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Summer weather cooperating with Bulloch County farmers so far
Local farmers have been reporting just the right amount of rain this season for crops such as cotton. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

If the current weather patterns continue through the summer, Bulloch County farmers could see a positive year.

Rainfall has "come at the appropriate time" recently, said Carole Knight, county agent with the Bulloch County Extension office. Last year, consistently heavy rains brought about problems with crops, but this year could be different, she said.

Too much rainfall can be as bad as drought and, last summer, hay farmers found it difficult to harvest and bale hay because of rain. Farmers with other crops also battled disease and pests made worse by the wet weather, but this year "everything seems to be doing very well," she said.

Recent rainfall brought relief to some crops that were beginning to show slight drought stress, especially dryland (nonirrigated) crops such as some corn fields. Aside from normal battles with pests and disease, Knight said, "We're not seeing any huge issues."

The most popular crop planted in the area seems to be cotton, followed closely by peanuts. Commodity price predictions aren't as strong as last year and cotton production may be a bit lower than in the past, but peanuts and soybeans appear to be promising, she said.

"We're in pretty good shape," said Bulloch County farmer Jeff Spence, whose main crops are cotton and peanuts. "The only problem we have now is fighting weeds."
While rainfall helps crops grow, it benefits weeds as well, he said.

"We'll have a pretty good looking crop if it continues like it's going," Spence said. "We've been pretty blessed, but you have to take the good with the bad."

Another local farmer, Wade Hodges, in northern Bulloch County, has corn, cotton and peanuts planted and said the rainfall has helped his fields.

"We've been getting pretty good rain out this way," he said, adding that rainfall is scattered and while one area may receive adequate precipitation, other areas may suffer drought conditions. "It is looking good if we keep getting this rain."

Hopefully, the periodic rainfall will continue to arrive on time this season, Knight said. Last year, an extremely wet summer followed by an unusually cold winter and spring caused some pasture damage, but a more typical summer should bring back the grass.

"We have a more optimistic outlook this year," she said. "I hope (the beneficial weather) holds out."

National Weather Service meteorologist Emily Time said last week that the rainfall and high temperatures are expected to continue throughout the month. Rainfall will most likely occur through daily thunderstorms, and temperatures are expected to soar above normal over the next few weeks, she said.

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


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