Rain Impacting Peanut and Cotton Crops

By: Lisa Blackwell Email
By: Lisa Blackwell Email

Continuing rainfall in the Wiregrass is putting a damper on farmer's spirits. It is harvest time, and wet weather is keeping them out of the fields.

It's been a year of ups and downs for farmers, March floods postponed planting, and then hot, dry weather in June looked to be a recipe for disaster.

But then Mother Nature delivered a perfect mix of rain and sun in July and August, producing a promising harvest.

Now the fields are too wet for farmers to harvest crops. The recent rain is creating a dicey situation for peanuts.

Plants need to be inverted now. The longer they stay in the ground. The more brittle the hulls become, causing them to shatter and fall during harvesting, and rendering them unsalable.

The longer they stay in the ground, the more susceptible they are to leaf rot, another devastating condition.

Cotton crops are also at risk. Too much rain is causing hard lock, a condition that prevents the bolls from puffing out and making it difficult to harvest. Farmers are facing a twenty to thirty percent potential yield loss, in terms of money, that's a loss of up to $200 per acre.

Extension Agent William Birdsong says farmers need three weeks of dry weather for harvesting.

I think we've got a good crop, I think we've got a good opportunity of considering this to be a very good year yield-wise but we certainly need a pattern shift and nobody knows exactly when that's going to occur hopefully then it will this weekend.

Birdsong says many farmers are frustrated. It's hard to see a good crop sitting there with the possibility of it going to waste.

Farmers need high yields this year because crop prices are not as good as they were a year ago.

Last year cotton was 85 cents a pound. This year it's around 65 cents.


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