MOBILE, Ala. (AP) - A spring drought coming after an extremely dry winter in Alabama is threatening farmers' plans to cash in on high corn prices driven up by the biofuel boom.
North Alabama has the driest conditions in a half-century, but there's a rain deficit statewide, according to state climatologist Doctor John Christy at the University of Alabama-Huntsville.
Even usually wet Mobile has a rain deficit of about ten inches since January.
Many farmers decided the 4-dollar-a-bushel corn price - double last year's price, thanks partly to the growing ethanol industry - was worth rotating away from cotton this year. But farm experts said with an April first corn-planting target, the lack of rain could change those crop plans.
Cotton, planted later, requires less moisture to survive. Buddy Adamson, a cotton expert at the Alabama Farmers Federation, said Alabama growers planted nearly 575-thousand acres of cotton in 2006
and were expected to scale back to about 425-thousand acres this
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)