Farmers expect a good fall harvest - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Farmers expect a good fall harvest

By Jade Bulecza - bio | email

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - 2009 is shaping up to be a good year for many south Georgia farmers.

They expect above average yields for many crops.

Combine those strong yields with people looking to save a few bucks, and farmer's markets are also having a good year. 

Tropical Storm Fay wiped out 60-thousand dollars worth of tobacco plants for farmer Wayne Vann last year.  This year, it's a much different story. 

"This year has been a better year than last year," said farmer Wayne Vann. "I had a lot of tobacco and  lost a pile of money last year. This year I went with produce and it's doing a lot better."

Vann switched to fall crops like peas and squash.

"If the rain keeps up and you don't get too much water, you know we'll have a good Fall," said Vann.

Lowndes County Extension Agent Calvin Willis says growers would rather deal with disease than a lack of rainfall. One of the biggest challenges is too much moisture.

However farmers are still expecting high yields of fall crops this year. Excess moisture creates disease. Tobacco and peanut crops are suffering from white mold due to the April floods, high humidity and temperatures.

But for the most part, it seems to be good year for farmers growing vegetables and especially for farmer's markets.

"We've had one of the best summer's we've ever had," said Phil Ethridge, owner of Farmer Brown's Produce Market. "We've been here 30 years and we've had a real good summer time."

Ethridge says people are also being more frugal with their money.

"I just think people have quit eating out so much," said Ethridge. "They've gone back to the older times and learned they have to eat at home."

If the storms stay away from the Gulf of Mexico, Willis says farmers should harvest normal to above normal yields.

Farmers say they need a good fall season since they dealt with drought and excessive moisture the last two years.


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