Hot and dry conditions over the next few weeks could spell trouble for row crop farmers if they do not apply irrigation in a timely manner.
According to Pam Knox, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Agricultural Climatologist, current weather conditions could persist for the next month. She even hinted that a short-term flash drought could be possible considering the lack of moisture and extreme high conditions being felt across the Southeast.
UGA Extension Irrigation Specialist Wes Porter said all row crops are in high water demand, even with corn, which is nearing harvest in the next month or so.
“If we look at where we’re at right now and where all of our row crops stand, just think about it; our corn is finishing up depending on when you planted it. But don’t short yourself on it,” Porter said. “If you’re not at black layer, you still need water and you still need a decent amount of water on that crop. Though corn, even though we’re getting close, don’t short yourself at the very end of the season and cause some yield reductions due to that.”
Cotton and Peanuts
As for cotton and peanuts, harvest time is still several months away for some producers. But Porter said, “we’re at probably peak water use on most of those crops.”
“Now, that’s going to depend on when you planted them. If they were planted much later, you may not quite be there yet. But if you planted in our typical time; that potential late April to early-to-mid May; we’re probably in peak bloom on our cotton and we’re at pod set and pod fill on peanuts. That’s some of our most critical times for water,” Porter said. “It’s unfortunate that we’re not getting any rain now.”