Farmers sweat the rain and their fall crops - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Farmers sweat the rain and their fall crops

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Harts field farmer Thomas Coleman overlooks his cotton field as tropical storm Karen moves in Harts field farmer Thomas Coleman overlooks his cotton field as tropical storm Karen moves in
Thomas Coleman's growing field of Sorghum at his farm in Harts field, GA Thomas Coleman's growing field of Sorghum at his farm in Harts field, GA
Thomas Coleman, South Georgia Farmer Thomas Coleman, South Georgia Farmer
A potential path of Tropical Storm Karen, which would move through southwest Georgia A potential path of Tropical Storm Karen, which would move through southwest Georgia
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HARTSFIELD, GA (WALB) -

Tropical storm Karen is threatening many South Georgia growers in the middle of harvest season. The unusually wet weather has forced many growers to replant crops after fields were flooded earlier this year.

Others were delayed during planting season, and say more rain and possible winds could harm ripe commodities coming from plants with shallow root structures.

Recent dry weather has been welcome relief to farmers harvesting peanuts, but those getting ready to dig up crops worry what more rain could mean to their bottom line.

"You'll see a few stocks out here now that's maybe a different variety, but that's about as tall as they'll get," said Thomas Coleman, a South Georgia Farmer, as he looks over his growing sorghum with care.

But severe weather could damage the crop used to feed livestock before it's harvested next month.

"If a good wind comes through and blows that sorghum over, since it's planted real thick so we could make a lot of tonnage out of it...if the wind blows it over then it's just ruined 'cause we can't harvest it.  We don't have machinery to pick it up," said Coleman. 

Tropical storm Karen is edging its way to land and is threatening many crops in South Georgia following an unusually wet growing season.

"Definitely the root structure is shallower than it has been because it's rotted off.  Once the ground stays wet for a certain period of time, the roots are gonna start rotting," Coleman said. 

Coleman worries his growing cotton and peanuts may have been compromised.

"I really don't think this year's crop is as good as last year's was," said Coleman.  "And you would think just the opposite, but I'm not harvesting any peanuts or cotton, but just walking through the fields and looking at them."

He just finished harvesting hay in anticipation of the storm and is working to minimize damage to his other crops.

"We've been trying to get our Bermuda grass under control and harvested in and out of the weather so we can start next week in peanuts and cotton, and we won't have to worry with trying to do so many things at one time," said Coleman.   

And with a little luck, his crops will stand strong as Karen moves in. 

Coleman said he hasn't suffered any significant loses so far this year despite weather delays.  He said shorter fall days are posing another challenge as his workers are out in the fields. 

Coleman also said excess moisture during peanut harvests can tear up equipment in addition to harming crops.

 

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