Morgan County farmers feel effect of dry weatherPublished 11:44am Thursday, June 21, 2012
Hot, dry weather conditions are creating a dilemma for Morgan County farmers and little or no relief is in sight.
“We’re in a dry weather pattern that’s pretty common for this time of the year,” said Ronald Brittnell, regional director for the Alabama Extension System. “The roots of most garden plants are begging for moisture, sweet corn isn’t filling out because it doesn’t have enough water and farmers are having trouble getting soybeans to germinate and come up.
“It’s only going to get worse until we get a substantial amount of rainfall,” he pointed out, “and it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen anytime soon. The weather forecast calls for a 10 percent chance of us getting a shower on Friday, and nothing after that for several days.
“The situation is worsened by the mid-90 degree temperatures we’re now experiencing,” he added.
“If we weren’t watering our vegetable crops, we wouldn’t have anything to sell at the Farmers Market,” said Matt Mayfield, whose family grows produce east of Hartselle.
“We’re irrigating by pumping water out of a creek. That has saved out tomato, cantaloupe and watermelon crops.”
Don McCutcheon of River Road near Priceville said he has managed to grow early crops like squash, zucchini, peppers, cucumbers and sweet corn without irrigation but sees trouble ahead if the drought continues.
“Rain will be critical for how well crops do for remainder of the summer and fall,” he pointed out.
The last measurable rainfall in Morgan County occurred on June 11 and after Friday, June 22, none is predicted by the National Weather Service until June 30.