Saturated Soils: Georgia Farmers Sidelined Due to Wet Weather

Clint Thompson Georgia, Vegetables, Weather

Photo by Chris Tyson/UGA: Shows standing water in an onion field.

Georgia farmers are sidelined right now because of excessive rainfall in January and February. This could become problematic with planting season just around the corner.

“We’re at or above saturated conditions right now all around. Any extra rainfall we’re getting right now, we’re losing to run-off. Our ponds and reservoirs and creeks are all at full capacity. I don’t think we’re gaining anything at this point,” said Wes Porter, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Ag Engineer and irrigation specialist.

“Probably the biggest thing, if you had any pre-plant stuff you needed to get, you didn’t get spread in the fall or anything you’re trying to get out this spring, you’re not able to get into any fields right now. We’re hoping it’s going to start drying out soon.”

Planting Season Nears

Row crops are not far away from needing to be planted for the upcoming season. Corn growers will start next month, followed by peanuts in mid-April and cotton in late-April.

“We’re into February and we’re going to look to start planting corn in early March; early to mid-March. We want to have those fields ready to go. Hopefully, you’re ahead of the game and already had those soil samples pulled and had everything applied to the field where you don’t have to worry about it now. But if not, you’re probably not standing very good, and you’re hoping it’ll be able to dry out enough so you can get out there,” Porter said.

According to the UGA Weather Network, Tifton, Georgia received 12.54 inches from Jan. 1 to Feb. 14; more than twice the total of previous years in 2020 (5.64), 2019 (5.79) and 2018 (5.83). In Moultrie, Georgia, there was 13.07 inches recorded compared to 5.56 in 2020 and 6.38 in 2019.

The saturated conditions are even worse for vegetable producers. They need to be in the fields to apply plastic but can’t.