Storm gives Worth County cotton crop a beating - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Storm gives Worth County cotton crop a beating

September 08, 2004

Albany -- Most Georgia farmers escaped catastrophic damage from Tropical storm Frances. Still, damage is bad enough that state agriculture officials are hoping to get federal disaster aid.

The gusty winds and heavy rains of Tropical Storm Frances may be just a memory in Worth County now, but the damage it did to their cotton crops is not.

"They are going to give the farmer a lower grade for that yellow color," says Rusty Harris, Extension Agent for Worth County, as he points to a damaged cotton plant.

Frances flattened many crop fields. But overall cotton was the hardest hit.

A large portion of what was suppose to be a good year's yield is either badly damaged or lying on the ground.

"This is a rough estimate but I'm going to say that 50 to 100 pounds per acre has been lost in the county wide yield because of the rain," says Harris.

Before Frances, farmer Gene Patterson was just a week away from harvesting his now battered cotton fields. Today he's concerned about the price he'll get at sale.

"The grade is definitely going to be hurt. I'm sure it will never get the grade as good as it could have," says Patterson.

Farmers would usually get about $300 per bail of cotton, but now because of the cotton exposure to winds and rains from Frances they expect that number to drop to about $200 per bail.

Now as these farmers recover all they can do is hope that Ivan heads in another direction. 

"We don't need another one the impact would be to strong,"says Patterson.

An impact farmers are hoping they wouldn't have to soon face. 

Damage from Frances is especially bad for cotton farmers already hurt by predictions of a low quality crop this year.

posted at 6:03PM by scott.hunter@walb.com

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