This year’s production season has provided favorable conditions so far for Alabama’ row crop producers. That soon may change, though, if the current dry, hot conditions continue.
Audrey Gamble, assistant professor and Extension specialist at Auburn University, said cotton growers need to especially be wary of their crops’ potassium levels.
“In a year where we have drought mid-season, we might start seeing some potassium deficiencies coming around this time of year. Just because of drought and no water, the potassium can’t get into the plant,” Gamble said. “As far as I know we haven’t seen much of that this year. If we can continue to get some rainfall here and there, I think it’s going to be a good year.”
Potassium levels are also important for soybean farmers as well. Peanuts have other nutrient needs that remain a priority.
“Peanut is just a good scavenger. The biggest concern would probably be calcium. As long as producers are putting out calcium according to soil test recommendations, I think they’ll be in good shape,” Gamble said.
Though dry weather is a concern, right now, Alabama is in good shape with regards to having sufficient moisture. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, only a small portion of the state in Chilton County and Shelby County is listed as abnormally dry.
“We’ve had so far, now it’s starting to get a little bit drier, so far this season, throughout most of Alabama we’re in pretty good shape. We’ve had consistent rainfall. The crops look beautiful,” Gamble said. “Just talking with some of our Extension folks in north Alabama, they’re a little bit behind because it was cooler in the spring this year. So far, we’ve had some excellent growing conditions.”
According to Pam Knox, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Agricultural Climatologist, hot and dry conditions could be the norm for the Southeast over the next month.