By Julie Tomascik

Too much. Or not enough. It’s the never-ending challenge with moisture and agriculture.

This year is no different. The Lone Star State has faced wild weather in 2021—a winter storm of a lifetime, tornadoes, hailstorms, torrential rains and flooding.

And Mother Nature’s latest rain event is challenging some Texas farmers and ranchers.

The rains came in May.

Followed by more rain.

And rain continues to fall in early June. The outlook for the next seven days still shows rain in the forecast for much of Texas.

In some parts of the state, the rain is just what the farmer ordered. For others, it’s been too much. And still some haven’t seen rain at all.

Prior to the rain, farmers across the state were in the field. In the Panhandle, farmers were working long hours to get seeds in the ground. Praying for a little rain, sunshine and favorable growing conditions year-round.

For other farmers who had their crops planted, it’s too wet to spray weeds or apply fertilizer. And crops that have been under water for an extended period of time are showing signs of stress. A promising wheat crop in Central Texas needs to be harvested.  

Farmers and ranchers also need to cut hay. But abundant rain, which helps the grass grow, is preventing them from cutting and baling their hay. Last year, there was a slight shortage of hay, so farmers are counting on this year’s crop to help replenish their supplies.

The added stress comes at a tough time during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Still, after many years of drought, you don’t hear too many complaints about the rain. They’re just asking to spread it out a bit.

But farmers are the eternal optimists, putting their faith in the ground with each seed. And rolling the dice when it comes to moisture. Will it be too little or too much this year?

That’s the gamble of farming and ranching.