South Georgia crops damaged by freeze - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

South Georgia crops damaged by freeze

April 9, 2007

Echols County - Each year, farmers in Echols County take a gamble and plant many of their crops early to be the first at market.

"As a week of two goes by, sometimes a matter of days other peoples produce will hit the market and that's when the price will go low," explains Josh Mayfield, Echols County Extension Coordinator.

This year, that gamble did not pay off.  "These look bad," he says over looking a string bean field.

A weekend freeze damaged hundreds of Acers of crops in the county and throughout South Georgia.  "When a freeze damage happens like this it can be significant with some of these crops being able to make it to market on time."

Missing that market window are bean and squash farmers. Many of their early yields wilted in the cold.  But with several buds, they'll still be able to catch up and cash in.  "But now down here if you look at the base, you've got new growth and in a week or two will get caught up."

But corn farmers may not be so lucky.  Having only one bud, any damage they received could be permanent.  "We've pulled up some plants, we've tried to see if there's any damage.  Some of the ones we looked at have no damage, some of the ones have a little bit of freeze damage."

It will be over a week before the corn farmers can take stock of their total loss. Until then, they'll watch the weather and wait, praying for sun and a swift recovery.

If the corn is destroyed, farmers will still have time to replant, and cash in on the season.

Brooks County is also assessing damage to corn, wheat, and peaches. They hope to know the crops status by Wednesday.

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