A once-promising pecan crop bore the brunt of wind gusts and torrential rain from Tropical Storm Gordon, which downed trees, limbs and ripe pecans when it hit the Gulf Coast Sept. 4.
In Baldwin County, the storm dropped nearly 9 inches of rain. Across the bay in Mobile County, rain totals were lower, though wind damage was more widespread.
“Before the storm, our pecan trees were loaded,” said Grand Bay farmer Jeremy Sessions. “Now we could be looking at a loss on the season. We have lots of cleanup to do but are also grateful. We’ve weathered worse storms.”
Several days of sunshine could perk up loaded cotton stalks the storm flattened while drying rain-soaked lint inside cracked bolls, said the Alabama Farmers Federation’s Carla Hornady. Twisted and bent stalks make defoliation and harvest more difficult, she added.
“The wind ripped out cotton blooms and open bolls, but our farmers are grateful most bolls were still closed in the storm,” said Hornady, the Federation’s Cotton, Soybean and Wheat & Feed Grain divisions director. “It offered more protection, hopefully preserving this year’s anticipated bumper crops.”
Corn harvest should continue once fields dry out, said Hornady, noting wind damage to corn was minimal. Drier fields will also allow farmers to dig peanuts.
The next storm, Hurricane Florence, has formed in the Atlantic Ocean. Hurricane season runs through harvest, ending Nov. 30.