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With Sunshine Farmers Begin Late Harvest

Two of several cotton pickers working the field in an effort to get as much cotton out as possible before more rain moves in.

Mike Williamson pointed out some of the damaged bolls in his field.

Brothers Pat and Mike Williamson wait as a Boll Buggy is filled with cotton from one of several pickers working a field on the Shaw place near County Road 91. The dry spell brought out farmers all over Yalobusha County, working to save what’s left of their 2009 crop.

Chris “Tom Cat” Caldwell works the module builder preparing cotton to be loaded on a truck for shipment to the gin.

By Jack Gurner

YALOBUSHA – The sun came out this weekend and county farmers hit the fields trying to save what’s left of their 2009 crop.

“They’re trying to get as much out as possible by working as many hours as they can and as hard as they can before this next rain comes in,” said Steve Cummings, county agent for the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

The National Weather Service reports that the area has been through one of the wettest periods ever. In the northwest corner of the county, the Enid Lake field office recorded 11.11 inches of rain in September and already another 7-plus inches for October.

That’s almost 19 inches with ten days left in the two month period.  Normally the area averages about 6.5 inches in September and October.

“The crops have already been severely damaged,” Cummings added. “It’s very serious.”

But, that’s not news to Mike Williamson and his younger brother, Pat, who took advantage of the break in the weather to pick cotton on the Shaw place near County Road 91.

The first 19 acres is only going to produce about 14 bales, the older Williamson said Monday afternoon. “That’s not good.”

To make matters worse, this year’s crop looked very promising from the start, said Cummings. “They had a top crop and there is absolutely nothing they could have done to prevent this.”

The Farm Service Agency (FSA) has scheduled a meeting Thursday in Coffeeville to discuss the losses and fill out damage reports, Cummings added. “Mississippi State and Farm Bureau have asked us to give an estimate of damage.”

“It won’t be exact, but we can put our heads together and come up with something close. We’re estimating from 35 to 50 percent right now and maybe more.”

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