Rain only enough to ‘help farmers’ feelings’

Published 7:29 pm Tuesday, September 28, 2010

According to the song, “The day that the rains came down Motherhood smiled again.”

But then, that’s just a song.

In reality, although the weekend thunderstorms brought much-needed rain, they probably came too late for area farmers, said Goshen farmer Bill Sanders.

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“More than likely it was too late to do any good except to help our feelings, settle the dust and get the ponds and rivers back up a little,” Sanders said. “Everything has made that is going to make. The rain won’t help the quality or quantity of the peanuts or cotton.”

However, Sanders said the rain helped the peanut farmers by softening the ground.

“The peanuts have matured all they are going to mature,” he said. “But with the rain, the ground will be softer and the peanuts will be easier to dig. The ground’s been so hard, you can’t dig the peanuts without them dropping off.”

As far as the cotton, Sanders said too much rain after the bolls have opened and the cotton is hanging will deteriorate the quality of the crop

“And that will affect your money,” he said. “But the weekend rain shouldn’t have hurt the cotton because it’s dried out and the sun is shining.”

The recent rain was good news for fall gardeners and cattle farmers who can now get cover crops in the ground.

“The cover crops for winter grazing need to be up and growing,” Sanders said. “Some cattle farmers were already feeding hay so this rain will help, especially if we continue to get some moisture on the ground.”

Sanders said the growing season seemed to be off to a good start with above normal rainfall in the winter and a good spring planting season.

“It was a decent year until last month,” he said. “August and September have been exceptionally hot and dry and those conditions took a toll on the crops.

Jeff Knotts, FSA county executive director, said “dry” is the only word to describe the year.

“Some farmers had said they weren’t going to plant as many acres this year because it’s one of the ‘ten’ years,” Knotts said. “Every 10 years it seems like there’s a drought, so they were thinking they would cut back. But from the numbers, it doesn’t look like that happened.”

Pike County farmers planted 5,600 acres of peanuts, 3,500 acres of cotton and 2,400 acres of corn.

“From what I’m hearing, the peanuts have made but the grade is not good and cotton yields are about in half,” Knotts said. “Farmers that irrigated made some corn but the drought has hurt almost everybody.”