Recent Weather Not Helping Area Farmers

By: Tim Elliott Email
By: Tim Elliott Email

It's been a difficult year for many area farmers.

Alabama's agriculture commissioner says heavy rains have damaged some Alabama crops and caused poor harvesting conditions.

Commissioner Ron Sparks said farmers could be in crisis mode if they don't get dry weather within the next two weeks.

But a local farmer says he's been scrambling for weeks to get his work done.

“We've been in the crucial period for the last 3 weeks in fact you might say the last month,” said farmer Tracy Taylor.

2009 has been a strange year for area farmers.

“September and October are normally very dry for us and they've been totally opposite. Of course the whole year has been wet for the most part,” said Taylor.

Heavy rainfall last spring and recent rain this fall has put many wiregrass farmers behind schedule.

“It's getting behind the peanut harvest, the cotton harvest, the whole 9 yards. We're a good 3 to 4 weeks behind where we'd normally be,”

Taylor says the excessive rain isn't completely to blame.

“When it's raining every week and it doesn’t necessarily have to rain I mean when you got cloudy overcast weather like we have today peanuts just don't harvest,”

On his 45-acre plot of land in Pansey, Taylor says normally at this time of year he's finished harvesting. But because of the recent weather he's only about halfway done.

“We can deal with it throughout the growing season but the harvest season you really need it to dry off,”

Taylor says wet soil sets him back in two ways.

“The dirt needs to be dry in order to dig peanuts otherwise the peanuts pull off in the dirt and you can’t harvest them in cloudy weather. Peanut harvest needs sunny weather, dry weather, for these machines to gather the peanuts without wasting the peanuts,” added Taylor

“Everyday that you're not delivering, you're a day behind,”

He says the only thing you can do is be patient and hope the weather will cooperate.
“All you've got to do is wait on the good lord to send you some sunny weather and then when he does go at it!”

Taylor says all that rain doesn't affect the quality of his crop too much.

He says even though he's about a month behind schedule, he hopes he'll get some sunshine this week so he can finish harvesting the rest of his crop.

Commissioner Sparks added the rains have reduced crop yields on many farms and says most affected crops are cotton, soybeans, corn and peanuts.

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