What is in this article?:
- Drought tightens grip on Georgia farmers
- Water supplies getting tight
• Most of the state is in severe to extreme drought.
• Crops and livestock across the state are suffering.
The cotton seedling tried. But after sending its root more than five inches deep into the parched dirt, searching for moisture, it gave up and died.
“Some of (the cotton) sprouted and came up in places that had enough moisture for it to come up. … But it’s gotten so hot and dry now that it's just killing it. When it’s breaking the dirt, it’s dying,” said Kyle Pollock, a 26-year-old Mitchell County farmer in southwest Georgia, holding the cotton seedling in his hand.
In an area of the state that hasn’t had “a good rain” in more than two months, Pollack runs his irrigation systems non-stop to keep his corn, cotton and peanuts alive. What he can’t irrigate, he said, “is pretty much gone.”
His 100 cows usually eat grass in his pasture this time of year. But the pasture has been brown for weeks. Instead, they are eating the last bales of hay Pollack saved from last year. He’s going to have to buy more hay or start selling off his herd.
Pollock’s situation in Mitchell County is not isolated. Most of the state is in severe to extreme drought. And crops and livestock across the state are suffering.
The corn situation is “really bad,” said Dewey Lee, an agronomist with University of Georgia Cooperative Extension. Corn that hasn’t had irrigation water applied to it isn’t going to survive, except in some of the north Georgia counties that have received rain. Even with irrigation, some farmers are struggling to provide fields with enough water to reach high yields.