Farmers suffer from freezing temperatures - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Farmers suffer from freezing temperatures

Sweet corn farmers replanted on Tuesday. (Source: WALB) Sweet corn farmers replanted on Tuesday. (Source: WALB)
Blueberries have rotted. (Source: WALB) Blueberries have rotted. (Source: WALB)
Ray Bishop is a sweet corn farmer. (Source: WALB) Ray Bishop is a sweet corn farmer. (Source: WALB)
Doyle Singleton is a agricultural consultant. (Source: WALB) Doyle Singleton is a agricultural consultant. (Source: WALB)
This sweet corn was supposed to be ready for Memorial Day. (Source: WALB) This sweet corn was supposed to be ready for Memorial Day. (Source: WALB)
MITCHELL CO., GA (WALB) -

It's a harsh reality for many South Georgia farmers, how to move forward after last week's freeze destroyed thousands of acres of sweet corn and wiped out their entire blueberry crop.

Georgia was expected to be the top blueberry producing state this year. 

That will no longer be the reality.

But that's not all. Farmers also lost all the sweet corn they were supposed to have ready for memorial day. 

On Tuesday, a Hopeful, GA farmer was busy planting today, hopeful to get back on his feet after last week's frost destroyed 60 acres of sweetcorn.

"In 25 years, it's probably the worst hit we've ever had," said Ray Bishop, shaking his head as he looked at the losses.

Bishop's corn was on track to be ready by Memorial Day.

"It was pretty, good in stands, good in color. It was nice," said Bishop.

But when temperatures dropped below 30 for hours and hours, it left his crop lying dead on the dirt.

Now, he's replanting, optimistic he'll be able to grow more, just much later than planned. 

Several miles down the road, it's even a worse story; a blueberry field has no hope until next year.

"The blueberry crop is terrible." 

Agricultural Consultant Doyle Singleton said the frost hurt farmers in this area hard.

The annual blueberry farm gate value in Georgia is more than $255 million.

"It's a very expensive crop to manAge and it's not really forgivable," said Singleton.

The blueberries cost a farmer roughly $22,000 an acre to plant.

You don't have to do the math to say the hit is a big one.

But despite all the loss, there's one glimmer of hope.

The bushes weren't destroyed, just the berries.

The berries will likely grow back next year.

"We are just hoping the berries will fall off. We hope we can keep fungicides on it, keep botrytis down," said Singleton.

Farmers said they did everything they could have. The weather is just simply out of their control.

"What makes the world go around in our area is Ag. The economy really depends on the ag and when something like this happens, it just affects everybody," sighed Singleton.

On top of the tough loss of their crops, for many South Georgia farmers, insurance isn't an option.

In order to qualify you must have three years of a good season.

For many farmers here, this would have been there third.

Copyright 2017 WALB. All rights reserved. 

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