Georgia farmers have less room for error in 2022

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Published: Feb. 9, 2022 at 7:08 PM EST
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Research professionals gathered in Tifton to discuss new technology that will make farmers more efficient.

With pesticides now costing three times more than what they did last year every penny matters.

More than $800,000 was allotted by Georgia peanuts.

For this research, they research everything from new fertilizers to new irrigation. All of this is to decrease the risk for farmers for this upcoming growing season but unfortunately, I’m told not all of this gets passed on to the consumer.

‘‘So when there’s something that comes out that is useful to farmers but benefits the entire industry,” says Chase Donald, a research professional from the University of Georgia.

The consumers might not feel it. That’s because the costs are not in their hands and sometimes they’re determined before the season even starts

“A big cost item are fungicides because we live in a place where it’s warm and muggy. "

More heat equals more money used for fungicides. But if they’re more efficient, fewer costs will go into fungicides for peanuts.

“I’m confident that we have more resistance in those peanut varieties that will help us reduce our fungicide needs.”

That was one positive outlook from today. But for cotton farmers, the cost may be too high. Cotton farms usually have higher costs.

“I’m scared to lock in cotton right now because the input costs are still so uncertain,” says Scotty Raines, a farmer in Turner County.

Scotty Raines plans on continuing to diversify his crops even if it means less profits.
Scotty Raines plans on continuing to diversify his crops even if it means less profits.(WALB)

He doesn’t want plant peanuts which are usually more profitable because they’d be out of rotation. Crops out of rotation are usually of lesser quality. That’s partly why he won farmer of the year in 2022.

Raines said that he grows watermelon, corn, peanuts, and cotton on his farm. This is to ensure his quality is amongst the best.

So if the new technology doesn’t come this year, he’ll have to cut corners

“We’re going to try to keep our enhancements down, we’re going to out some chemicals products. We might try to cut out some passes through the fields. And hopefully will monitor our irrigation use and save some money that way.”

And it’s not just fungicides and pesticides that increase costs.

“A large tractor was $35,000. That was a lot of money then now a large tractor is $315,000.″

That is since the 90s. He tells me that the cotton price hasn’t met the relative price increase from his input costs and expenses.

“No smart man will invest that much money for such a small return.”

That’s because, according to Scotty Raines, you have to love your land and your farm.

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