Farms across Georgia impacted by Irma

BULLOCH CO., GA (WTOC) - Hurricane Irma left a wide range of damage in Georgia, from farms on one side of the state to the other. However, local farmers may have fared better than others.

If you walk through a cotton field in this part of the state, it's hard to see where the rows are because plants are all blown around from Irma's winds. A talk with local farmers revealed we may have dodged a bullet in this, and it wasn't as bad as other parts of the state.

David Crumley can find plants pushed over by Irma last week. He says the rain she dropped on Eastern Georgia helped more than it hurt.

"We measured 5.6 inches of rain in our gauge. That wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been or as bad as what Harvey did over Texas," Crumley said.

He hopes some plants will straighten again once cotton bolls pop and lose heavy moisture inside. He and others have held their breath this summer as this crop progressed better than what they've seen for a long time.

"We've been looking for that 'good year.' We've been saying that for several years. We need the yield, but we also need good price support," said Bill Tyson, UGA Extension Service.

A good crop this year would help farmers erase some debt from past years, and that helps them as well as their debt holders. Crumley says cotton pickers should be able to salvage even plants low if they're not on the ground.

"Considering the plants are standing up slightly is a good sign," he said.

He says it may take spraying fields from an airplane instead of a tractor to take it easy on them the next month or so.

Crumley says the crop could still use a shower or two before they defoliate all the leaves, but they don't need any more storms with names on them.

"Compared to Matthew, we had a lot worse wind last year than we had this year," he said.

Crumley says other parts of the state west of here suffered much stronger winds which led to their damage. He says the timing spared them as well. If Irma had come a month later like Matthew, the crop would have been more vulnerable to winds and rain.

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