"All's well that ends well," wrote William Shakespeare in an early 17th century play by the same name. Ever since the early 1600s a debate over the literary work has fueled the argument of whether the play was a comedy or the tale of human tragedy.

Perhaps the same could be said about grain sorghum and corn harvest underway in the Lower Rio Grande Valley this week. For most, the growing season has been a tragedy, but a fortunate few are reporting favorable early harvest returns, and a very few are actually boasting that their corn yields are remarkably good considering the dire water straits the region finds itself in this summer.

"A few corn growers are actually shuffling for bragging rights," reports Hidalgo County Extension agent Brad Cowan. "We had some fair rains in May but they were spotty. If your corn or grain field happened to be under them, then you are seeing the benefit in yields."

Also helping the harvest situation were the limited irrigation resources available early on in the season. While irrigation water is in short supply or non-existent now, a round of irrigation in late spring helped some farmers "from going bust."

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"It's a hit-and-miss year for grain and corn growers. Either you had a little irrigation water and then got a little rain to boost crops, or you didn't. But surprisingly, grain sorghum and corn have produced pretty good yields for those that got the water," he adds.

On the down side, dryland crops have suffered. While a few growers picked up enough May rain to produce a crop, yields have generally suffered.

Cowan says grain sorghum harvest continues and will be finishing up within a week or two, except for late planted grain. Like corn, grain conditions vary greatly depending on the amount of water that was available throughout the growing season.