Dry conditions spread across state
By Jay Stone, Georgia Farm Bureau
Farmers across the state are feeling the effects of prolonged dry weather.
Analysis of the June 23 edition of the Georgia Drought Monitor shows 150 of Georgia’s 159 counties have abnormally dry conditions or worse. All or parts of 62 counties have moderate drought, and seven coastal counties have severe drought.
Non-irrigated crops are already suffering, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) Crop Progress & Condition Report. On June 21, NASS mentioned reports of dryland corn fields in west Georgia already reported as complete losses. Row-crop farmers with irrigation pivots are running them non-stop, according to NASS, including many of the state's cotton growers.
"Producers are obviously worried about the quality and progress of their cotton crop, but many are also concerned about the availability of water if drought conditions continue, as many are in drastic need of recharge for creeks and ponds that are used for irrigation," Georgia Cotton Commission Executive Director Taylor Sills said.
In its June 27 report, NASS noted continued decline in the state’s cornfields, while cotton and peanut plants in many areas wilted from lack of moisture. Georgia hay producers have begun second cuttings, NASS said, though fields were struggling with regrowth because of the low rain and yields were “reportedly down significantly from previous years.”