Some get rain, others go dry - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Some get rain, others go dry

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While some south Georgia communities got soaked Thursday night, others were left dry.

Farmers were left disappointed in Lee County where water use has spiked this month because of a lack of rain.

Lee County was the biggest loser last night. A line from Putney to Sylvester to Ashburn to Rochelle was the big winner, getting as much as three to four inches of rain, leaving farmers in Lee County to run the irrigation pivots again Friday.

Irrigation pivots were running in Lee County fields again today despite yesterday's showers. That's because the map says it all, other than a few rain drops Lee County was left out of any substantial rainfall, just when they needed it the most.

"I've heard of some wells that are already drying out or drying up. I talked to a farmer this week who irrigates out of a pond and he was sucking up mud," said UGA-Extension Agent Doug Collins.

In fact many residents may notice air bubbles or some sputtering when they turn on the faucet, because even the county's water supply is having a tough time keeping up with the use. It's up 60 percent for the month of May. Irrigation is also costing farmers.

"Diesel prices have gone through the roof and even if you've got an electric systems it's still expensive," said Collins.

But it's a must during critical times for crops. "If you take a guy's crops away from him, then he's not in business next year, that doesn't work that way so that's the dilemma we have managing agricultural demand is a very difficult thing.

The dry weather has already taken a toll on some. "I think we've already got some dry land corn that's too far gone to help, but rain right now would be fantastic on our pastures, it would be great for peanuts and cotton," Doug Wilson of the Georgia Water Planning & Policy Center.

Farmers trying to get the next crop in the field are struggling the most, you need some soil moisture to get the seed to germinate, and many farmers who can't irrigate may simply have to leave the field empty this growing cycle. 

May is typically one of the driest months in Georgia. There is little hope for near-term drought relief.

The only hope for widespread drought relief will be from a tropical weather system. They typically don't occur until late summer.