

Paiz noted for other farmers, it has been a night and day difference from last year’s crop.

“The cattle are beautiful because the grass is doing real good. It’s all the difference in the world,” Paiz said. “It’s much better, there’s no comparison to this year and last year.”

For Curry County farmer Jerry Swenson, the season for wheat has just begun so he hopes the abundance of rain in the summer foreshadowed the weather for the next few months.

“It’s been much better than last year. Things are still in a deficit and we could use quite a bit more timely moisture to get things in good condition for winter,” Swenson said.

Swenson’s farm west of Clovis didn’t produce anything to harvest in dryland the last few years.

“In normal years, we try to get wheat planted the first of September,” Swenson said. “In normal years we could pasture it through the winter then take the cattle off and ideally be able to harvest it the first part of June.”

New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau Executive Vice President Matt Rush said most farmers are in a better mood than they were two months ago.

“Crops are looking very good. Rain started early enough with hay and grain sorghum looking really good for fall,” Rush said.

In 2011, Rush said the area only received a total of four inches of rain for the year.

“From June until today, we’ve had a lot of rain. It’s definitely a night and day difference from six weeks ago,” Rush said.