Low temperatures and limited precipitation delayed planting for many Alabama farmers this spring, but recent rainfall is encouraging the state’s growers, said the Alabama Farmers Federation’s Carla Hornady.
“Many crops were planted two or three weeks later than anticipated,” said Hornady, who is the Federation’s Cotton, Soybean and Wheat & Feed Grain divisions director. “Our farmers have dealt with abrupt weather changes. A cool, wet early spring led into hot, dry conditions later in the planting season.”
Now a series of showers is spreading through the state, lending much-needed moisture to crops, such as corn, cotton and peanuts, Hornady said.
“We’re reaching the end of planting season in Alabama,” she said. “We’re grateful for the rain, but some farmers still need to plant soybeans, cotton and peanuts.”
Talladega County’s Jeremy Wilson said early rainfall was a boon to crops, but three weeks without precipitation took a toll. In the past few days, scattered showers dropped 2 inches of rain on Wilson’s cotton and soybeans.
Farther south in Pike County, Michael Sanders’ farm received 4 inches of rain since May 18, following just 1 inch of rain earlier this spring.
“Our crops were in need of moisture, so we are thankful for the rain,” said Sanders, who grows corn and cotton. “This rain is helping our corn shoot up and stimulating cotton germination and emergence.”
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s May 21 Alabama Crop Progress and Condition Report, 95 percent of corn has emerged, 67 percent of cotton is planted, 65 percent of peanuts are planted, 43 percent of soybeans are planted, and 7 percent of winter wheat has been harvested.