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Cultivator — September 11, 2014

Alabama Farmers Expect Good Harvest

Lee County farmer Mitch Lazenby expects to start harvesting cotton and peanuts the first week of October, with sesame harvest starting in November. He said the crops look promising, and he’s hoping for good weather to finish the growing season.

Alabama farmers are optimistic about the 2014 harvest thanks to favorable growing conditions early in the season.

Lee County farmer Mitch Lazenby plans to start harvesting his 500 acres of cotton and 200 acres of peanuts around the first week of October.

“So far everything is on schedule, and we’re expecting a good harvest,” Lazenby said. “The price of cotton has dropped dramatically during the season. We’re happy with the cotton we booked early.”

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Sept. 8 Crop Progress and Condition Report, more than 55 percent of the state’s cotton crop is rated good or excellent.

However, the report rates more than 50 percent of Alabama’s peanut crop as poor or fair. The USDA still expects a 19-percent increase in harvest over 2013 for the state, but farmers also planted 25,000 more acres of peanuts this year.
In Talladega County, farmer Jeremy Wilson is halfway through corn harvest and averaging more than 200 bushels per acre on irrigated and dryland corn.

“One of our farms near Lincoln went seven weeks without rain, so we had to irrigate a lot,” Wilson said. “But we can’t complain with the yields we’re getting. For people who planted late and didn’t irrigate, it looks pretty terrible.”

Many farmers near Talladega and Calhoun counties reported crops suffering from lack of summer rain. Anniston reported its driest July on record with just more than a half-inch of rain.

Morgan County Young Farmers Chairman Jason Fields said hungry armyworms were the only problems he had this year.

“We had one field of millet they destroyed,” Fields said. “We’re working hard to get the rest of the hay up before the armyworms find it. We should still be in good shape for winter.”

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