While some areas in and around Bulloch County have been blessed with ample rainfall this summer, others remain dry. The shortage of rain paired with intense heat over the stretch of several days can wreak havoc on local crops, according to Bulloch County Agriculture Extension Agent Bill Tyson.
“We have areas that have been getting some showers and other areas that have had none. We need some timely rain,” he said.
This is an important time of year for many summer crops — especially soybeans, cotton and peanuts, he said.
“We’ve got a good bit of cotton squaring to set bolls, peanuts pegging and setting pods, and this is a critical time for moisture.”
Afternoon thunderstorms bring the needed water, but they are “spotty” and often miss areas that need them, Tyson said.
“It is pretty dry near Highway 301 and Interstate 16, and near the Leefield and Stilson areas.”
Overall, Tyson said, the Bulloch County corn crop looks favorable, especially irrigated corn. Dryland corn is expected to have a good yield as well because of cooler temperatures early in the season and adequate rainfall, he said.
“According to when it was planted, it looks to be a good crop,” he said. “Weather early on stayed cool, and we were getting rain — that was corn weather.”
But the intense sun, temperatures regularly soaring into triple digits and high heat indices take a toll.
“Soybeans are starting to bloom and will be setting pods soon,” Tyson said. “We need rain. With this hot weather, we can only go so many days without rainfall or it might have a negative impact on yield. ”
The hay crop is looking very good, however, as the hot weather is ideal for cutting and baling.
“A good bit has been cut,” he said. “But we have to have the water to make it.”
The fresh produce season is almost over, and most of that is irrigated, so hot, dry weather has not affected those crops much, Tyson said.
However, both hot and wet conditions breed diseases that also could affect the crops. Peanuts are susceptible to white rot and stem mold, and if corn has not been sprayed to prevent it, corn rust can occur, he said.
If rainfall continues and dry areas get some moisture, the crops this year should be good, Tyson said.
“We need to continue to get good rain with the heat we have, and we’ll be fine,” he said. “Remember, in Bulloch County, we are never more than two weeks away from a drought.”
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon maybe reached at (912) 489-9414.