Arctic blast doesn't help agriculture - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Arctic blast doesn't help agriculture

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By Jay Polk - bio | email

Sumter County, GA (WALB) –   This arctic blast is probably forcing you to put on an extra layer of clothing before you head outside, but for farmers it's another bad break from mother nature.

There's no doubt that it's been the cold for the last week. Some creeks even have ice in them.

"Extremely cold. This morning when I woke up it was 17 degrees," said Sumter County Extension Agent Bill Starr.

And this was after a very wet December. This double weather whammy has forced some farmers to deal with something they haven't seen in many years.

"There actually is some fields that have some ice in them," said Starr.

And that has caused serious delays in harvesting one of South Georgia's largest crops. Cotton.  "We still have cotton here that still has not been harvested yet."

Since the cotton is normally out of the ground by late November, any cotton crop that is still in the ground is lost. Mainly due to disease pressure caused by the wet conditions.

"It accentuates the conditions for boll rot. Which tremendously affects not only the yield of the cotton but the quality of the cotton."

"The cold and wet weather that we've seen during the late Fall and early winter months has most directly affected the cotton crop. But it's not the only one that's feeling the impact."

Grasses and cereal crops such as wheat are also being severely impacted.

 "Our wheat planting is 30 to 40 percent off due to the wet conditions," said Starr.

And while they actually like the cooler weather, this bitter cold gives them problems as well. Mainly because the cooler temperatures haven't allowed the moisture to evaporate.

"It's stayed in the fields for extended periods of time."

When it comes to the weather, farmers have been on quite a roller coaster over the last few months and they're hoping that the ride will be a smoother one in the next few months. 

Bill Starr says he hopes for warmer, dry weather in the coming weeks.

 

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