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Too much of a good thing

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July 20, 2005

Lee County-- Southwest Georgia farmers often say if they get rain, they can raise some of the top crops anywhere. But this summer farmers are concerned they could lose a significant part of their crops, because of too much rain.

Dozens of acres of soybeans and peanuts are underwater, as the Mule Pond in Northern Lee County overflows. Heavy rains are drowning much of the County's crops.

U.S.D.A. Lee County Director Hank Hammond says "We've estimated about five percent of our crops are currently underwater right now."

Hammond says he has never seen water stand in fields this long. "Right now this water is just staying here. It's not going anywhere, so our crops continue to stay submerged," said Hammond.

Tropical storm and hurricane rains this summer are not running off, and no one knows if these covered fields can be saved. "There is a possibility that some of these crops could still pull through, if the water recedes."

All across Lee County, even with standing water in their fields, farmers are spraying their crops, battling disease and bugs brought on by the excess rain.

Hammond said "We have had a great deal of disease pressure on the crops as well, and that's kept our folks busy out in the fields trying to keep their crops sprayed."

Corn is one crop helped by all the moisture. Hammond says Hurricane Dennis' winds did little damage to the stalks, and the corn crop looks excellent now. But many farmers watch the standing water in their fields, hoping to save some of their cotton and peanuts, now underwater.

Farmers are saving money when they don't have to run their irrigation machines. But the extra pesticides and herbicides they are having to spray is costing them even more.

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