The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

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June 12, 2014

Rain causing some concern for wheat harvest

— As of Wednesday afternoon, Belle Mina in Limestone County had received 4.72 inches of rain since June 1, according to the National Weather Service in Huntsville. The Athens area had received 6.61 inches.

Regional Extension Agent Tyler Sandlin, who covers agronomic crops in the county, said the main concern right now is wheat.

“It’s starting to get close to time to get into the field,” Sandlin said. “But, farmers are having a hard time getting in.”

Some farmers have had wheat blown over. Others are concerned if their wheat crops don’t get harvested due to the rain it will start to sprout.

Sandlin said some farmers are pushing the window when it comes to need to harvest in Limestone County. He said if the area continues to get rain, and farmers are unable to harvest, the situation could possibly lead to yield loss.

“If it will dry out and the wheat dries out, we can get in to get it out,” Sandlin said, adding it’s “not doom and gloom, yet.”

According to Sandlin, sometimes rain might be good for one crop, but not for another.

Corn crops are looking good, said Sandlin, who added rain is “very beneficial” for corn that is starting or close to tasseling.

“You can have too much rain,” he said. “But, right now, it’s OK.”

Sandlin said soybeans also look good and though cotton is a little slow, it’s OK right now as well. 

Home gardens

Regional Extension Agent Chris Becker, who covers home grounds, gardens and pests, said rain is good for the area because it recharges ground water and aquifers, but a lot of rain can cause problems.

“Folks can’t get in their gardens if it’s too wet,” Becker said, adding anytime it rains a lot diseases start to set in.

Storms tend to move fungus into the area, according to Becker, and wind and rain have a lot to do with spreading disease as well.

He recommends that home gardeners spray fungicide on their plants before it rains.

To be successful, he also recommends getting out — even in the rain — and scouting the garden to see what is happening to plants.

“It is important to identify any problems and find a control before it sets in and there is no hope,” Becker said.

He also believes in taking advantage of the rain.

“In a month or two, we might not get any,” he said, adding he promotes rain water harvesting. “Collect it now (in rain barrels) while we’re getting it, to use when we don’t have it.”

 

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