Drought delays planting

Published 7:52 pm Monday, May 1, 2006

Drought or dry spell?
Agricultural extension agents across the state were reporting dry conditions the week of April 17-23, halting the planting window for certain crops.
However, the rain this week appeared to have helped with soil moisture, and area farmers are ready to plant peanuts and cotton soon.
While some weather forecasters have been saying the state is in a drought, Escambia County Extension Coordinator Buck Farrior said he has a difficult time labeling the dry spell as a drought.
Farrior said the county was fortunate during this season of the year because not a lot of crops were affected. However, other counties were moving into their planting season, and the lack of rain has been an obstacle.
Jackson County FSA Executive Director Donald Mann said if the county did not receive rainfall soon, pastures and hay production would be significantly reduced.
In Escambia County the lack of rain has only pushed the planting season back.
In Escambia County, the two main crops planted this time of year are cotton and peanuts. While the acreage varies, approximately 15,000 to 20,000 acres of peanuts planted, and around 20,000 acres of cotton planted. Planting hasn't begun in Escambia County, and Henry County growers haven't started planting peanuts either.
As of April 23, Brewton had received 1.73 inches of rain in one day. But Farrior said residents shouldn't assume everybody in the county got a nice rain just because Brewton's end of the county received a nice rain.
Farrior said when he arrived in Huxford, a large farming area in the county, he began to step into the fields and kick into the soil. Huxford, Farrior said, received practically no rain.
Residents shouldn't just depend on the rain to keep their lawns healthy, Farrior said.
Extension and Research Horticulturist Bobby Boozer said by the week's end, almost all areas across Alabama had received close to or exceeded one inch or rainfall. With cooler temperatures expected for next week, the impact might last a little longer.
Weather forecasters are predicting for the weekend intervals of clouds and sunshine with a couple of showers and possible thunderstorms, and next week there should be plenty of sunshine with some cloud coverage as the day progresses.

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