A damp October slowed harvest across Alabama, with farmers like Jimmy Miller of Blount County estimating combines and pickers will still be rolling into December.
“We’ve had a good production year, but in October, which is normally our driest month, we received over 4 inches of rain,” said Miller, who raised peanuts and cotton this year on his family’s farm in Snead. “It’s been a challenging harvest. We’ll harvest cotton two days, then it rains again.”
Cotton picked in September was excellent, Miller said. In October, warmer temperatures and additional moisture tacked on more second growth, lowering quality.
Wet fields have stalled combining Miller’s final 20 acres of dug peanuts, though he said overall quality has been good.
“Everyone seems to be having weather problems,” Miller said. “From a yield standpoint, I feel fortunate. We’re probably above average on yields of all crops except peanuts.”
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Nov. 5 Crop Progress and Condition Report, 66 percent of the state’s cotton crop is harvested. Seventy-eight percent of peanuts are harvested, while an additional 14 percent are waiting to be combined. For soybeans, 69 percent are harvested. Farmers are preparing for 2019, too, with 25 percent of winter wheat planted.
USDA’s most recent forecast estimated cotton production at 1.12 million bales, while peanut production is forecast at 668 million pounds.