Source: Paul Hollis, Southeast Farm Press
Dry weather conditions and unusually high temperatures in parts of the lower Southeast through mid-August, especially in southeast Alabama, extensively stressed the state's cotton crop.
Heat and drought devastated a high percentage of Alabama's cotton crop, according to Ron Smith, Auburn University Extension entomologist. "Fields that had good moisture up until July 23 were shedding everything from stress by July 30. In my opinion, this stress has cut about four weeks off our cotton production season. Within a few more days the only fruit remaining on the plants will be bolls that are more than 20 days old," he said in August.
By mid-August, topsoil moisture was rated very short to short in more than 70 percent of Alabama fields and no fields were showing a surplus of moisture. Alabama's National Agricultural Statistics Service says that a general lack of rainfall throughout most of the state was accompanied by temperatures at or above 100 degrees F., and average stream flows dropped below the 10th and 25th percentile range. Abnormally dry and moderately dry conditions expanded from the central-eastern region to the southern area of the state.