Relief in sight for farmers impacted by drought

Relief in sight for farmers impacted by drought
Doug Collins (Source: WALB)
Doug Collins (Source: WALB)

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Some relief may finally be in sight after one of the worst droughts in southwest Georgia, but 62 days of no rain has already had a devastating impact on agriculture.

Dry conditions have hurt some crops, but experts say its still about balance. Lee County Agriculture Specialist Agent Doug Collins said farmers have been waiting on rain for a long time, but too much could have a negative impact.

An ideal rainfall for agriculture would be a couple of inches over the next few days. Collins said with some farmers already harvesting their crops, too much rain could cause problems.

"A little bit of rain will be fine, it'll control dust. But if it rains too long and we get too much rain, it'll delay the cotton harvest as well as the pecan harvest," Collins said.

The drought's impact could still linger into spring. Without rain, some trees and shrubs in homeowner yards have already died off. In spring, some of those won't come out, and lawns will have thinner stems because of the fall drought.

Cow producers are among those suffering the most in dry conditions. Without rain, their farms have seen a lack of forage which isn't good for winter grazing. Deer hunters have also seen problems with their small grain refusing to come up in their deer plots.

"Our cattle farmers particularly need this rain to get winter grazing going. Cattle I'm sure are suffering. Deer hunters have not been able to get their feed plots up so rain is really needed right now," explained Collins.

Collins said that the possible rain may be a little too late for some. Most fall harvests have already ended, and farmers have already made adjustments for winter grazing. The rain is needed though to reduce the drought's impact on future growing seasons.

"If we didn't get rain, the soil would be dry, our aquifers would be depleted and we would be in a really bad fix going into spring," Collins said.

Those interested can keep an eye on the conditions at the state's Drought Monitor website.

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