Farmers hope for a dry harvest - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Farmers hope for a dry harvest

August 13, 2003

 Lee County-- In about a month, Georgia farmers will begin harvesting peanut and cotton. There is optimism that there will be a banner crop, but most farmers are worried that too much rain could make the harvest a nightmare.

The three owners of Fairhaven Farms like what they see as they look across their fields. Their 3,400 acres of peanuts and 1,400 acres of cotton are right on schedule, thanks to abundant rain this summer.

 Heath Odom said "Our biggest concern is trying to get enough sunlight right now and drying time that when it gets close to harvest time, we can get in and gather this crop. We all feel if it is as wet a fall as it was a spring, we're in for a tough show."

After five years of drought, heavy rains this year create a different problem. Several five-inch rains in May flooded areas of their farm. Five percent of their crops drown out after three weeks underwater.

Greg Odom said "Yea, these look real good. These are Georgia greens, that we planted. We planted total Georgia greens all across the board."

 The cotton is starting to bloosom, and needs some dry days now. But the forecast calls for more rain. In September they worry about storms in hurricane season bringing even more rain, which could dramatically cut their yields.

 Kris Wheeless said "If it keeps raining, we could run into a problem with boll rot, but I think overall we've got a pretty good crop."

"The perception is that everytime it's raining farmers are getting exactly what they want. Too much rainfall can cause just as much damage as a lack of it,"said Heath

Farmers are still having to use crop dusters to fight bugs and weeds in their peanuts and cotton, because it is too wet from daily showers to get tractors in the fields.

posted at 4:50PM by dave.miller@walb.com