How much rain is too much rain: The impact of wet weather on midstate farmers

Matt Mackie (WGXA)

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ga. -- In recent months weather in much of Middle Georgia has been abnormally dry, so midstate farmers are looking forward to the expected rain over the next few days.

Even though some rain is exactly what Middle Georgia crops need however, too much of it can cause some problems.

"We need the moisture to keep being able to plant and to keep the process going, but we also need sunny days in between," said Judson Herrington with Herrington Brothers Farms.

More than one inch of rain in a single storm can cause erosion or over-saturate soil. For plants that haven't been established yet, too much rain can mean that seeds will rot.

"For farmers who don't have irrigation, that can be a challenge for them, establishing different crops in the soil," said Brad Crumsey with the University of Georgia's Twiggs County extension.

If soils are too wet, farmers might need to delay planting as well, which can also delay harvesting months down the road. If crops such as peanuts and other fall plants that were planted late aren't ready to be harvested, an early freeze could kill them - which could impact prices later on.

"You're really risking having an early frost before the crop's fully developed," Herrington said.

Leaves that stay wet for an extended period of time they can start growing mold or fungus, which could require farmers to use more fungicide. This raises costs for farmers, which eventually depletes their profits.

Farmers also reinvest in the communities they work in like buying supplies and equipment from local businesses. If they're not making as much money as they normally do because they have to buy more fungicide or other things to deal with too much rain, they can't put their money back into the local community.

"We work, we have people that help us, they have families. It's kind of a chain reaction when that affects us. We buy parts from local stores, we buy equipment. It all has a chain reaction," said Herrington.

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