Rain hurts hay farmers' yields - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Rain hurts hay farmers' yields

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August 17, 2005

Lowndes County - Jesse Parker is scrambling to cut all the hay he can while it's still dry. "You need five days to a week stretch of good, hot dry weather," said Parker.

But instead, he's seen two weeks of afternoon thunderstorms. Not only has the rain kept him out of the fields, its also caused disease in the hay. "This field here has got rust and leaf spot in it," said Parker.

Parker's hay would ideally look fluffy and bright green, but instead, most of it is brown, dry, and tainted with rot. "Its caused from too much rain and too much humidity," said Parker.

Now all 50 acres of his field are a total loss. "I was sick, just sick, this is the biggest field that I have," said Parker.

Parker's barn is usually overflowing with hay this time of year, but because of all the rain we've seen lately, its less than half full. "You just try to hit it in between and sometimes you get it up, sometimes you don't," said Parker.

Parker says he'll only make about half of a crop this year and what hay he has been able to salvage isn't the best quality. That could cost him thousands of dollars. "I'll probably be looking at $30,000 to $40,000," said Parker.

But that's the gamble he takes as a farmer, and hopefully, he'll have better luck next year.

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