Too much rain, crops ruined - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Too much rain, crops ruined

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October 9, 2002

Seminole County - Tropical Storm Hanna is long gone, but South Georgia farmers are still cleaning up rain soaked fields.  Seminole County farmer, Mark Hanna, explains, "We had fields not flooded per say, but so much rain, we're unable to walk across the field."

Cotton and peanut crops in Seminole County are ruined because of too much rain in a short period of time.  Hanna's flash floods on September 15th put crops underwater. Almost a month later, farmers are still trying to salvage what they can. 

Rain is good for peanuts and cotton during growing season, but harmful when it's time to harvest. Many Seminole County fields recieved more than twenty inches of rain in two weeks.

Peanut farmers in Seminole County are trying to stay above water. Hanna says, "These peanuts are a forty percent loss. These peanuts, not dug of course, a 100 percent loss. Let's see, it's three and a half weeks after flood, still to wet to get into that field."

Tropical Storm Hanna made Mark Hanna's peanuts a tangled mess. He explains, "They were wet when we dug them, so that's where you have the dirt." The peanuts were ready to harvest weeks ago, but the saturated soil is causing major problems.  The stems just give away. It's time for the peanuts to get out, but they just deteriorate. 

Cotton crop in Seminole County was also hit hard by too much rain at the wrong time. Burs and cotton are rotten by continued rainfall. Seminole County Extension Agent, Rome Ethredge, "What we're seeing a lot now, you try to pick cotton, bur wet and dry so many times, burs rotten. When spindle touches plant, it falls to the ground."

This is the worst they've seen in Seminole County during harvest time. Hanna says, "The flood of 1994, 700 acres completly lost. I can't say I'm over it yet."

While peanuts and cotton try to dry out, millions of dollars are already down the drain.  Seminole County extension agents are estimating peanut crop damage will cost farmers three to four million dollar. Cotton losses could add up to a couple of million dollars.

posted at 6:09PM by kathryn.simmons@walb.com