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Finally, rain!

Local farmers and gardeners are breathing a sigh of relief as rain showers continue to come down throughout Covington County.

For many residents, the rains that began Monday were a welcome sight. For local farmers, it was a sign that this year’s hay and row crops could “turn around” after weeks without rain.

Doyle Barnes, the county’s U.S. Dept. of Agricul-ture’s farm service agent, described the rain as “very much needed.”

“To begin with our crops were two to four weeks behind schedule because of the rain back in May,” Barnes said. “Then there was no rain. It was hot and dry. Now, we’ve got scattered storms everywhere. Mostly every one in the county got some rain over the last two days, and it looks like it’s going to continue on through the week.”

Forecasts show scattered thunderstorms through Saturday, and again next week.

Official rain totals were not available from the National Weather Service, Barnes said Tuesday morning he had seen 7 inches of rain at his east Covington County home since Sunday.

“With this rain, farmers are hoping it was early enough to help the peanuts and the cotton,” Barnes said. “Right now, both are up to a good stand, but it’s a long time between now and harvest. Earlier planted corn has made it pretty well already. If we’d had another rain or two before now, it would have helped. Some of the later planted corn was hurt, but for the corn crop — it’s a done deal.”

Barnes said cattle farmers were especially glad for the rain.

“For pastures and hay, this rain is definitely going to help,” he said. “The grass is looking better already. The hay crop should make a turn around if we have enough rain. It had been so dry, farmers were already having to feed hay to cows.

“So this rain is going to help our cattlemen on two fronts – both in producing hay and in saving hay for the winter,” he said.