Farmers are keeping an eye out, as more weather systems churn in the tropics. So far, the outlook for crops is sunny, but too much rain could change that.
Years of drought and rising fuel prices have taken their toll on the cotton and peanut market. This year, experts say, adequate rainfall totals may prove to produce one of the best harvests in awhile.
This past growing season has seen just the right amount of rain and sunshine to produce healthy peanut and cotton crops.
“Compared to the last two or three years, it's looking very good, but compared to a window of time back 15 years, this will be a good year. But, it won't be an outstanding year,” says Willie Durr, the Houston County Extension coordinator.
But, it's good enough that farmers are hoping to harvest one bale of cotton per acre and around three tons of peanuts per acre.
Peanut harvesting starts in September and cotton harvesting will begin right around the corner in October.
However, hurricane season is still upon us and storms churning in the gulf could dampen farmers’ hopes for a successful year.
Durr adds, “You want it to rain, and you want it to dry out, and then rain again. The longer the water sits, or it’s wet, then that's more or less going to cause the conditions we call white mold and other disease problems. “
So, farmers are cautiously optimistic and hoping that approaching storm systems remain spread out and do not create flooding.
Weather could be a make or break for some farmers. There is already 10 percent less farming acreage this year due to high fuel costs and lower market prices, though the Wiregrass was spared the wrath of Gustav.
However, two more storms could cause problems for the area.