From dry to wet - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

From dry to wet

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By Jay Polk - bio | email

DOUGHERTY COUNTY, GA (WALB) - The persistent precipitation has washed away the drought and most of the region is now above the normal yearly rainfall total. But how is that affecting farmers?

There's an old saying among farmers.  Rad Yager of UGA Extension tells us, "in a dry year, you get scared to death. But in a wet year, you go out of business."

And there's no doubt that we've seen some wet weather recently.

"Since the middle of March to today, a lot of places have had 22 inches of rain and over," Yager said.

That's way over what we should normally get, according to Yager, "average is about 8 inches. So we're about 14 inches above normal for the last 70 days or so."

And that's definitely had an impact on some farmers around the region. Like the hay operation at Nonami Plantation in Dougherty County. Lately the only haymakers being thrown here are by nature.

Scott Price, the Assistant Manager of the Plantation said, "we couldn't cut for two weeks. And what we do when we lose two weeks of cutting. You end up losing production on the end."

And lost production means lost yields - and lost profits. And hay wasn't the only crop that suffered. Corn took a beating as well.

"We had so much rain in such a short amount of time, that any low spot in the field the corn drowned," Price said.

Still, while there was some damage, some rain is better than none.

The rains that we've seen around South Georgia have been welcomed by most farmers, even if it has been too much at times. But it was a very different story told by the rainfall totals only a couple of years ago.

Back then, Georgia - along with the rest of the South - was in the grips of a several year long drought. And farmers felt the pinch as well.

Price said, "last two Springs have been terribly dry. And so you're early cutting of hay was virtually non-existent...unless you had irrigation.">

But now that the rains have come in abundance, farmers would just as soon see a bit of a break. So what do they think when they see a dry forecast?

"I think the farmers will welcome this short term forecast," said Yager.

And whether they live on a farm or in the city, many South Georgians certainly feel the same way.

The original forecast from Sate Climatologist David Stooksbury was for a dry Spring, but as of yesterday, Albany is almost 2.5 inches above its normal rainfall for the year, and only a tiny part of the state is considered to be dry.

You can see the latest Drought Conditions around the Southeast by going to http://www.drought.unl.edu/dm/DM_southeast.htm

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