Drought affecting South Georgia peanut crops

Drought affecting South Georgia peanut crops

BULLOCH COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Dry weather has South Georgia farmers wondering how much of their fall crops they will actually harvest.

They could lose at least part of the crop because it never got rainfall during the summer. Peanut farmers continue to struggle to get their crop out of the ground and out of the field. They say parts of this crop come out of the ground already roasted.

Swirls of dust trail behind tractors as farmers break open dry, hard ground to harvest. They normally let the peanuts sit out a few days to dry. Growers like Hal Cromley say drought damage will cost him the later part of his peanuts and cotton.

“We’re probably a ton away from being where we were the last three or four years; a ton per acre, and a bale per acre on cotton,” Cromley said.

UGA Extension Agent Bill Tyson says they’re roughly a 10 to 12 inches of rain behind where they’d be in other years. This drought also depletes the water table in the ground for the next cycle of crops. He says they can’t think that far in advance.

“This crop hasn’t completed yet. It’s not fully matured. Without moisture, that’s the problem we have. We can’t finish the 2019 crop out,” Tyson said.

Bulloch County farmers grow about 20,000 acres of peanuts. Bill says how many acres they’ll harvest remains to be seen. He says even if the later parts of the crop get rain in the next week to 10 days, it could be too late.

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