Harvest time for cotton farmers - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Harvest time for cotton farmers

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October 18, 2005

Lowndes County - It's harvest time for cotton farmer Kevin Swilley, and this year's crop is looking pretty good.

Cotton needs plenty of rainfall when its first planted, followed by dry, hot weather as it blooms. And for the most part, that's just what mother nature provided. "We've ended up pretty fortunate, weather wise," said Swilley.

A little bit of wet weather in late September set harvesting back. "We were just sitting there twiddling our thumbs for about a week," said Swilley.

But luckily that delay didn't have a negative affect on the crop. Swilley gives it a rating of good to above average. And while that may not be perfect, its better than farmers have seen in the last couple of years.

Wind and rain from last year's hurricanes knocked a lot of the Swilleys' cotton to the ground and left it soaking wet, but this year, they got lucky. "The last couple of storms that came through, we just got some wind off of it and it didn't hurt us too bad, but hurricanes can be pretty devastating with high winds and heavy rain," said Swilley.

Hopefully, they can dodge the bullet again with Hurricane Wilma. "We're kind of crossing our fingers, watching this other one out in the Gulf and hoping we can steer clear of it," said Swilley.

Watching the weather and working quickly, to get their crops out of the field before their luck can change.

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