Extension ANR Agent
Rain, rain, and more rain.
This is what most of us have felt like over the past few weeks, and we are also wondering how is it time to cut the grass again. The rain has probably even ended the family bbq or pool party a little early a time or two.
So how is the rain effecting our crops and our farmers?
Well, it depends on the crop and the grower. Some crops are really benefiting from the rain right now, but if it continues raining, there could be complications down the road when harvest arrives.
Take corn for instance. It requires a good bit of water, so it is enjoying the rain. However, a good bit of the corn crop should be mature by the end of this month and continued rains could cause complications during harvest.
The corn, soybean, cotton, peanut and pecan crops look really good in the field right now and have really benefited from the rains up until this point.
If we can get a good mix of sunshine and rain showers for the rest of the season, growers could end up with a really good crop this year, but the turning point could be just ahead if rain continues every day.
Peanut vines are beginning to close up the row middles. When this happens, it becomes harder for the peanut vines to dry, and when the vines stay wet for an excessive period of time this can encourage diseases to grow.
Normally growers spray preventative sprays to protect against pest and disease, but if it is too wet, growers can have trouble getting the crop protectants on in a timely fashion.
The same type of affect translates over to cotton as well. When a cotton plant reaches a certain size, growers spray it with a growth regulator to encourage the plant to put energy into make bolls instead of growing a bush.
This needs to be applied several times for it to work, so growers needto be able to spray over the crop without bogging down all the time. Larger plants also take longer to dry and any time excessive moisture is present, it is usually followed by some kind of disease.
Too many overcast days during bloom can also cause fruit shed, which lowers overall yield potential in cotton.
Cattle producers are thrilled with the amount of grass they have in their pastures. The cows pretty much have all they want to eat; however, trying to harvest hay fields for winter feed reserves is pretty difficult right now.
Hay needs to be dry when it is baled up or it will mold and ruin. Hay usually needs a good day or two to dry depending on conditions, but when it stays cloudy until lunchtime with 100 percent humidity, not much drying occurs. Then when afternoon rain showers are added to the mix, it makes harvesting hay very difficult.
Tobacco growers are also having a hard time getting their crop picked. The season started off looking like it was going to be a great year on tobacco, but heavy rains have washed away most of the nutrients.
Tobacco doesn’t like a lot of water, and the daily rain showers also makes it difficult to cure in the barn, producing a low-quality product.
It has been challenging this year for growers so far, especially since it got dry at the end of planting season and then the weather took a complete 180-degree turn on growers who were then trying to find fields that were dry enough to work in for the day due to heavy rains.
The Candler County farmers have the privilege this year to have hope for a good crop. There have been crop years where at this point in the season all hope was lost. Corn would be twisted, peanuts were white and never closed the rows, cows were hungry from drought, and cotton was 12 inches tall; however, the overall outlook on the crop right now is really encouraging.