Local farmers hit hard by spring flooding

Published: Jun. 18, 2019 at 6:11 PM CDT
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Jim Esbenshade says a quarter of his corn harvest drowned near the Red River, as it was wiped out from the rains in April and May, and had to replant some of the corn up to three times.

"Not to complain about the rain, its great to have the rain, if we can just get a break to harvest the crops we make," said Esbenshade.

Esbenshade says the amount of rain has made it difficult to harvest across the board.

He says he spends up to $300 per acre on his crops, and has cropped close to 600 acres so far this year. That's a cost of $180,000.

"A lot of our early hay has been poor quality hay, and we've already lost. Then some of our wheat went down, and then a lot of our corn drowned," said Esbenshade.

Esbenshade isn't the only farmer that's had issues with the rain. Robert Bourne at the OSU Extension Office in Durant says many farmers have asked for help on cattle feed that they had to plant late.

"When they get ready to harvest this crop, its not going to be as mature as what they would normally cut at this time. Tonnage is going to be down, so there's going to be some challenges trying to get that crop out, especially if the rains continue," said Bourne.

According to the Oklahoma Mesonet, Bryan County has received over 14 inches of rainfall in April and May, and the area has seen nearly 22 inches of rain so far this year.

"September to December, we were looking at already having 35 inches, and our normal rainfall is 47 (for the year). So we've already gotten most of our rainfall in those three, four months, and we are way ahead of that schedule now," said Bourne.

This is the highest amount of rainfall the area has seen since 2016 over that same span.

"We're very thankful for the rain, if we can just get a few windows in there to harvest what we can make. We're very thankful to God for the rain," said Esbenshade.

Esbenshade said it's too late to plant corn now, but can harvest the corn in August.

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