Crop dusters staying busy in South Georgia skies - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Crop dusters staying busy in South Georgia skies

July 9, 2003

Early County-- You may have noticed lots of crop dusters flying around South Georgia lately. The agriculture aviators are in high demand by farmers because of the weather. One South Georgia one crop duster says this is the busiest summer he has had in almost a decade.

 Crop duster Bruce Andrews sprays insecticide on a cotton field at the Bill Mitchell Farm. Andrews says he is flying ten hours a day, everyday, trying to keep up with the spraying jobs farmers are calling him for.

Andrews said "Normally we don't do quite as much work this time of year. They do it mostly with the ground applicators. But right now we're doing it mostly with the airplanes because of the wet weather."

All the recent rains have made it nearly impossible for the farmers to get out into their fields with their tractors to spray the chemicals to fight the bugs and weeds that are popping up in their cotton and peanuts. So they are having to turn to crop dusters to fight that battle for them.

 Andrews said "We really been stroking here. We're been averaging between 5500 and 6000 acres a day with my three aircraft, so it's really been super for us so far." Farmers are trying to keep the boll weevils and stink bugs off their cotton, and the tobacco bug worm off their peanuts. The rainy weather is bringing the bugs out in force, while wet spots in their fields keep tractors out.

Andrews said "The tractors are just bogging in the fields. They are doing more damage to the crop than they are doing good. That's the advantage of the aircraft." After filling up his tanks with insecticide, Andrews climbs back into his crop duster for his next job.

Andrews can spray 250 acres in an hour, and is trying to treat over 22-hundred acres a day. But Andrews is thrilled that his business this summer is really soaring.

Andrews, the national director of the Georgia Ag Aviation Association, says this is the busiest summer for his business since 1994.

posted at 3:50 by jimw@walb.com