Drought offers SWGA farmers 'mixed bag' of concerns, potential benefits

Drought offers SWGA farmers 'mixed bag' of concerns, potential benefits
Commodity prices are low. (Source: WALB)
Doug Collins. (Source: WALB)
Doug Collins. (Source: WALB)
Farmers are facing low commodity prices. (Source: WALB)
Farmers are facing low commodity prices. (Source: WALB)

LEESBURG, GA (WALB) - Southwest Georgia is in a severe drought right now.

So, what does that mean for our farmers?

There is a surprising upside to this drought for some farmers.

Depending on the type of soil, these very dry conditions are making the winter work of tilling the ground, preparing it for spring planting, a little easier.

But, there is another stressor farmers are dealing with right now.

"People who are trying to grow winter crops, they are affected. Anyone that has wheat or other small grains, they are affected," said University of Georgia's Extension Coordinator in Lee County Doug Collins.

For those farmers not growing winter crops, Collins said the drought is "a mixed bag."

"In certain soil types and certain topography, it is great, because (farmers) can get into some low places and do some tillage operations there," explained Collins.

Collins said the thought that is really turning over in many farmers' minds is low prices.

"Commodity prices are low," said Collins about crops like cotton.

One danger of an extended drought is increasing irrigation expenses for farmers.

"Certainly (farmers) need adequate soil moisture to make a good crop. They can't afford to have a poor crop of soil with poor commodity prices," said Collins.

The hope is, of course, for the drought to subside when planting begins in a few months.

Corn typically goes in the ground first, but Collins said it is mostly irrigated.

Ground moisture will be needed for dryland crops like peanuts and cotton, which will begin going in the ground in April and May.

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