Hurricane Harvey caused $200 million-plus losses to Texas ag

Texas rice before Harvey

Texas rice producers were hoping for a good crop before Hurricane Harvey struck the Gulf Coast. Lissie, Texas, producer Timothy Gertson shot this photo of harvest before the storm.

Hurricane Harvey, which decimated parts of South Central Texas and the upper Gulf Coast, caused more than $200 million in crop and livestock losses, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service economists. Included in that were $8 million of losses to rice and soybeans.

“The effects of Hurricane Harvey will linger for quite some time with our Texas farmers and ranchers,” Dr. Doug Steele, agency director in College Station, said in a news release. “Many South Texas or coastal area cotton farmers were on the verge of harvesting one of the best crops ever in Texas, while some ranchers were unable to save some cattle from insurmountable flood waters.

“However, the livestock losses could have been far worse had it not been for the many cooperating associations that joined forces with AgriLife Extension to establish animal supply points in the impacted areas, providing livestock with fresh hay and feed donated from across Texas and from generous individuals in neighboring states.”

Hay and feed donations were valued at more than $1.3 million, according to AgriLife Extension economists.

Hurricane losses by agricultural commodity include:

• Livestock: $93 million

• Cotton: $100 million

• Rice and soybeans: $8 million

In its October crop production estimates, the U.S. Department of Agriculture lowered Texas rice production 614,000 hundredweight compared to pre-storm estimates. The value of that production at current market prices is about $7.5 million, says Dr. Mark Welch, AgriLife Extension grains marketing economist in College Station.

Texas cotton after Harvey

Texas cotton growers lost an estimated $100 million to Hurricane Harvey. Photo courtesy Texas AgriLife

The USDA-Farm Service Agency reports 1,729 acres of soybeans were reported as failed along the Coastal Bend. Although specific production numbers are not yet available for counties along the coast, using a statewide average of 37 bushels per acre puts the value of lost soybean acres at just over $500,000, he says.

Welch says most of the corn and sorghum crops along the coast were harvested before the storm. Average corn yields of 124 bushels per acre and sorghum yields of 103 bushels per acre or 5,768 pounds were reported for District 9, the Upper Coast – both all-time record highs.

AgriLife Extension and USDA-Farm Service Agency’s Texas state office have teamed to produce a series of videos to share disaster assistance program details for farmers and ranchers recovering from Hurricane Harvey. The information is available at https://agecoext.tamu.edu.