Harvest pushes forward during dry week

Published 8:52 pm Thursday, October 2, 2008

Warm temperatures, winds, and little to no rain depleted the soil moisture in many locations during the past week.

Producers spent the week applying defoliants to cotton, and harvesting corn, cotton, peanuts, and soybeans.

Average temperatures during the past week varied from eight degrees below normal in Highland Home and three degrees above normal in Russellville and Huntsville.

Daytime highs ranged from 81 degrees in Cullman and Sand Mountain to 91 degrees in Bay Minette. Overnight lows varied between a cool 41 degrees in Highland Home and 57 degrees in Bay Minette.

Only a trace of rain was received throughout the entire state during the past week. The weather station at Dannelly Field in Montgomery accumulated 0.02 inches in one day, and represented the only rainfall received.

Corn/Cotton/Peanuts/ Soybeans

An extremely dry week across the state allowed harvest to move forward at a rapid pace.

Corn harvested for grain was reported at just over 80 percent complete, a 14 percent jump from the week before. Donald E. Mann, County Executive Director in the Jackson County FSA office, indicated that corn for grain yields varied immensely within the county.

Some growers harvested fields that yielded between 30 to 50 bushels per acre, while others saw 100 to 120 bushels per acre. Mann figured that Jackson County would average approximately 80 bushels per acre. More producers began harvesting cotton during the past week, but progress remained well behind last year and the five-year average. Mann stated that Jackson County producers were expected to begin their harvest during the upcoming week, while Leonard Kuykendall, Regional Extension Agent located in Autauga County, mentioned that harvest in the area was underway with yields varying between poor and good. The potential for an outstanding peanut crop remained good, as nearly three-quarters of the state’s peanuts were reported in good to excellent condition. Kuykendall noted that yields were good on the few peanut fields that were already harvested around the Autauga County area. Barnes stated that some rainfall would be needed for some Covington County producers to continue harvesting their peanuts because the soil in most fields was dry and hard. Alabama’s soybean crop showed signs of slight improvement during the past week, but harvest remained behind last year and the five-year average. Yields have varied greatly in fields that have already been harvested.

Pasture/Hay/ Livestock

Pasture and range conditions declined slightly following a week of no rainfall. Mr. Mann added that Jackson County pastures were starting to burn up due to a lack of moisture. Jimmy Smitherman, County Extension Coordinator for Montgomery County, indicated that winter pastures and fall-seeded grazing suffered from a lack of adequate rainfall. T. H. Gregg, Regional Extension Agent located in Etowah County, reported that some producers were able to harvest a fourth cutting of hay. The state’s livestock condition remained unchanged during the past week, with most animals reported in fair to excellent condition.