By Clint Thompson
Persistent rainfall across the Southeast in recent weeks could delay fumigation progress from specialty crop farmers preparing to plant their fall crops.
Tim Coolong, associate professor in the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, discusses how heavy rain events could keep producers from getting into their fields at a key point in the season.
“In terms of the spring crop, it’s not an issue because they’re finished. I would think that the biggest potential issue that I would see for our growers would be if they had to fumigate and lay plastic for the fall crop. A lot of those guys will start that earlier and whenever they would have time. There’s still a good bit of plastic laid in July in anticipation of that August planting. If there’s a lot of rain, obviously, it could slow that down,” Coolong said.
According to the University of Georgia Weather Network, Tifton, Georgia, received 5.24 inches of rainfall and 16 rainy days from July 1 to July 25. Moultrie, Georgia, received 8.69 inches of rain and 20 rainy days during that same timeframe. Vidalia, Georgia, received 5.94 inches of rain and 15 rainy days as well.
Coolong estimates that early planting for peppers and tomatoes is usually done during the first couple of weeks of August. Growers need to conduct their pre-planting procedures now to meet that timeframe.
“If they plant Aug. 10, that needs to have been laid about two weeks earlier to give that gas time to get out of that system. If they’re delayed, that could potentially delay them,” he added.