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Cotton crop flourishing during drought

Right now, North Alabama is experiencing record breaking hot and dry weather. Jackson, Marshall, Limestone, and Madison counties are all in severe droughts. Thi...

Right now, North Alabama is experiencing record breaking hot and dry weather. Jackson, Marshall, Limestone, and Madison counties are all in severe droughts.

This may make you think crops are being negatively impacted, but if you drive down Highway 53, you will see fields of bright white cotton.

Owner of McDonald Farms, Russ McDonald, said, “We’ve done a really good job of defoliating the cotton, getting all the leaves off, getting all the bolls to pop open, and it makes it a lot easier to pick. The bright white color, I’m sure everybody has noticed how pretty it is this year. It’s because none of the cotton has been rained on since it’s been open.”

McDonald sas the bright white cotton you see was planted early. He says they are having problems with the crops that were planted a little later.

McDonald Farms has focused on planting drought-resistant cotton over the past seven to eight years to help combat Alabama’s hot and dry weather.
This has helped the crop to flourish during the drought, but the heat is taking a toll on the farmers.

“It’s very tough on equipment and people to operate in these high temperatures. No one has ever picked this much cotton like in 95 to 100 degree heat. It’s rare. Not in my lifetime, so it’s tough on people, tough on equipment,” said McDonald.

McDonald says they began picking cotton around early last week and that it’s yielding more than normal.

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