Rain little relief

Published 11:38 pm Monday, June 25, 2007

By By Lisa Tindell – news reporter
Too little, too late.
That is the cry of area farmers after several inches of rain fell last week.
Frazier is experiencing a problem that many farmers across the Southeast are experiencing. The only consolation for Fraizer is that he is not alone in his plight.
Farrior said farmers across Escambia County usually plant a combined total of 5,000 acres in corn. With the lack of rain, the yield on those crops will be significantly lower than in years past.
Randy Acreage of the Escambia County Experiment Field said a recent trip to farms in the Dothan and Headland areas have shown how bad the corn crops have suffered this season.
Acreage said the drought is not limited to farmers in south Alabama.
Other effects
Crops are not the only things suffering in the region. Lakes and other waterways are suffering to a point that may limit summer activities. The lakes seeing the most change for summer activities include Jordan, Lay and Mitchell lakes in Alabama.
But there may be another effect of the drought that hits home for many Brewton area residents. Alabama Power Company has raised its rates, in part to help recover the losses associated with power production at its dams.
Following a vote by the Public Service Commission last week, Alabama Power Co. now has the go-ahead to increase residential rates by a 5.6 percent margin beginning with the July 1 bills. Alabama Power customers will see an average annual increase of about $67, which is the result of the lack of rain across the region.
Below-normal rainfall this year and last year reduced power production from Alabama Power's dams, forcing the utility to burn more coal and natural gas at other power plants to make up the difference.
What now?
Not all may be lost for area farmers.
As for the future of crops in and around Escambia County, Farrior said those farmers who have peanuts and cotton may stand a chance of having a decent year.
Farrior said lawns and crops are already stressed, and home farmers should consider that when deiciding on whether to fertlize.
Average rainfall amounts for this time of year is between 3.75 and 4.25 inches. Rainfall over the period of June 18-20 was less than 2 inches.

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