Rain could affect GA peanut harvesting - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Rain could affect GA peanut harvesting

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LOWNDES COUNTY, GA (WALB) -

South Georgia peanut farmers may be watching the weather closer than usual right now.

Potentially heavy rain could hurt some already waterlogged fields, and that could delay the harvest.

Drought isn't a word in this peanut farmer's vocabulary this year. Wes Shannon's Lowndes County farm is drowning in some areas and the conditions may get even worse.

"We have never had this much rain in a summer and I'm 53 years old, and I've never recalled a summer that's been this wet," said Shannon.

With 2 to 4 inches of rain expected this weekend Shannon worries by the end of the season he won't be able to harvest his good crops. "The fear is getting wet and not being able to harvest, our equipment bogging down, and not being able to harvest when we should."

Thursday 150 visitors from all of the country visited Shannon's farm as part of the 27th annual Georgia Peanut Tour. Visitors here got a look at the problems excess water can do to a crop. Last year the U.S. peanut industry hit a record high, producing a 3-million ton crop.

This year they're expecting the production to be much less. But the Chairman of the Georgia Peanut Tour, Chris Butts, says that's okay. "We've got a lot of carry over from the 2012 crop that still has to be processed and sold."

For now Butts says it's just a waiting game until the peanuts are ready to be harvested. "Since peanuts are produced underground you don't know what you've got until you turn them up."

Farmers are hoping to hit an average crop of 2-million tons this season, but if heavy rains continue to fall that number could fall too.

Officials fear soil-borne diseases could also reduce yields.

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