Georgia’s Blueberry Crop is Growing Strong

When you think about Georgia agriculture what comes to mind? Peaches? Most likely. But blueberries? When did that happen?

Georgia tapped into the global blueberry market a little over 10 years ago and the state has since become a competitive player. This past season’s crop was projected to produce an astoundingly impressive amount, racking up 70 million pounds of blueberries from nearly 20,000 acres of orchards. In fact, blueberry production has thoroughly surpassed peach production. The Peach State now makes more money off of its blueberry crop, which is 3 times more valuable.

Harvesting the crop has been a good move for many farmers, especially growers that were experiencing difficulties with other crops, such as tobacco.

Why blueberries?

Blueberries have grown in demand among health-conscious consumers. Positive coverage coupled with heavy research on blueberries and their health, healing, and antioxidant properties is responsible for the burst of blueberry acreage in Georgia.

This sudden increase of Georgia’s blueberry crop is difficult to keep up with for federal observances. The USDA reports 14,000 acres of Georgia Blueberries, but the actual amount is probably closer to 20,000. The expectation is that the crop will continue proliferating, increasing to 24,000 to 26,000 acres within the next few years.

Competing states – New Jersey, Florida, and Michigan – are beginning to harvest the crop, emulating Georgia’s success. Georgia, however, enjoys an advantage, claiming the longest season in the U.S. lasting from mid-April through the end of July to delight in fresh Georgia Blueberries, dubbed “Sweet Georgia Blues.”

The Georgia Department of Agriculture is very supportive of all blueberry-growing initiatives, even going so far as to form a Georgia Blueberry Commission. This program, founded in 2009, was designed to support research, education, and promotion on behalf of the state’s blueberry growers.

I think it’s safe to say: Goodbye, Peach State; hello, Blueberry State.

Georgia landowner? Blueberry grower? Do you wish to convert your current land for blueberry harvesting? Contact Bankers South regarding Georgia farm credit options and agricultural financing solutions.


Cotton Influenced by Intense Rainfall

Georgia has received buckets of rainfall this season. Some cotton farmers have welcomed the rainfall, as it has increased growth in many cotton plants. Other cotton farmers, however, are less than pleased because the reverse has occurred. Less fortunate cotton plants have experienced stunted growth.

The excess of moisture has made it nearly impossible for tractors and equipment to travel in some fields. As a result, many cotton farmers are struggling to enter the field to get the necessary work done. Some cotton crop hasn’t even been dressed yet. Some cotton is drowning or completely water logged. In many areas, the crop just isn’t taking off.

Usually, an abundance of rainfall is considered advantageous to the crop. After enduring endless summers of drought, you would think that this rainfall would make a big splash, sparking increased growth and better conditions for the crop. Clearly, this has not been the case for the entirety of the crop.

Some cotton is on schedule and some is very young, creating a broad spectrum of crop. Due to the conditions, many growers, who are normally irrigating during this time or applying plant growth regulator treatments along with insect management, cannot do so. Hence, many cotton growers find themselves behind schedule.

The farmers that are experiencing the toughest conditions have planted their crop on low-lying fields. These particular fields do not drain well, so water ends up drowning the cotton. On the flip side, fields that slope are dealing with washes, which make it difficult for equipment to get through.

There is an effective solution that many farmers are implementing. Though an added expense, many growers have opted to hire airplane pilots to spray the cotton fields with chemicals or fertilizer.

Even though the conditions aren’t ideal, conditions could be much worse. Drought, for example, would be much worse. What farmers are hoping for now is for the “rain, rain to go away” and be replaced by a temporary, slightly drier spell.

As a cotton grower in Georgia, it’s important to have all of your bases covered whether you’re enduring long periods of drought or excess rainfall. Contact Bankers South Ag Lending and Financing, to learn more about our agricultural farm loans to better finance your equipment, irrigation, and operating costs.


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