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Rain helps get corn off to good start
Freeze in mid-March stunted fruit crops
Farmer Clint Finch keeps watch as an employee finishes planting a field of corn before heavy rains hit on Tuesday, April 5. The recent rainfall has helped get the local corn off to a good start, farmers say.
Farmer Clint Finch keeps watch as an employee finishes planting a field of corn before heavy rains hit on Tuesday, April 5. The recent rainfall has helped get the local corn off to a good start, farmers say.

Area farmers were happy to see recent rainfall, as corn planting season is underway and wheat crops are just getting started, said Bulloch County Agent Bill Tyson. 

As weather continues to warm, farmers are preparing fields. Corn is being planted now, while it will be a few weeks before peanuts and cotton will be put in the ground, he said. 

The fruit crop, however, might show some damage from cold snaps experienced in mid-March, Tyson said. “It definitely will affect citrus.” 

The freezing temperatures hit some peach, pear, berry and other fruit trees that were already blooming, damaging blooms that would have produced fruit, he said. 

But refreshing rains and increasing temperatures are expected to bring newly-planted corn to a good start. 

Bulloch County farmer Greg Sikes finished planting last week about 400 acres of corn in the Brooklet’s area, near Highway 46 area.  Having been farming for 25 years, Sikes said he “started from scratch” as opposed to growing up on a farm, which he admitted is unusual. 

“It has been very dry but we had some good rain (Thursday),” he said. “I was glad to see it. This weather pattern recently has been missing us.” 

Tyson said he will also be planting corn soon and is grateful for the rainfall.

“We are glad to get the rain. It has been on the drier side.”

Hopefully, more showers will come to help the area catch up to a normal moisture level, he said. 

Clint Finch, who farms in both Bulloch and Screven counties, is currently planting 200 acres of corn and is watching 125 acres of wheat coming up. The wheat has been under irrigation, but the rain helped, he said. “We had good moisture (from Thursday’s rain). The rain hit it perfect.” 

In another two or three weeks, he will begin planting cotton, Finch said.

Sikes also plans to start on cotton and peanuts soon, he said. 

As for local fruit crops, production is likely to be diminished this year. Joe Franklin, with Georgia Citrus Farms in central Bulloch County, said he lost all his lemon and grapefruit crops due to the late March freeze. 

“It hurt us quite a bit,” he said. “It is hard to tell just yet, but we probably lost about 50 percent of what we had last year,” he said, referring to the farm’s main crop, Satsumas, a Mandarin type orange. “We might not get that much.” 

Several days of unusually warm weather in February “woke up the trees and sap started flowing,” but then the hard freeze came, he said. “We won’t be able to sell wholesale this year but, that’s farming.” 

 

Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 243-7815. 

 

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