Cotton farmers nervous about potential weather impact

Cotton farmers nervous about potential weather impact

BROOKLET, GA (WTOC) - Hurricane Michael is heading our way at one of the worst times for cotton farmers.

They have roughly 100 million pounds of their crop waiting for harvest, but it could be ruined by a storm.

Farmers we spoke to on Monday don’t want to imagine what Michael could do to fields like theirs with its wind and rain. Two cotton pickers criss-crossed the field as Greg Sikes looked on. He’s harvested only about 10 percent of his 4,000 acres as Hurricane Michael moves closer by the day. He says they’ll stop to refuel and that’s about all.

“We’re hoping we can run into the night,” Sikes said. “If the wind doesn’t blow and the dew doesn’t fall, we’ll keep running.”

They spray the plants to kill the leaves as a final step before harvest, but that step makes plants vulnerable.

“We’ve got a bunch of those fields that have been defoliated and don’t have the leaves anymore, and that exposes the lint to Mother Nature,” said Bill Tyson, UGA Extension Service.

Sikes says even a little five-minute shower pushes them back an hour as they wait for cotton to dry. He and others hate to see a crop devastated at the end of what’s been a good far.

“We need a good year pretty bad, all of Bulloch County and surrounding counties. As I said, Matthew was really, really rough,” Sikes said.

He and others hope Michael will change course, but they’ll harvest as hard as they can in case he doesn’t.

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