Drought affects golf courses, farmers - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Drought affects golf courses, farmers

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) - There's no relief in sight for the drought conditions now gripping the southern two-thirds of Georgia. In fact, the state climatologist says the drought will probably get worse at least through mid August.

Staff on the farm and on the green are fighting the expensive drought. Employees at Grand Island Golf Club are making sure they're watering the greens all night - 12 hours exactly. Spots they cant reach with sprinklers, they actually go out and water by hand. One employee says he hasn't seen drought conditions this bad in years.

Some of the 700 sprinklers at Grand Island Club are going strong during the day and at night. Irrigation tech Austin Lawton says he makes sure at least 12 are running at a time. They spew out 500 to 600 gallons per minute, but even then, it's almost not enough.

 "For May it's very unusual," said Lawton. "We've had dry spells but nothing this unusual. We're watering at 100% capacity right now."

That's also the case for farmers at Covey Rise Plantation. Peanut buying point operator Robin Singletary says it costs farmers about $10 to $15 an acre to irrigate, which is about $1,350 for roughly 90 acres of corn. The corn the water misses is no good.

"Corn that's not irrigated will be harder to sell,"said Singletary.

Rain is critical for the feed corn crop which farmers will harvest in August. Soon it will be just as vital for cotton and peanuts, which need rain before and after seeds are planted.

"We haven't had that in a long time," noted Singletary.

With river levels going down, and no rain expected anytime soon, sprinklers and irrigation systems will continue to work overtime.

To save money, some farmers are even moving to electricity to power their irrigation systems since the cost of diesel is so high.