Needed moisture welcomed

Published 9:33 pm Thursday, October 16, 2008

After two weeks of virtually no precipitation, several strong thunderstorms pushed through Alabama bringing with them copious amounts of rainfall to many locations during the past week.

Soil moisture improved during the past week, as reporters categorized 66 percent in adequate to surplus condition. Daniel S. Miller, Regional Extension Agent located in DeKalb County, said most areas experienced drought relief because of recent rains.

Temperatures during the past week were above average at all reporting weather stations, with the largest difference from normal recorded in Pinson. Daytime highs ranged from 80 degrees in Sand Mountain and Bridgeport to 90 degrees in Geneva. Overnight lows varied from 49 degrees in Hamilton and Highland Home to 64 degrees in Headland.

Rainfall was received at all weather stations across the state. Total accumulations ranged from 0.33 inches in Thomasville to 3.54 inches in Eufaula. Other notable totals were Huntsville at 3.23 inches, Brewton at 2.88 inches, Union Springs at 2.83 inches, and Bridgeport at 2.72 inches.


Corn harvest was nearing completion, but progress remained behind last year and the five-year average. Ronnie Davis, County Executive Director in the Henry County FSA office, indicated that the rainfall delayed some harvest activities. Alabama’s cotton crop showed signs of improvement, as reporters rated 51 percent in good to excellent condition. Harvest progress leapt forward, but considerably lagged last year’s and the five-year average pace. James D. Jones, Jr., County Extension Coordinator for Henry County, reported that yields from most cotton fields were good. Three-quarters of the state’s peanut crop was in good to excellent condition. The number of fields dug was 14 percentage points ahead of last year, but slightly behind the five-year average pace. Leonard Kuykendall, Regional Extension Agent located in Autauga County, mentioned that peanut growers in the region welcomed between one and two inches of rainfall that greatly improved digging conditions. Soybean stands perked up during the past week, with 41 percent now in good to excellent condition. Eighty-seven percent of this year’s crop had reached the leaf-dropping stage, 3 points behind last year’s pace and 2 points behind the average.

Harvest showed significant progress during the past week.

Pasture/Hay/ Livestock

Pastures continued to show signs of the previous week’s dry weather, as conditions deteriorated slightly. However, the moisture received this week had producers preparing seedbeds for small grain planting. Doyle Barnes, County Executive Director in the Covington County FSA office, noted that farmers planned on sowing oats, wheat, and ryegrass during the upcoming weeks. Livestock conditions improved slightly from a week ago, as animals seem to be holding their own on current forage conditions.