Storm brings valuable moisture to crops

Published 10:37 pm Friday, August 22, 2008

A strong storm system brought beneficial rainfall to many areas across the state during the past week, with the most of the precipitation falling throughout the South.

Several reporters across northern Alabama commented that all crops remained under stress due to a lack of available moisture.

Donald E. Mann, County Executive Director in the Jackson County FSA office, indicated that no rainfall was received during the past week, and that conditions continued to deteriorate.

Average temperatures cooled off dramatically, and were as many as five degrees below normal.

Daytime highs ranged from 88 degrees in Anniston, Sand Mountain, Bridgeport, Opelika, Marion Junction, and Thomasville to a mere 93 degrees in Brewton.

Overnight lows varied from a cool 55 degrees in Bridgeport to 70 degrees in Mobile and Dothan.

All weather stations reported receiving rainfall during the past week.

Total accumulations ranged from 0.20 inches in Bridgeport to a whopping 6.86 inches in Mobile. Other notable rainfall totals were 3.75 inches in Brewton, 3.74 inches in Union Springs, 3.44 inches in Montgomery, and 3.42 inches in Bay Minette.

Corn, Cotton, Peanuts and Soybeans

Corn harvest moved forward slowly, with numerous locations in the corn-predominant north preparing for harvest within the next week.

Ronnie Davis, County Executive Director in the Henry County FSA office, noted that corn harvest was just beginning across the county.

Just over 90 percent of the cotton crop was setting bolls. The majority of the peanut belt received significant rainfall during the past week, with areas recording from one to six inches of total accumulation.

Kris Balkcom, Peanut Specialist located at the Wiregrass Research and Extension Center, said there were some very dry fields before the rain, but most fields were responding well and setting another crop.

Insect pressure was minimal with the exception of a few isolated cases. Producers were encouraged to scout for white mold and Cylindrocladium black rot, as well as army worms following corn harvest. The state’s soybean condition improved slightly during the past week following the recent rainfall.


Pasture conditions perked up slightly, pushing 35 percent to good to excellent condition.

Henry Dorough, Regional Extension Agent located in Talladega County, reported that precious rainfall soaked the region during the past week.

Small ponds and livestock watering holes caught some water, but had plenty of room for more.

Kenneth Kelley, Regional Extension Agent located in Mobile County, mentioned that some areas had been getting rainfall, while others were in dire need of a drink prior to the saturating rain that covered the county.

Dorough added that hay production in the Talladega County area had picked up, leaving producers well ahead of production from this time last year.

Davis also indicated that Henry County producers were harvesting hay. Overall, the livestock condition declined from a week ago, as many pastures suffered from drought conditions.

Mann said additional livestock producers in Jackson County began feeding hay during the past week.