UGA Expert on Drought Expansion Across Georgia, Southeast
Georgia and the rest of the Southeast have seen a dramatic expansion in drought conditions. According to the latest Drought Monitor released Thursday, almost 39 percent of the region is now in a moderate drought. Pam Knox, agricultural Climatologist and director of the UGA Weather Network, describes conditions in Georgia.
“It’s way hotter than it should be, it doesn’t feel like September at all, especially late September and I think that’s really helped contribute to rapid increase of the drought,” according to Knox. “It’s interesting to know, if you look at the Drought Monitor from last week [September 19th] to this week [September 26th]in Georgia we’ve gone from 22% of the state covered by some kind s type to over 56% covered by some kind,” and that’s just in the last week. “
Knox says that’s affecting livestock producers who are already having to feed their animals hay.
“Because they don’t have enough growing plants in their pastures to feed their animals right now, and that’s bad because that means later in the winter if this continues they’re going to run out of feed or they’re going to have to go farther afield to buy it.”
In addition, peanut producers are having a harder time harvesting. But other producers are actually benefiting from the dry conditions.
“Other farmers are doing better, cotton farmers like having the dry weather because it keeps the cotton in good shape. Grape producers are doing pretty well too. Most of them irrigate their vines and if you’ve got this nice hot, dry weather, it keeps the fungal diseases down and it also concentrates the sugars in the grapes and so that makes nicer wine.”
Knox says we could see changes in October with cooler temps and rain.