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Cultivator — June 12, 2015

Spring Weather Tough On Alabama Crops

Limestone County farmer Jessie Hobbs said periods of extremely wet weather followed by dry conditions have hurt his crops. While corn he planted in March is already over head high, the corn planted in early May at his farm is barely a foot tall.

Periods of heavy rain followed by weeks of dry weather this spring have been tough on Alabama farmers.

“We have a single crop of corn, but it looks like two,” said Limestone County farmer Jessie Hobbs. “We have some that’s over head high that we planted in March. The rest we had to plant in May because April was so wet, and it doesn’t look very good.”

Wet weather at the end of May also pushed back wheat harvest. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Crop Progress and Condition report, Alabama farmers have harvested 30 percent of this year’s wheat crop, putting them 5 percent behind the five-year average.

“I think we had an awesome wheat crop until the first of April when it started raining so much,” Hobbs said. “I think we’ll harvest about 10-15 bushels per acre less than last year, and last year wasn’t that great for wheat either.”

Marengo County farmer Stanley Walters has completed his wheat harvest.

“It was not as good of a crop as we normally do, but it also was not a disaster,” Walters said. “It was probably off by about 20 percent.”

Walters said the spring weather has been a challenge, and he has had to replant more this year than ever before.

“We would get way too much rain, then it would get too dry, and then we’d have too much rain again,” Walters said. “Farming is all about timing.”

With all the spring rainfall, though, no part of Alabama is currently experiencing drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

The USDA planting report also showed Alabama farmers have planted 70 percent of this year’s soybean crop and have harvested 94 percent of the first hay cutting.

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PDF: Cultivator — June 12, 2015

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