CULLMAN, Ala. (AP) - Heavy fall rains have cut into the sweet potato crop in Cullman County this year.
Arnold Caylor, director of the North Alabama Horticulture Research Center, estimated up to 80 percent of the county's crop will be lost. The county usually ranks second in the state in sweet potato production.
Caylor says soil in the fields also are likely sticking to the potatoes more this year because of the mud. He says that makes the potatoes more likely to retain moisture during storage and be more susceptible to organisms that cause rot.
State agriculture statistics show about 2,700 acres of sweet potatoes planted in Alabama. More than one-third of that acreage was in Cullman County.
Officials say much of the remaining acreage is in Baldwin County, where conditions are better.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)