By Clint Thompson
Recent warm weather and prolonged dry conditions were much needed for Southeast specialty crop producers. Not only did it allow growers to get in the field and conduct much needed work in preparation for the spring crop, it also allowed the winter vegetables to continuing growing.
Tim Coolong, associate professor in the University of Georgia (UGA) College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, discussed the importance of the dry conditions that were prevalent in late February.
“A lot of the guys should have their plastic done. They might be finishing up some things here and there. I would say it’s probably good for some of the watermelon guys if they’re laying some plastic. It would allow them to get into the field. Our other guys, it’ll help dry things out. They’ll start planting things,” Coolong said. “The sweet corn growers always like to capitalize on an early market, so if the weather’s good, they’ll probably plant a little early as well.
“With the cloudy weather we’ve had, things aren’t growing as well, as quick as they could; you know the cool season crops.”
Sunshine also helped alleviate weather conditions that favor certain crop diseases. During periods of increased rainfall and prolonged leaf wetness, conditions were also ripe for downy mildew disease in Vidalia onions.
According to the University of Georgia Weather Network, Tifton, Georgia, received 0.2 inches of rainfall from Feb. 12 to March 2. That followed a soggy start to the month of February when it rained 4.1 inches in Tifton from Feb. 1 to Feb. 11.