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7 more days of rain likely
Local farmers pray for sunshine
weather
Lloyd Strickland examines some ready-to-be-harvested peaches being grown for his produce stand which have contracted fungal disease due the the recent wet weather. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

While some area farmers may have danced with joy a few weeks ago when significant rainfall headed off an impending drought, today they are praying for a little sunshine.

With some areas of Bulloch and surrounding counties getting in excess of 6 inches of rainfall over the past few days, farmers are finding it hard to get into their fields to plant and put out fertilizer, herbicides and fungicides. Others are having problems with crops such as carrots, squash and peaches going bad because of too much moisture.

Wallie Waters of Fairview Farms Inc. in Candler County tossed away huge mounds of yellow crookneck squash last week, unshippable due to oversaturation and the beginnings of rot.

“Corn loves it,” he said, adding that he also raises field corn and peas. “But squash is almost all water anyway.”

Even the smallest brown spot renders a squash unable to be sold, as the spot quickly grows to mold and rot, he said. Waters sells some produce locally but ships most of his vegetables to Metter Farm Market and J&S Produce in Mt. Vernon, where it is shipped elsewhere.

Lloyd Strickland of Strickland Produce near Brooklet said his area hasn’t been as wet as some.

“We haven’t lost a lot yet,” but he did lose peaches that molded on the tree due to too much rain.

However, the heavy rain has made it impossible to “get into the fields to do the work,” he said.

Weed control and even harvesting is hard to do when the ground is too saturated to hold a human’s weight, much less a tractor.

Bulloch County farmer Wade Hodges feels the pain as well.

“We’re way behind (with planting) cotton and peanuts,” he said Tuesday. “I hope it will fair off.”

The rain has been a blessing to crops, especially corn, but “we need some sunshine. If the sun would just come out, we’re hoping to be able to run (tractors in the fields) Wednesday,” he said.

Bulloch County Extension Agent Bill Tyson said the biggest challenge farmers face right now is getting into the fields to plant. Corn and hay crops at this stage are thriving, but many other crops aren’t even in the ground yet.

In addition to being too wet to plant, the weather creates conditions “ideal for diseases,” he said.

Seedling disease is one blight that could affect newly planted cotton.

“Once it is planted, there is nothing you can do for it,” he said.

Bulloch County Public Safety Director Ted Wynn said some parts of Bulloch County reported receiving 5 to 6 inches of rain. Strickland said he heard reports of much more than that falling in northern Bulloch County.

“We’d like to get some sunshine so we can put in crops,” Tyson said. “It would be nice to be able to keep this rain in our back pocket through the summer.”

The National Weather Service predicts a chance of daily showers through the next seven days for the Statesboro area.

 

Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.

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