Some crops flattened by hail -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Some crops flattened by hail

May 15, 2006

Worth County -- A number of Southwest Georgia farmers spent the day evaluating hail damage to their crops. The Sunday afternoon hail and wind storm ruined crops in several counties. Now farmers are trying to decide if they can replant.

Stacy Jones' farm, north of Isabella in Worth County, suffered some of the heaviest hail damage. About 50 acres of cotton, planted two weeks ago, is smashed.

Worth County extension agent Rusty Harris said "In this small streak through the county here, I think we have a one hundred percent loss."

The young cotton plants should have large leaves on the top, but the hail and wind smashed the plants, and could not make a quality crop. Now farmers have to replant.

"We're early enough in the season now to where we can replant, and we really won't know the difference come October when it's time to pick it," Harris said.

In the next field, two acres of watermelon plants are a complete loss-- smashed into the mud. "The watermelons are done in this field, there will not be a crop," said Harris.

There was also grain sorghum plants, even some peanuts, that were damaged by the heavy hail. The storm cut across Worth County to the east. Extension Agent Harris spent the day fielding calls from farmers asking for an inspection of their crops. Most have disaster insurance. "They'll never recover what they would have if they were able to take it to harvest and sell it at the market."

Extension agents in Lee and Terrell County also fielded calls from farmers with crop hail damage, and were inspecting them. Many Southwest Georgia farmers are planting peanuts now, but some may need to go back and replant cotton now, in hopes of having a crop this season.

Harris estimated the damage he had seen this afternoon at $15,000, but he thought he would hear from more Worth County farmers as the afternoon went on.