Threatened by another year of continued drought, farmers are relishing the timely relief that recent rains provided most of Georgia's major row crops. Overall, experts say this is the best crops have looked in three years.
Weed and disease control are the main issues facing peanut
farmers right now. But that's not necessarily bad, said John
Beasley, an Extension Service agronomist with the University of
Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
"Anytime those two situations occur early on in the season, it's
indicative of good growing conditions (for the crop)," Beasley
Disease, Weeds Sign
Disease pressure early in the season means the crop is getting
wet with rain, something farmers haven't had in great supply over
past few years, he said.
"The past week to 10 days, we've gotten a lot of rain," Beasley
said. "That has certainly helped growing conditions
According to the Georgia Agricultural Statistics Service, 96
percent of the peanut crop is in good to excellent condition.
Not every acre has had above-normal rainfall. But a good portion
of the peanut belt has gotten adequate to above-adequate rain.
The eastern part of the state hasn't had as much as the middle
and southwestern parts.
Most of the peanut crop was planted in mid-May. But early-season
dry weather forced some farmers to plant their crop later than
normal. Most of the crop, though, is growing at a good pace, he
"Right now, we're in better shape than we were at this time last
year," he said.
The rain has helped the crop recover from the earlier dry
conditions. But in a few weeks, most of the peanut crop will have
reached a stage of growth that requires the highest amount of
water. Then, fields will need about 2 inches of water each
Good for Corn, Bad
Overall, the corn crop is the best farmers have seen in the
past three years, particularly for dryland farmers, said Dewey
Lee, a UGA Extension Service grains scientist.
Georgia's corn crop was planted late because of heavy rainfall in
March. Despite the setback, the crop has grown at a steady pace,
The dryland crop was hurt by dry weather April and May, but
irrigated corn is in good shape, he said. About 94 percent of the
corn crop is in good to excellent condition.
Because corn was planted late, the recent rain has fallen at a
critical growth stage, Lee said.
"This rain has come at a time when the crop is about ready to go
through its reproductive stage of tasseling and silking," Lee
Some corn is in the early stages of kernel development, a time
when the corn plant needs extra water, he said. "This has been a
most timely rain."
Corn harvest will start in August.
Wheat farmers aren't as happy with the rain. Heavy rain has
interrupted the last part of the harvest and has reduced the
quality of the crop left in fields, Lee said.
Other Georgia crops, though, have benefitted from timely rain.
About 94 percent of the cotton and tobacco and 95 percent of the
pecan crop are in good to excellent condition.
Many farmers hope the rain their crops didn't use will find a way
to streams, ponds and groundwater to be used later in the season
for irrigation, Beasley said.
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