Wheat farmers work night and day - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Wheat farmers work night and day

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - South Georgia farmers are hustling to harvest their wheat crop this week and hoping recent rain doesn't cost them.

All the recent wet weather is a blessing for most crops, but South Georgia farmers with wheat fields had their harvest held up by the rain, and sprouting is a problem.

Eddie Sholar is running his harvesting combines wide open now that his fields are dry. Most wheat farmers wanted to harvest a week and a half ago, but the nearly everyday rains that most of South Georgians experienced kept them out of the fields.

And that could end up costing wheat farmers, because their crop quality is hurt by extra sprouting caused by the moisture and wait time.   

"They want to see less than five percent of their wheat sprouting when they combine it," said Lee County Farm Service Agency Director Hank Hammond. "We are seeing upwards of from five percent to 35% of their wheat sprouted that they have harvested. When it gets up like that it's good for nothing but basically animal feed at that point and time."

More than 12,000 acres of wheat was planted in Lee County alone. Across South Georgia many farmers planted extra wheat this year, because of the fall off in peanut prices. Now these farmers are hoping that their crop quality is good enough to bring top price.

Most South Georgia farmers of course plant more than one crop, and most have had their schedule thrown off by the wet weather.

They were planning on planting peanuts or cotton now, but have had to hold off on that until harvesting their wheat. So many are worried about getting their next crop in the ground on time.

Despite all that, I'm sure almost all of the South Georgia farmers would say they are still glad they got all this rain this spring, rather than the last couple of years of drought.

Many farmers will plant soybeans later this year in those same fields as part of their planting rotation.

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