By Clint Thompson
Northeast Alabama is in dire need of rainfall. The region is abnormally dry, according to Thursday’s release of the U.S. Drought Monitor. Some areas are even moderately dry, especially along the Alabama-Tennessee state line.
“Right now, irrigation ponds are down three to four feet. You’re really having to keep consistent water to (tomatoes) because with a real feel of 100 (degrees), even though tomatoes like warm weather, they don’t like it hot,” Schavey said. “What we’ve (also) been dealing with are these little pop-up showers that don’t even give you a tenth of an inch of rain. But it does just enough to wet the leaf surface and then it gets hot.
“Or it happens right at dark, and your leaves stay wet all night. Then you have dew that comes in and is not getting cooled off at night. There’s a lot of foliar diseases happening because of these little sporadic showers. Our second and third plantings of tomatoes are really suffering from that heat.”
Considering where crops are in the production season, growers would be better served to have rainfall come in the area and they just manage any potential diseases when the time comes.
“We need a couple of inches of rain just to replenish some reserves that we have. There is a lot of field corn and sweet corn in this area that just need a rain,” Schavey said. “The damage is done on a lot of these crops. We’ll take the rain and just deal with any leaf spot.”