What started out as the bleakest of production seasons has improved considerably in a matter of just a few weeks for many growers in the lower Southeastern states of Alabama, Florida and Georgia.

In the U.S. Drought Monitor’s final summary for the month of July, drought conditions — which were rated as exceptional in some areas — have generally improved across the region.

For some growers, the showers and thunderstorms seen regularly during late June and July were too little, too late for the dryland corn crop. But conditions appear to be on the upswing for a majority of the cotton, peanut and soybean crops.

The Drought Monitor reported that late-July rainfall was heaviest in the central Gulf Coast region and along the western slopes of the central and southern Appalachians, resulting in some modest improvements in the drought ratings.

Still, poor crop conditions were lingering in some parts of the Southeast. In Alabama, for example, 21 percent of the peanuts and 19 percent of the cotton were rated poor. 

In Georgia, 34 percent of the cotton crop was rated as very poor to poor during the last week of July.

Topsoil and subsoil moisture conditions steadily improved throughout July in the lower Southeast region.

In Florida, scattered rains continued throughout the latter part of July. Nearly 2 inches of precipitation was recorded in Arcadia and Jay.

Localities receiving more than 2 inches of rainfall included Homestead, Kenansville and Orlando. Rainfall totaled more than 3 inches in North Port.

In Pensacola, more than 5 inches was received for the week. Recent rains helped decrease the threats of wildfires.

Growers welcomed the rains across the Panhandle with soil moisture supplies mostly adequate. Recovery for field crops progressed with most crops having a chance of survival if drought conditions do not return.