Tropical storm Hermine spared South Texas the devastation of hurricanes like Rita, Ike and Katrina, but wind and rain reduced yield and quality of crops still in the field and damaged barns and other structures.
“I made a swing through the three-county area last Thursday and we really caught quite a bit of moisture from Hermine, from 4 to 8 inches,” reports Clyde Crumley, Extension Integrated Pest Management Specialist in Wharton, Texas.
“If all the cotton was harvested it would be okay, because we would just have to deal with stalk destruction. But that is not the case. My best guess is that we still have about 50 percent of the area’s cotton crop in the field and, depending on the variety, it is beginning to string out, so aside from quality factors we could see some yield reduction.
“Another concern,” Crumley says, “is the soybean crop, which is just beginning to be harvested. Hopefully we will get some clear weather in the coming days, but at this time of year in this part of Texas, that may be wishful thinking.”
Down the coast around Corpus Christi, Nueces County, AgriLife Extension agent Jeffrey Stapper says most of the area’s cotton had been harvested, but a few fields were caught in the storm.
“We still had about 5 percent of our cotton in the field ready to pick, so it got hammered pretty good by the wind and rain,” Stapper says. “In addition we still had about 70 percent of our sesame in the field, and it was ready to harvest. The sesame has lodged from wind and rain and final yields will be reduced.”
Stapper says rainfall in the area ranged from 2 to 6 inches.
Damage was not limited to crops in the field. “Wind damaged roofs and barns, blew tarps off cotton modules, and knocked power out in several homes,” he says.