Cool temps OK for crops

Published 12:18 am Saturday, March 29, 2014

Russell Wiggins said only the citrus trees have suffered in the cold on his family’s farm.

Russell Wiggins said only the citrus trees have suffered in the cold on his family’s farm.










Weather slows corn farmers; shouldn’t delay local planting of peanuts, cotton

Already this year, residents of south Alabama have seen the extreme side of Mother Nature, and few people pay closer attention to the weather than farmers.

At Wiggins Farm in Andalusia, Russell Wiggins said the bitter cold that came in January and February shouldn’t have a lasting effect on his crops.

“We plant peanuts and cotton,” Wiggins said. “As far as the cold weather, it hasn’t really affected us.”

Wiggins said planting season doesn’t begin until late April or early May, plenty of time for the soil to warm up to optimal temperatures.

“If the soil warms up to about 65 degrees at four inches deep for three days in a week, that’s a sign we’re about ready to plant,” Wiggins said.

But, while the Wiggins aren’t expecting any weather-related delays to this year’s crop, he said other farmers and ranchers in the area haven’t been as lucky.

“There are some guys planting corn around here, and the weather has delayed them a little,” he said. “There are a lot of people with short grass because of the cold weather. That hurts grazing.”

Wiggins said, at his own farm, they have seen a decline in citrus fruit due to the cold weather.

“We have a few citrus trees, and we lost probably 75 percent of the fruit this year, but we don’t really depend on them,” he said.

What the family does depend on is the cotton and peanuts that will grow on their farm between early summer and mid-winter.

“We have 3,000 acres,” Wiggins said. “We usually start harvesting the peanuts in September and the cotton in October. We kind of shoot to be done by Thanksgiving, but that doesn’t always happen. The latest harvest we’ve had was in February in