Lack of rain dampens Alabama cotton crop yields - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Lack of rain dampens Alabama cotton crop yields

(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)
PIKE CO., AL (WSFA) -

Thankfully we have seen some rain in the past 36 hours. Even still, currently 60 percent of the state is abnormally dry. The lack of rain fall has put a major damper on some farmers' hopes for a good harvest, in particular cotton farmers.

"This field of cotton isn't nearly as good as I though it would be two to three weeks ago," said Steve Ingram as he surveyed his cotton field.

Ingram has 250 acres of cotton in Pike County, but after his fields went through an extremely dry month, at least half of his crop is now hurt.

"Three weeks ago I thought it may be possible that we could make as good of crop as we ever made. The potential was there. I would say we are hurting anywhere from 50-75 percent on most of our crop now," said Ingram.

For many of the cotton farms in the area, Ingram says the average yield is 800 to 900 pounds an acre. Instead now he believes many of the fields could see closer to 600. To make matters worse, prices for cotton, along with other crops, are even less than they were this time last year.

"There's going to be some good crops made, but there's going to be a lot of stuff we are going to be disappointed in and we needed it all. It's hard enough to make ends meet. It's a lot of money difference. It's a difference between going in and paying your bills and not," Ingram said.

Cotton farmers still have some time left before they will start harvesting the crop. Until then, Ingram says he's crossing his fingers, praying, and "hoping the good Lord will make every one of them bolls weigh a lot more than we think they are."

Experts say the hot days also accelerated the growing season, impacting produce farmers. In fact, Prattville Farmers Market closed early.

City leaders say it was scheduled to go through the end of this month but with the unusual weather and the end of crops for most of it's farmers, the doors are closed until next year.

Experts want to remind you not all farmers are out of produce. Many curbside stands and Montgomery farmers markets are still open.

Copyright 2014 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.

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