Snow Won't Help Drought Recovery Much, Alternate Seeds Used

Franque Thompson

PLATTSMOUTH, NE (KPTM)- Some might think Tuesday's snowstorm would help local farmers recover from the drought, but for those who plant crops the snow doesn't do much but get in the way. Farmers said they need all the moisture they can get to help fight back from the drought, but the snow isn't really helping.

"Generally it runs off, doesn't really soak into the profile much because the ground is frozen. It's more of nuisance to us more so than a benefit to the growing crop," said John McNamara of Wiles Bros. Fertilizer Inc. in Plattsmouth, Neb.

McNamara said if the right kind of moisture doesn't come soon, the damage to his company's land could be critical.

"We could fall back into a real dry situation fairly quickly without timely spring rains," he said.

In case those spring rains don't come McNamara said the company is prepared. It has a stock of a new type drought tolerant seeds that don't need as much water to grow. He thinks that will help the company a great deal through the harvest.

"Less water used, less run off, more product and less money. Less money invested as far as those pumping costs in order to produce that crop," said McNamara.

McNamara said about 10 percent of Wiles Bros. crop will be from the drought tolerant seed. Although moisture is still needed, the drought seed is able to produce without as much water as the regular seed.

"Gives the grower and the consumer a high quality product with little or less moisture," said McNamara.

The snowy moisture from the storm won't do much good for the dry land. Despite the lack, McNamara said he's still hopeful.

"We didn't get as dry as we were overnight and it will take a while to replenish that. We're on our way," he said.

McNamara said he hopes to use about 60 to 70 percent of drought tolerant seeds for next year's crop. He said Wiles Bros. will spend the rest of this week and next week delivering seeds to area farmers. He said farmers will already begin planting seeds within the next week or two.