Too little, too late

Published 7:10 am Monday, July 31, 2006

By By LISA TINDELL – news reporter
With a triple play of rain this week, most folks would think that the farmers are getting a break. That train of thought is seriously off track, said Buck Farrior, Escambia County extension agent.
According to reports from the Brewton Agriculture Research Unit, the rainfall so far for July was holding at just over 2 inches.
Farrior surveyed the farmland in Escambia County on Monday to see how wide the distribution of recent rain has been.
Another example of how damaging the lack of rain can be is that farms in the Pineville area are very badly damaged, Farrior said.
Farrior met with farmers from across the state last week and found that conditions are pretty much the same as what is being experienced here in Escambia County.
When looking at total rainfall amounts as an indicator, Farrior said some of the data could be misleading.
Receiving a heavy rainfall one day and not getting any rain for weeks is bad on crops of all kinds, Farrior said.
The moisture hold in the local farmland is small, Farrior said. This would be translated to an increased need for steady rains.
Farrior said that there are about 35,000 acres of cropland in Escambia County with about 20,000 acres planted in cotton; 12,000 acres are planted in peanuts with about 3,000 acres of corn.
Akridge said that rainfall amounts recorded by the BARU is at 25.83 inches, which is well below the average for this time of year.
With five months left in the calendar year the area would need to receive just over 23 inches of rain to be considered average Akridge said.