Rain a blessing, puts crops back on schedule


THOMASVILLE — Late last week, a Thomas County farmer lamented the future of his crops. On Tuesday, he said weekend rain saved his cotton and peanuts.

“It’s made everything start growing, even the weeds,” said Ken Hickey, who, along with family members, farms 3,400 acres in north Thomas County.

Thomas County went from abnormally dry to moderate drought in recent weeks, said Sydni Barwick, Thomas County agriculture and natural resources extension agent.

Crops were desperate for moisture and at a standstill before the weekend’s heavy rain, which reached 3.5 inches in some parts of the county.

The moisture will help crops better tolerate the heat, Barwick said.

“This is a blessing,” Barwick said, in reference to recent rain.

Also, she said, farmers will not have to irrigate, resulting in saving money on electricity, diesel fuel and manpower.

Barwick pointed out that heavy rain that falls quickly washes away and does not have time to penetrate the soil.

More rain will be needed in late June when crops are flowering.

Hickey, a Thomas County commissioner, had 2,400 ares of cotton and 640 acres of peanuts in the ground when the lack of rain began to take a toll.

Recent low humidity combined with no rain and unusually high temperatures was a formula for crop disaster, he said.

The rain put his crops back on a proper growing schedule.

“An inch of rain a week would be ideal growing conditions,” Hickey said.


Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820