Even though it’s not quite the end of the month yet, the National Ag Statistics Service released this February summary of the crop conditions across Georgia. The rain has really done a number on farmers in most of the state this year.
February 24, 2020 GEORGIA: February temperatures were on average 1 to 6 degrees warmer than historical values. Total rainfall for the month ranged from 1.8 inches in Glynn County to 19.1 inches in Cherokee County. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, less than 1 percent of the state had moderate drought conditions throughout the month. Frequent and prolonged rain events flooded ponds, pastures, small grains, and row crop fields throughout the state for much of the month. In many areas, the unfavorable weather led to winter grazing remaining too insufficient to offset hay and grain feeding. Since the fall drought resulted in short supplies of hay, and since weather patterns resulted in limited grazing potential, some cattle operators had only a small reserve of hay stocks while others were driving increasing distances to purchase hay. Saturated pastures made providing hay to cattle difficult. Despite the weather and feed limitations, cattle were in fair to good condition overall. Only producers in the southernmost counties were able to enter fields between rain events to prepare them for spring planting as well as apply fertilizers and pesticides on small grains and winter grazing. The remainder of the state was generally precluded from fieldwork, especially fertilizer applications, which resulted in small grains showing signs of nutrient deficiencies in many areas. However, some producers were able to spread fertilizers and pesticides through aerial applications, thus improving their small grain condition. Some small grain fields and pastures with good drainage had average to above-average growth and quality from the unseasonably warm temperatures. Vegetable growers in several counties battled disease problems brought on by the wet conditions. Likewise, the spring onion crop struggled with disease pressure because wet weather prevented fungicide applications. Fruit trees began to bloom. Pecan growers pruned trees and planted new ones.