Recent rain is a good thing for farmers - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Recent rain is a good thing for farmers

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By Tayleigh Davis - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - It's been an extremely hot summer in south Georgia, but the season has not been without its share of rainfall. Following a historic drought two years ago, recent showers have been a gift to local farmers who grow pecans, peanuts, and cotton.

As dark clouds loom above the pecan orchards, farmers wait for the skies to open up. September is a crucial time for preparing southwest Georgia's number one money maker crop for harvest in the fall. Sunnyland Farms in Albany saw about half an inch of rain Sunday.

"Here in Dougherty County and southwest Georgia, we need a lot of rainfall so the half inch we got last night was very beneficial," said Dougherty County Cooperative Extension's Rad Yager.

It's a good reason to keep sprinklers off. Yager says, out of the 16,000 acres of pecan orchards in Dougherty County, roughly 70 percent are irrigated.

Some farmers use moisture sensors or evaporation pans to determine when they need to irrigate. Sunnyland uses a solid set irrigation system that pumps out water that covers the orchard floor.

Other methods include the drip or micro-jet which emit smaller streams of water over a long period of time to prevent evaporation and maintain the right moisture level.

"That's what produces a good quality nut that's well filled out," Yager added. "You have to have good irrigation and or rainfall here through October."

Along with pecans, the peanut and cotton crop also need rain right now. The only crop that needs more dry weather is corn because harvest is in full swing.

The Cooperative Extension office says Dougherty County is the largest pecan supplier in Georgia with a value of more than $20 million a year. 

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