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Plenty of rain, but not enough
Farmers feeling effects of drought despite recent storm
Pembroke farmer Bob Floyd looks out over a field of corn he planted this year. He said the stalks should be towering over his head at this point in the season but said the lack of rain over the past three months has ruined the crop. - photo by Luke Hearn

Area farmers welcomed the rain brought to the area last weekend by Tropical Storm Barry, but it may have been too little too late, especially for crops that had already been planted earlier in the season.

"They had just enough moisture to plant," said David Moulder, Bryan County’s extension agent for the University of Georgia. "But as far as enough rain to help things already planted, they’re gone."

Moulder said last weekend’s rain was beneficial to crops that have just been planted, but he said future rain will determine how the crops fare for the remainder of the planting season.

"We have enough moisture now to germinate seeds, but that’s about all we had," Moulder said. "From now on, it’s how much rain we get from here on out to see if our crops will do anything."

Bob Floyd, who farms about 1,500 acres in North Bryan County, said his 500 acres of corn was damaged so badly by this season’s drought that he doesn’t expect to turn a crop at all.

"I think I can go ahead and count out all my corn. Even last weekend’s rain isn’t going to bring that back," he said. "I can give a little hope to some of my replanted corn but in the back of my mind I know it won’t make it."

Floyd said he’s seen some dry days in his 20 years of farming, but he said this is the worse he’s seen it this early.

"I’ve seen it dryer, but it’s typically been later in the summer when that happens," he said. "As far as being this dry this early in the year, it’s the worse. I’m sure this will be the worse crop loss I’ve ever had because of drought, and it’s a long ways from being over. It’s going to be a long summer, definitely."

Just before the rain fell last weekend Floyd planted about 900 acres of peanuts, and he said it’ll be tricky watching the weather to see if they can make it.

"My peanuts can make it, but if we have another 90 days of no rain, they won’t make it," he said.

Floyd said perfect circumstances would include about an inch of rain every ten days. He said, however, that not living in a perfect world makes his work interesting and said it can sometimes be a gamble.

"With peanuts, when they get dry you got to get them right then," Floyd said. "If you wait until they’re wet it can present as big a problem as the dryness.

"They say gambling is illegal in Georgia, but there is a legal version and it’s called farming."

What Floyd said he’s hoping for is a series of nice, slow rains that soak deep into the ground.

That's not likely, however.

"Typically in the summer the thundershowers bring hard rain that runs off," he said. "But the three-inch rain we got last weekend was perfect…you couldn’t ask for no better than that."

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