Floyd Countys farmers.
Ever since they planted their crops this spring, Charles Bagwell and Calvin Stinson have been watching weather reports closely, hoping for enough rain to grow their plants.
The rain hasnt exactly poured with the current rainfall amount 9.73 inches below normal for the year and 2.63 inches below average for May and the sun hasnt relented.
The mercury has hovered at near-record levels for several days. Wednesdays high of 97 tied the record set in 1954. Tuesdays high was a record-setting 97 degrees, Mondays 97 was just two degrees shy of the record set in 1941, and Sundays 97 degrees tied the record high also set in 1941, according to the National Weather Service.
The plants are holding in there, but if we dont get some rain in another week, Ill start to worry, said Stinson, who owns a cotton farm on Morton Bend Road. The cotton is growing, but its not growing a lot. It does well with the hot weather. But its just like everything else it cant grow without rain.
Not only are the plants suffering, but the livestock is struggling in the heat as well. Bagwell, who grows corn and hay at his dairy farm in Cave Spring, said his cattle need a break from the heat.
This hot weather is really stressing the cattle. They dont want to eat when it gets this hot, and when they dont eat, the milk production is down, he said. So far, Bagwells milk production is down about 20 percent, he added. The longer the heat stays up, the more it (production) will go down.
The NWS predicts showers and thunderstorms today and a temperature drop lasting through the weekend, and Floyds farmers hope forecasters are right.
Were praying for rain every day, said Todd Hice, director of the USDAs Farm Service Agencys Rome office. From the reports Ive heard, most all the crops in the ground are suffering. Some farmers have even quit planting and are waiting for more moisture. Its not quite to the critical stage, but it will be in another three to four weeks if something doesnt give.
Even if the rain doesnt come, Stinson said, just a slight break from the heat will make a difference. Its amazing how a little cooler weather will help, if it doesnt get too hot and burn down any of the crops in the meantime, he said.