MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Farmers across Alabama are picking up the pieces after Zeta rolled through, destroying crops and damaging structures.
Alabama Farmers Federation officials said cotton appears to be the most impacted. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Crop Progress and Condition Report, more than 40% of the cotton crop was still in the field.
“We have farmers who are reporting a complete loss on any cotton they had not yet harvested,” said Carla Hornady, Alabama Farmers Federation Cotton; Soybean; and Wheat & Feed Grain divisions director. “For those who do still have a salvageable crop, the quality and yield will be much lower than anticipated before Zeta. It’s devastating, especially for our farmers in Alabama’s Black Belt and coastal counties.”
Monroe County Farmer Federation President Joe Jordan said he planned to start picking his 494 acres of cotton in the first week of November.
“If you drove past the field the day before, it was just completely white with cotton. When we drove by Thursday morning, all you could see were brown stalks,” Jordan said. “All the cotton has been knocked off the ground. It’s pretty rough.”
ALFA officials said farmers also reported damage to soybean crops as high winds from Zeta whipped the stalks around, making harvest more difficult. Power outages also create concerns for farmers who rely on electric-powered wells to provide water to their homes and livestock.
Zeta made landfall in Wednesday afternoon in Louisiana as a category 2 storm.
According to data from the USDA, over one million bales of cotton were produced in Alabama in 2018-2019.