Recent rain helps farmers, not roads

Tony Parra

April showers have brought about much needed rain to the eastern plains of New Mexico. But with it comes the good, the bad and the ugly.

The good
The rain has helped farmers who begin growing crops in April. Joe Whitehead, a district conservationist, said wheat is the crop growing in April. He said farmers will begin planting cotton, corn and milo in May.
“The winter wheat was awful,” Whitehead said. “In 2001 and 2002 the summers were dry, but we received some moisture in September. We didn’t ever receive any rain for winter wheat this year.”
Whitehead and Roosevelt County Extension Agent Floyd McAllister said winter wheat is growing now but it has to do all of it’s growing from now until June.
“I’ve heard of figures in the neighborhood of four inches, it’s been extremely good,” McAllister said about the first two weeks of April. “The wheat will mature by June. It will have to mature by then because it dies in June because of the summer heat.”
Whitehead said that despite wheat being the only crop growing in April, cotton, corn and milo farmers will still benefit because of the rain.
“The soil is able to hold better with all of the moisture we have been getting,” Whitehead said. “Our typical rainy season is in July and August. The rain we’ve been getting is really amazing during this time of year.”

The bad
Chief Weather Anchor Kris Nation said not to expect anymore rain in Roosevelt County for the next five days, possibly eight. He said the cold front will be out of the county by today and we should be seeing sunny, warm days for the rest of the week.
Nation said Portales received 4.35 inches in the last 10 days.
The ugly
Not all news about the rain is good, especially when it comes to roads. Water, coupled with heavy traffic has caused potholes and wider cracks in some of the city streets.
“The potholes develop because the water causes a hydraulic effect,” Portales Street Superintendent Joe Parie said. “The water seeps into the cracks and the cars driving over the puddles squish the water, causing pressure. And when it freezes, it expands the asphalt and makes it worse.”
Parie said semis driving down the streets cause even more pressure, resulting in more damage. Signs of this damage are across 1st and 2nd Street. Parie said these streets are owned by the state.
Roosevelt County Road Department Manager Jackie Grimes said he hasn’t seen any major effects on county roads due to the rain.