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Good cotton harvest still expected despite impactful tropical systems

Cotton crop still going strong despite Irma / Matt Mackie (WGXA)

DOOLY COUNTY, Ga. -- Despite a couple of tropical systems this hurricane season, the cotton crop in Middle Georgia is expected to produce exceptional yields this season.

Dooly County is the state's biggest cotton producer. There are about 70,000 acres of cotton fields in the county, which contribute to a local economic impact of $45 million.

Ronnie Barentine with the University of Georgia's Extension Office in Dooly County, said the crop was having a stellar year when Hurricane Irma plowed through the state.

Middle Georgia over three inches of rain during the storm and due to the strong winds, the county lost between 15 and 20 percent of the cotton crop.

Barentine said that while that's a sizable chunk, the harvest was not ruined since it was such a good year until Irma.

For nearly a month after Irma, the area got almost no rain at all. That dry, fair weather helped the cotton crop mature before harvest.

Then on Sunday, impacts from Tropical Depression Nate brought about an inch of rain. However, the winds were not that strong. Barentine said the crop wasn't hurt, farmers just couldn't harvest that day.


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