South Georgia farmers harvesting corn - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

South Georgia farmers harvesting corn

Larron Copeland Larron Copeland
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August 29, 2003

Albany -- South Georgia corn farmers are wrapping up harvesting their crop. Heavy rains forced many to get a late start on their harvest, but this dryer week has helped most catch up.

Now the farmers hope that higher prices for their corn will continue. Larron Copeland is very happy to see his harvester able to run most of this week. He hopes to finish harvesting his nearly 600 acres of corn before Labor Day.

This summers heavy rains have been a blessing. Copeland said "We've had the rain and thundershowers, but no really rough thundershowers, where you get a lot of wind. We've have not had any corn down on the ground, even with the disease. We've got 95 percent of it in the bin, and not leaving any in the fields."

Corn is one of Georgia's major crops, and state ag leaders say growers could have record yields this summer. Copeland's yield will not be. Copeland said "Probably about 175 bushels. Last year we had some 200, 220 acre bushel irrigated corn. Seeing it now just in spots."

The difference this year is that dry land corn, grown in non-irrigated fields, got plenty of rain. Corn suffered in the previous five years of drought. Now Copeland hopes to benefit from higher prices this season, bringing about two dollars and 20 cents per bushel. That's twenty cents more than last year, but still not enough.

Copeland said "I started farming 22 years ago, and it was bringing three dollars a bushel then. The price is the problem."

During the drought, the corn harvested in South Georgia needed little drying. This summer elevators are backed up, trying to keep up with the record yields of corn being brought in now.

Georgia Ag leaders predict average yields of 140 bushels of corn per acre this year, 25 more than last year. Georgia's corn crop could be worth nearly 80 million dollars this year.

posted at 2:33 PM by jimw@walb.com

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