Rain delays in the farm fields - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Rain delays in the farm fields

By Jay Polk - bio | email

SUMTER COUNTY, GA (WALB) – Timing is everything when it comes to rain and agriculture.

And the last few days of rain have been ill-timed because farmers are trying to harvest.

If Tropical Storm Ida proved anything it's that you can have too much of a good thing. Take rainfall for example.

"Just yesterday alone there was 2.5 inches in the rain gauge that I have," said Bill Starr, a UGA Extension Agent in Sumter County.

But Ida was only the latest round of rainfall to deluge the area. October was extremely wet, with several other periods of heavy rainfall.

"Prior to that we had another 2 inch rain and prior to that a couple of weeks we had an inch and a half," said Starr.

Since it's impossible to harvest anything when it's raining, so that has caused another problem - delays in the harvest.

"We had peanuts that were ready several weeks ago, ready to be dug. And some of those peanuts have not been dug as of yet," said Starr.

For peanuts, bringing the harvest in at the right time is critical.

"Growers will not only lose yield but they'll also lose quality. And that equates to money that's going to be lost," said Starr.

And it's not just peanuts, cotton and soybeans are also affected. In the case of cotton: "if the farmer had defoliated prior to the rain it can cause some tremendous yield losses," said Starr.

And issues with the harvest now can have ripple effects as the calendar marches on.

Starr said, "it can delay planting of some of our winter crops, like wheat, rye and oats."

Which causes more delays as those crops will spill over into the Spring planting before they can be harvested.

"Everything is going to sort of be behind this year," said Starr.

While every farmer would prefer rain to drought, most of them at this point probably have one wish.

"We need a dry spell," Starr said.

And they are certainly hoping for some blue skies ahead.

Starr says that before the heavy rains started, peanuts, cotton and soybeans were all looking very good.  And that if it can stay dry, they think that can still do pretty well.

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