By admin       2018-10-16

Cotton is Alabama's top crop in terms of value, and the expectation was for a record high yield of cotton this year. About 10 percent of the crop was harvested just before Hurricane Michael's journey into the state. "We were at the most inopportune time for a storm to hit us, when cotton is being defoliated and the fibers are exposed on the plant and harvest has begun," said Birdsong, the Alabama agronomist. "That's when the cotton is most vulnerable to any kind of disastrous damage." Birdsong estimates about 1 million bales of cotton could be lost due to Hurricane Michael. He said Houston County in Alabama suffered the worst storm damage, followed by surrounding counties of Dale, Geneva and Henry. "Not only does southeast Alabama have a lot of cotton makers, but this storm went on into Georgia, where they have about 1 million acres or so," he said. "Eventually the market will see that supply isn't coming in, and the price of cotton could go on up." Some spring corn acreage was blown down by the hurricane in Alabama, but Birdsong said damage isn't anything like the cotton sector suffered. He also said the peanut crop had some impacts in Alabama and Georgia but the biggest challenge is the loss of power and damage to infrastructure, including some peanut elevators blown down. "The peanut industry was in decent shape where they were at in the harvest season, but now it's the handling issues with the crop," he said. "All these peanuts have to be dried whenever they are harvested. And you don't have the electricity to put peanuts into the warehouse.

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