Drought threatens South GA farmers as planting begins

Drought threatens South GA farmers as planting begins

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Drought could cause big issues for crops this year if the weather does not give farmers a break soon.

Irrigation specialists said normal heat and well distributed rain could prevent a lot of problems.

"It's been hot and dry," UGA specialist Wes Porter said. "Its not guaranteed that we're going to catch that rainfall in a day or two."

Two big reasons farmers could have a tough road ahead of them this year.

"It really turned into hot weather early this year," Porter said. "We thought we recovered. All of a sudden, we're in pretty extreme drought or what feels to be pretty extreme draught moving into the production season this year."

A warmer than normal winter, coupled with a recent spike in temperatures and lack of rain has growers irrigating as planting begins.

"In this case, more of an insurance policy to make sure we get this crop up and going," Porter said.

Farmers were hoping to recoup moisture after a long drought last season.

"If they don't, if they are on irrigated fields, you're going to see a lot of pre-watered crops and, if its on dry land you're going to see them wait to catch that moisture from the environment," Porter said.

That's because timing, during the development phases of many crops, is critical.

" You can either overwater a crop or underwater a crop," Porter said. "So, the timing of those events and utilizing one of those scheduling methods is very crucial. We can see very significant yield losses."

A fate farmers hope a little water will keep from becoming a reality.

Experts suggest growers stay on top of their irrigation schedules. They said you can even do that with apps now.

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