Heavy rains could impact north Alabama agriculture


ELKMONT, Ala. – The first few weeks of 2020 are officially in the books, and it’s safe to say that it’s been abnormally wet around North Alabama.

So far, Huntsville has gotten 6.78 inches of rain for the month of January. That number is coming from the official rainfall reporting station in Huntsville.

We still have a week and a half left in the month and are already coming in at three inches above average.

“We have all of January’s rain plus half of February’s rain already so any more rain that that’s going to get us probably into a top 15 or a top 10 wettest January’s since 1894,” said WHNT News 19 Chief Meteorologist Jason Simpson.

So how does that impact North Alabama farmers who are up against Mother Nature when it comes to how well their commodities produce? WHNT News 19 spoke with a farmer in Elkmont to see how this is impacting agriculture.

Jessie Hobbs is a fifth-generation farmer, tending to thousands of acres. He says the recent rainfall can be a blessing or a curse, depending on what commodity is being grown.

“Is the glass half full, or half-empty? We always say it’s half full. Because I’m at the mercy of nature every day,” said Jessie Hobbs.

Hobbs says they have 1,000 acres of winter wheat. Parts of which have been damaged by increased rainfall.

“It was a little slow about coming out of the ground in its emergence but it looks pretty good right now. Some of the lower spots are getting drowned out and you will see that come summer,” said Hobbs.

But there are benefits to this rainy season.

“When we get those ninety, hundred-degree heat index days, corn and soybean definitely need water. Now cotton is a little more drought hearted than the other two. That’s why we try to be diversified and have a lot of different crops,” said Hobbs.

WHNT News 19s Chief Meteorologist Jason Simpson says the early months of the year during the cold season is typically the wettest season for North Alabama and Southern Tennessee.

“We’re charging up groundwater, we are building full pools in the lake around here to get them ready for the dryer season later in the year,” said Simpson.

“My biggest fear is we get all of the rain in the wintertime and not get any in the spring or summer and that’s when we definitely need it,” said Hobbs.

Hobbs Farm in Elkmont rotates the production of seven different commodities: corn, cotton, canola, pumpkins, soybean, wheat, and sweet corn.

Jessie Hobbs says right now they are in maintenance season, but it’s always a waiting game to see if enough rain will fall for good production.

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