Farmers battle bugs with airborne weapons - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Farmers battle bugs with airborne weapons

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South Georgia farmers are grateful for the recent rain, but with it comes other problems for their crops.

The moisture keeps the plants alive, but it also helps bugs and diseases breed.

So crop dusters have become vital for the farmers during this peak part of the growing season. And you will see lots of the aerial applicators flying in South Georgia in the next weeks.

Farmers growing cotton, peanuts, and pecans are suddenly under attack from bugs and disease, brought on by the recent rains. So South Georgia crop dusters are busy fighting them.

Bruce Andrews of Bruce's Flying Service is in the air, because farmers need him now. "The next 30 to 60 days is going to be real important to us."

Andrews sprays the peanuts of McClendon Farms. "Worm pressure is just now starting to pick up a little bit."

Because the rain has brought out those worms. So Andrews can be seen zooming over South Georgia fields 7 days a week.

Andrews can spray about 250 acres per hour, because of the vast improvements to the planes and equipment in the last decade.

 "The airplanes are around 150 mph faster, plus the computers and flow controls and all the stuff is updated over the years has helped us be more efficient. And be better for the growers too," Andrews said.

Andrews is spraying fungicides and fertilizer, helping the crops that were planted late because of the drought, fight problems with bugs and disease as they catch up with the recent rains.

 "So they are going to look after this crop a lot more to get the most maximum yield they can get out of it."

Cotton and peanuts are bringing in record prices, so growers are calling on aerial applicators to keep them healthy in this vital growing time.

During drought periods, the crop duster is not needed as much. Andrews says he has already flown more this year than he did all last season, and his next month should be really busy.

Andrews Service is also flying crop dusters in Nebraska, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

 Crop dusters are built in Southwest Georgia.  The Maule plant is in Moultrie, and Thrush Aircraft is located in Albany.

 

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