Dry Weather Impacting Valley Farmers, Firefighters

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EDINBURG – Fire officials and local farmers said dry conditions are beginning to take a toll across Rio Grande Valley crops and fields.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS reported how Brownsville issued a voluntary water restriction. The recent lack of rain fall is becoming a growing concern.

Cotton grower Brian Jones said there’s nothing but dust in the wind.

“We are probably 60 days since the last time we’ve had rain come through here, and we’ve been having to irrigate every three weeks,” he said.

Jones said he pays about $20 to $22 per acre every time he wants to keep his crop hydrated.

“Cotton needs to water to be able to grow and fruit and to continue to fruit. Once it starts sensing it’s running out of water, it starts terminating itself,” he explained.

Jones said another good portion of the Valley is facing the same situation with the lack of rain. However, he said too much water can also have the same impact.

“Just like too much water for a person is a bad thing. You can drown in too much water. Too much water cuts off the flow of oxygen to the plant. It seals off the ground and the roots can’t breathe,” he said.

Edinburg Deputy Fire Chief Rolland Pursley said while crops are struggling, fires are also thriving.

“We have not had any rainfall for a while now so the conditions are high now, and this is a windy season also,” he said.

Pursley urges people who do wish to burn to call their local fire department so they can advise them on what day would be best to do so.

Jones said winds are also having an impact on farmers. He said if wind speeds are more than 10 miles per hour, they can’t spray for pests. 

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