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Hot, dry spring worrying south Alabama farmers

June 1, 2019

HEADLAND, Ala. (AP) — The hot, dry spring is worrying farmers in southeast Alabama.

Curry Parker of Headland told WSFA-TV that he is trying to protect his corn crop with irrigation amid days with high temperatures in the 90s. But young plants are delicate, and it’s been nearly three weeks without rain in the area.

“We’re trying to water everything we can,” said Parker.

The U.S. Drought Monitor reported Thursday that nearly half of Alabama was experiencing abnormally dry conditions or a moderate drought, and the driest areas include land around Parker’s farm.

The soil is dry and plants are brown as ground temperatures soar above 120 degrees. The excessive heat can affect corn by killing pollen, and the result is smaller crops, said agronomist William Birdsong.

“This 100-degree temperature does bring concern affecting corn pollination,” said Birdsong. “It can be devastating to the yield.”

Some cotton growers have delayed planting because of the weather. Temperatures are predicted to remain in the mid- to upper 90s in southeast Alabama through mid-June.

Parker makes rounds to check his crops daily amid sweltering temperatures, and the hum of his irrigation system pumping water is constant.

“We’re not switching it off. We have some irrigation wells that have been running for two weeks and haven’t been switched off,” said Parker.

With no substantial rain or cooler weather in sight, Parker planned a prayer meeting at his farm on Friday to ask God for help.

“He says, ‘Ask and I will give.’ In the morning, we’re going to have a prayer meeting and we’re going to ask and I know He’s going to give,” Parker said beforehand.

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Information from: WSFA-TV, http://www.wsfa.com/

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