Farmers pleased with Andrea's quiet visit

Published: Jun. 7, 2013 at 9:24 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 7, 2013 at 10:17 PM EDT
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STATESBORO, GA (WTOC) - Tommy Rushing watched the skies and the radar as Tropical Storm Andrea tracked inland from the Gulf and brushed southeast Georgia.

"We anticipated some rain and it was just perfect. We got rain but didn't get wind because that could have knocked this tall corn down," he noted.

His family's fields ranged from 2.7 to 3.5 inches of rain Thursday. Rushing stated that rainfall is more productive than the water pumped through irrigation.

"When the rainfall comes, the humidity drops and the rain soaks into the ground. With irrigation, a lot of it evaporates and it never gets to the plant. It's just not as good as rainfall, he explained.

Rushing's 300 acres of cotton and 75 acres of peanuts are just sprouting from the ground. His 215 acres of corn have been growing since spring. None of them were as dry as they may have been at this point in years past, but they were due for rainfall.

"We built back a lot of subsoil moisture with the kind of rain we had this spring. But we were beginning to dry out that top 4-5 inches as far as cotton, soybeans, and peanuts that we just planted. Absolutely, they needed that shot of rain, agreed Wes Harris of the UGA Extension Service.

Both men admitted another similarly mild storm could help later in the season.

"If it comes in from the Gulf, we typically get what we just got - 2.5, 3, or 4 inches of rain," Harris noted.

"In South Georgia, you're always 7 days from a drought. So you can always use it. Rainfall is good anytime," Rushing noted.

The only crops not helped by the rain would be wheat, oats, and rye. Farmers are trying to get them harvested and they must wait for the fields to dry before tractors can work the field. In addition, each shower can take away some of the yields.

"One of these rains doesn't necessarily make or break those, but a few in a row could hurt," Harris detailed.

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