What is in this article?:
- Summer of 2013: Was it an unlucky number for Southeast growers?
- Problems down the road
- Never caught up
- Never experienced it before
• The short-term result of all the rain in 2013 will be total crop losses in some cases, yield reductions in others and surprisingly little damage in some fields.
• But nobody really knows the long-term impact.
GROWERS, Bud Bowers and son Corrin Bowers in Luray, S.C., lost several hundred acres of cotton to the record rainfall this year.
Never experienced it before
“My father remembers his grandfather talking about extended flooding and really unusual weather occurrences, but neither of us have ever been through anything close to what we had to deal with from all the rain we got this year,” Jarrell says.
Back in April they planted 1,100 acres of cotton. Now, they are hoping to salvage a decent crop from the 600 or so acres that are left in production.
Like many farmers, Jarrell is faced with the reality that on some land he will have good yields and in other fields no crop.
The uncertainty comes with crop insurance, which is generally based on overall crop production. How that will be sorted out is a whole different dilemma left behind by the record rainfall.
Other cotton growers, like Luray, S.C. growers Bud and Corrin Bowers, pride themselves on being wise marketers of their crop.
Wise usually entails forward booking a percentage of their cotton, leaving some ‘wiggle room’ for drought, flood, pests and other normally occurring phenomena.
Unfortunately, the 100-year rainfall that inundated their crops from May through August were anything but ‘normal’.
Forward booking a good percentage of cotton, then losing half their crop or more to the rainfall, left many growers with a lack of cotton to deliver.
How the economic problems associated with the record rainfall will be sorted out will be critical to the recovery period for many farmers.
It might also be critical to the recovery of the whole agriculture infrastructure in the Southeast.
Every bale of cotton lost to the flooding was also lost to cotton gins and cotton warehouses and so on down the line to the final customer. Change the crop and the result is much the same, some degree of ‘less than expected’ is going to be a common theme this fall in communities throughout the Southeast.
Perhaps Doug Jarrell has it figured out as well as anyone. “I attribute all this weird weather to the number 13.
“My grandfather used to tell me, ‘I remember back when this or that happened. So, I guess, if I ever have grandchildren, 2013 will be the one I’ll tell my grandchildren about,’” he says.