Rain threatens crop planting - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Rain threatens crop planting

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By LeiLani Golden - bio | email

DECATUR CO., GA (WALB) – With every rain shower, farmers grow more anxious.

Their fields are saturated and we aren't getting enough breaks in the rainfall to let them dry out.

That means farmers are forced to push back plant dates which could lead to smaller crop yields.

Agriculture is the number one industry in Georgia. But mother nature doesn't seem to care about that.

"If we get more rain, it's gonna delay our corn planting which could affect yield," warns Decatur County Extension Coordinator Mitchell May.

Only three months into the year, farmers have suffered through the extremes of the weather spectrum. First with the bitter cold, then the long periods of rain.

"Temporarily, we do need it, but I think we're poised to be on schedule." May continued, "Hopefully no more interference from cold and too much rain."

"It slows us down at this time of year. We have to work in between showers," says farmer John Bridges.

The crop most at risk right now is field corn.

"At this point it's not having a severe impact to our sweet corn crop," May said. "Now if it continues to rain like it's been doing, it's gonna delay field preparation and could delay our field corn planting."

And when farmers can't get in the fields, they try to make the most of their non-planting time.

"They do prep on equipment, calibrate equipment, they plan ahead, religiously watch weather to see what the forecast is gonna be and they try to prepare for that."

But the farmers would rather stay ahead of schedule to avoid frustration later.

"We'll have to do a lot of catch up, a lot of longer hours to try and get caught back up when it dries out," says Bridges. "The longer it goes on the more frustrated and harder it is."

Those in agribusiness are trying to remain optimistic through mother nature's mood swings. But it's hard for them to not be realistic.

"It's not serious yet cause we're so early in the year. But if this continues for another month, it can become real critical."

Critical for the crops, and for the farmers whose livelihood depends on their survival.

Farmers say the latest they can plant their field corn and still yield maximum results is by mid April.

 

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