Alabama Farmers Hoping for Good Season

Farmers across the wiregrass are reporting a good 2011 harvest season with the help of high prices for cotton and peanuts.
But with a dry start to the New Year, will the outcome for 2012 be just as great?

"Going into 2012, farmers are optimistic about the season," said Extension Agronomist William Birdsong.

2011 was a good year for crop prices and for area farmers.

However, the lack of rain and moisture in the soil dampened their expectations.

"The dry conditions from May and June had farmers thinking it might be a disastrous season, but you never know exactly what this years going to be like,” said Birdsong.

With high quality yields from last year's cotton crop, farmers are hoping to reap the benefits in 2012.

"We're hopefully going to have a season were we go into the planting season that we can establish a crop and get our stands, that was a real problem last year," said Henry Co. Extension Coordinator, Jimmy Jones.

Not only were stands an issue but two year drought cycles caused several farmers to replant peanut crops.

These problems caused an increase in prices.

This year, officials predict good commodity prices to help farmers during tough times.

"We are expecting pretty good contract pricing for peanuts this year, if the farmers can hold out, we're hoping for 750, 800 dollar ton peanuts, were last year we contracted at 350 to 500 dollar probably average," said Jones.

With weather having a major impact on the farming season, experts say it takes moisture in the spring time for a great outcome in the fields.

However, dry conditions are forcing growers to look for other options.

"Farmers have realized the need for more irrigation systems and certainly we got a long ways to go as far as getting the majority of our crop land irrigated," said Birdsong.

With high hopes for 2012, farmers are keeping their fingers crossed that Mother Nature works in their favor.

Area farmers are reminded that the wiregrass cotton expo is coming up February 3rd at the National Peanut Festival Fairgrounds.

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