Farm Progress

Wet weather helps and hurts Southeast farmers, as peanut and cotton planting finishes up in some locations or ekes forward in others as soggy conditions stop farmers from getting into their fields.

Brad Haire, Executive Editor

May 21, 2014

3 Min Read
<p>GEORGIA PEANUT PLANTING as rainclouds loom.</p>

Rain returned to parts of the Southeast last week. Farmers raced to get peanuts and cotton in the ground. Though many were hit with more delays, peanut and cotton planting marched on and made some good progress in some places.

Georgia cotton farmers had to kick it into the high gears as they hit May’s mid-mark. Planting pace made a comeback and the cotton crop is now half planted in the state, which is about right as far as timing. Peanut planting over the state made ground, too, with half of the crop planted as of May 17, according the Georgia Agricultural Statistics Service.

“Some farmers worked 16-plus-hour days to plant before rain moved in (to the region May 14),” said Doug Collins, Universiyt of Georgia Extension agent in Lee County, located in southwest Georgia.

The Georgia corn crop is riding in the fair-to-middling stage with about 90 percent of it in fair to good shape, according the GASS report.

But unusually wet conditions continue to be the driving topic for the state’s farmers.

“Rain amounts last week ranged from a little to a lot. Cotton and peanut planting is behind compared to years past. Wheat crop seems a little behind. Crazy weather has not been good for vegetable production,” said Jeremy Kichler, UGA Extension agent in Colquitt County, located in southwest Georgia.

Alabama behind normal pace

Cotton and peanut planting remain behind normal in Alabama. A third of the peanut crop was planted as of last week. Normal pace would have near half the crop in the ground by then. Half the cotton crop is planted now but normally closer to three-fourths of the crop is in the ground at this time. About 90 percent of the corn crop as of now is considered in fair to good condition.

Some parts of Alabama are doing pretty good, and the rain last week came at a good time.

“Our corn received a much needed rain this week. Cotton planting was finished. Wheat is looking good and showing signs of maturing,” Tim Malone, FSA CED located in the northwest part of the state, told the Alabama Ag Statistics Service.

But lower Alabama didn’t need more rain, and farmers look for an open window of good, dry weather to get back on track.

“Continuous heavy rainfall has made planting conditions very difficult. The open forecasts for the next two weeks have farmers eager to enter the fields and plant. We should finally be able to cover some significant acreage in the next 10-14 days,” Brandon Dillard, southeast regional Alabama Cooperative Extension agent, said in the May 19 report.

“Monroe County received 5 to 8 inches of rain since last Friday (May 16). Producers are unable to get in the field, causing delayed planting for cotton, peanuts and soybeans,” said Karen McDonald, the Farm Service Agency CED in Monroe County, Alabama.

Near the South Carolina coast in Georgetown County, FSA coordinator Kyle Daniel says timely rains now helping area farmers.

“Between 1.5 and 2 inches of rain fell last Thursday (May 15), which was almost perfect considering forecast were for heavy rain in areas. There are reports of areas 15-20 miles west of here in lower Florence County and Marion County that received 7 inches. Overall, crops look good. Tobacco and corn are growing off fairly well. Peanuts, cotton and soybeans are just coming up in areas. Producers should finish planting cotton by the end of the week. The wheat crop is looking strong and yields could average fairly high,” he told the South Carolina Agricultural Statistics Service in a report May 19.

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