Dry-land crops may be lost without rain - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Dry-land crops may be lost without rain

Dry-land crops are in danger (WALB image) Dry-land crops are in danger (WALB image)
Don Koehler (WALB image) Don Koehler (WALB image)
Peanuts need a good soaking rain (WALB image) Peanuts need a good soaking rain (WALB image)
Peanut farmer Neil Lee (WALB image) Peanut farmer Neil Lee (WALB image)
Irrigation costs money, and pulls water from the aquifer (WALB image) Irrigation costs money, and pulls water from the aquifer (WALB image)
SMITHVILLE, GA (WALB) -

It has been abnormally dry this month, causing peanut farmers across South Georgia to worry about the toll the drought is taking on the 2016 peanut crop.

A big center pivot irrigation is running in a Lee County peanut field, but not every field has that luxury. "I learned a long time ago to never say something was the worst, but this is one of the worst at this point in the crop," said Don Koehler, Executive Director of the Georgia Peanut Commission.

Lack of rainfall this summer has taken a toll on this year's peanut crop, especially fields without irrigation. "This farmer has done everything that he can do, with the things he's able to do. The one thing that he can't do, is change the weather," said Koehler.

This rain gauge is dry, and many others across South Georgia, and that concerns farmers. Koehler says that with the soil as hard as it is, since it's dried out, it's hard for the peanut plants to come up."

You can see a vast difference between peanut crops that are irrigated, and those that aren't. For fields that are irrigated, farmers are forced to use more water, driving up costs.

"The cost of the seed and chemicals are already out here. If we don't get rain, then we won't make a crop," said peanut farmer Neil Lee.

"If we can get some general rainfall, we can turn it around. If not, some of those crops will make very few peanuts, if even making enough to harvest," said Koehler.

With this concern on many South Georgia farmer's minds, Koehler says there's only one thing we can do to help. "South Georgia folks are people of prayer. Certainly when you're saying your prayers at night, we hope folks keep the farmers in mind," said Koehler.

With Scattered showers in the forecast, peanut farmers all across South Georgia are hoping one of those dark clouds comes over their fields.

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