Lowndes County-- The recent rains have created a roadblock for South Georgia farmers. It's time for them to start planting this year's tobacco crop, but muddy fields have put things on hold for now.
"See how its clumping all together?" Fred Wetherington should be busy planting tobacco this week, but he can barely stand up in his fields, much less bring in heavy equipment to plant the crops. "We'd be knocking off the rows, and right behind that, we'd be transplanting the tobacco," said Wetherington.
"There's been so much rain, the ground is just saturated and water's standing in the fields," said Wetherington. This area of Lowndes County has seen between 8 and 10 inches of rain in the last week and a half. Wetherington planned to start planting tobacco last Monday, but soggy fields set him back a week. Now that soil is even messier. "We're going to be anywhere from 10 days to two weeks behind schedule."
With enough sunshine and warm weather, farmers may be able to get back in these fields as early as this weekend. But the least bit of rain could set them back another week. "The wind blowing today is definitely going to help dry out, and we just need some sunshine," said Wetherington.
If he can start planting before next week, Wetherington shouldn't suffer too much of a loss come harvest time. "Hopefully not, if we're talking a week or two delay its not going to be too much," said Wetherington. So for now he'll wait, watch and pray that the sunshine will hang around long enough to dry up the fields. "The Good Lord above is in charge of when we're going to be planting," Wetherington said.
Fred Wetherington says despite the delay in planting, he's glad he didn't have plants in the ground when the severe weather came through last week because most of the crops would've been destroyed.