San Patricio County is normally one of the top five grain sorghum producing counties in Texas, but this year, they have not had enough rain to harvest a decent crop.
In fact, it is pretty much a loss, and that has a real impact on the local economy and grain co-ops.
"With grain being our primary source of income, as a farmer cooperative, we're probably going to struggle pretty hard this year," said Brian McCuistion, general manager of Planter's Grain Co-op in Odem.
The company handles grain sorghum and corn, and when the success of a business is in the hands of mother nature, results can be unpredictable.
"The kernels aren't quite as developed as we like to see," McCuistion said. "You want a really pretty, plump, big kernel, and these obviously are a little small, so."
The quality of the corn isn't where it could be, and the lack of rain and moisture means there was less than a quarter of a crop yield this year for grain sorghum. The overwhelming majority was a loss.
"I feel very frustrated," McCuistion said. "We like to stay busy as a commodity merchandiser. I like to have product to move, and when we don't have product to move, it makes for a long year, and a lot of us have to kind of step outside our comfort zone and our talent zone and find other things to shore up the financials."
No rain means less grain, which equals less workers.
"Typically, on a big harvest season, we may hire 20-30 season workers within the local community, and also from outside this area, and they'll come in just on a temporary basis to help get the crop unloaded and in the facilities," McCuistion said. "But of course this year, with the lack of crop, we were only able to hire maybe eight or 10."
At a field just east of Odem, Bob McCool, a San Patricio County Extension Agent, showed how spotty the results have been this year.
"The way this field lays, the water predominantly drains to this spot here, where the heads are, and they're already colored up, and made pretty good milo," McCool said. "The rest of this field is not going to make hardly any grain at all."
Not enough rain to make a crop; in a field of 40-50 acres, just one small area is looking good.
"That may be a half of a percent of the field," McCool said. "I mean, it's just where the water, where there was available water for the plant to use, the rest of the field hadn't gotten enough water to justify making a head."
The folks in the ag business in San Patricio County say that now, they're trying to get this lost season behind them and focus on looking forward to September. They're watching the skies, and hoping for rain.
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