Harvest dismal for Pike Co. farmers

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 3, 2000

News Editor

Oct. 2, 2000 10 PM

Results were dismal when local farmers harvested their crops this year, and the drought seems to be the main cause of the problems.

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David Carpenter, county extension agent, said almost all of the crops were effected, and it drought has caused problems for cattle farmers, too.

"The cotton was very bleak," he said. "For all practical purposes it was a total disaster. A few peanuts were picked but the grades were poor and the yield was low. Corn was a total disaster, too."

But Carpenter said crops weren’t the only things that suffered. He said poultry and cattle farmers were impacted by the drought.

"The chicken industry suffered due to the weather," he said. "Farmers lost a lot of chickens. Several cattle farmers have had to sell their herds, and we may see more selling."

Carpenter said everything has been affected by the inclement weather conditions. According to the National Weather Service, even with recent rains, the state of Alabama is still more than 16 inches below the annual rain average.

"You can feel it everywhere from grocery stores to car dealers to equipment dealers," Carpenter said. "All businesses have felt the drought. In 2000 nothing has done well."

The weather pattern in Alabama and Pike County is standard, Carpenter said, reminding that conditions were similar this time last year. And although he said he couldn’t make predictions for next year’s crops, he said we could see another year like this one.

"Ponds and lakes are low and need to build up," he said. "it’s time now to plant the winter-cover crops, like rye grass, but there still isn’t enough water."

Carpenter said the winter months will be hard on cattle farmers because they didn’t make enough hay to feed their herds.

"What little hay they did make was eaten up by Army worms," he said. "We have some farmers who have had to cut cattle numbers and some are going out of the county to get the hay they need. Some of the farmers, who had access to water, do have a little excess hay and they may have some for sale."

Due to the dismal harvest the Farm City Committee has decided not to give Farm City Week Awards this year. In place of the awards ceremony, the committee decided to have a motivational speaker to encourage the farmers.

"Not giving awards was a considerate and wise thing to do," Carpenter said. ‘It’s been hard on the farmers."