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Cotton, peanut planters find full stride as weather dries

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Farmers in south Georgia, the Florida Panhandle and dang near all of Alabama have danced through the raindrops in 2014 to get spring planting done, or much too often they had to sit like wallflowers.

If you lean out the window, you can hear the hum as Deep South peanut and cotton planters yank into high gears and farmers get back on track after a soggy delay. Some farmers are still tracking down their topsoil and repairing field washes, but all in all, May’s weather has been much more friendly to planting.

Farmers in south Georgia, the Florida Panhandle and dang near all of Alabama have danced through the raindrops to get spring planting done, or much too often they had to sit like wallflowers as frequent and prolonged heavy downpours sidelined them.

April said farewell with a big sloppy kiss, ending with a storm system dropping double-digit rain amounts in two days in some locations. Though it has rained in May a few times, welcomed, and much less extreme, weather has returned.

Ronnie Barentine is the University of Georgia Extension coordinator in Dooly County, located in south-central Georgia. He told the Georgia Agricultural Statistics Service:

“Last week was the best we’ve had all season for planting operations as we are starting to see cotton and peanuts cracking the ground. Watermelons on plastic improved last week with sunshine. Wheat starting to dry down some but there are some issues with fusarium infecting heads.”

Peanut and cotton planting is behind in Georgia, but not as much as you’d expect considering the weather. Not much was planted early and some farmers report being two to three weeks behind where “they’d like to be.” But if the drier weather holds, and for now it looks like it might, both crops will catch up to normal pace pretty fast.

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