Peanut, Cotton Farmers Hope for Rain

By: Rhiana Huckins Email
By: Rhiana Huckins Email

Farmers are depending on a good crop this season after two years of drought. However the high cost of material is taking a toll on their profits.

"It looks like a good crop so far, we hope the rain fall keeps coming so we can gather a good crop this year, we're due one," David Allen Bell with Co-Owner Bell's Farm.

Like most farmers, Bell is praying for steady rainfall. Harvest time is near for peanut and cotton crops, and rain is crucial these next several weeks

"The last couple of years have not been because of the decrease in yields, we've just been getting by. This year, prices went up a little bit, and the prices of everything that go in them went up too,” said Bell. “We've hoping that a good crop stays up, to make some good profit this year."

Water may be step one in the process, but in order to maintain a successful crop, chemical materials are also needed.

Farmer's Co-Op of Ashford manager, Frank Sullivan, said, "They are coming mainly after fungicides, and we have had a few worms inside the peanuts, so they had to spray them, but most of the stuff right now is fungicides for white mold and leaf spots."

While farmers stock up on fungicides, pesticides and fertilizer a trip to the local co-op could leave them with a hefty bill.

"Fertilizer prices went up due to the cost of fuel, I mean the irrigation is costing a lot to run because of the energy you're burning. Weather it be diesel fuel to pump the water or electricity. It’s very expensive this year," adds Bell.

"Fertilizer 3 years ago average 175/180 dollars a ton, and now its 7-8 and even higher depending on what you get," says Sullivan.

In the long run, it could mean higher prices for the consumer. Water evaporates from the ground quickly this time of year, so farmers have to turn on their irrigation system at least 3 times a week.

Wiregrass farmers have the chance to sell their goods locally and internationally.

Cotton gins distribute cotton that gets shipped all over the world, and many big name industries come to Dothan for their peanuts.

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