Cotton farmers don't need rain - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Cotton farmers don't need rain

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

Baker County, GA (WALB) – It could be another week before cotton growers can get back into the fields. They say they can't seem to catch a break. Rain showers have continued to pushed back harvests and now they wonder if they'll get their crops in before Christmas.

It's not what cotton farmers wanted to see, more rain pulling cotton from its locks and winds blowing rain soaked plants to the ground.  "The year's ending up just like it started, we had a lot of heavy rain when we planted corn, had to replant a lot of corn," said Matt Bryan of Faith Farms.

Bryan's crews focused on low lying areas to harvest more than half of his 400 acres before the rain hit. "This time of year it just doesn't dry out very fast those bottoms get wet and you just can't get in them, so we were trying to get all the low places and I think we did that pretty well."

Other weren't as lucky and could lose some of the crop if plants are blown over. "When it's on the ground it's considered a loss, it's lost, but if its still on the plant and can be picked it's definitely worth picking," said Chris Tyson, UGA Worth County Extension Agent.

What stays on the plant could also be discolored by the rain, costing farmers in the long run.  "It affects the lint quality, it's not, it's not in as good of shape as they want it when it gets to the gin, and it can affect the prices farmers get for it," said Tyson.

 After 18 years of farming, Matt Bryan knows if he can get a couple of sunny, dry days he can salvage what's left in the field. All he's dreaming of is a brown field Christmas. "It's just going to be pushing us toward Christmas, I don't want a white Christmas," he laughs.

Farmers say if this rain moves through and they get a couple of dry days they could be ready to start picking again by Saturday, but with rain threatening again Friday and Saturday, it could be next week before they start picking again, and the more rain, the better chance for more damage.

Because of the wet weather, cotton yields for the state have fallen nearly 50,000 bales from the October forecast, but production is still better than last year.


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