FORT VALLEY, Ga. — "Corn sheds its pollen usually between 9:00 and 11:00 in the morning. Usually, it's a little two-hour period in there after sunrise," Kyle Bohnenstiehl with Milner Farms said.
He keeps a close eye on his corn crop he planted back in March before the drought hit Central Georgia. "This drought hit at a very unfortunate time for corn because it was pollinating and silking and growing actively," Bohnenstiehl said.
Bohnenstiehl says every 300 bushels per acre needs about 24 inches of water for a good Georgia corn crop each year. "In the heat of the day, say from 2-5 p.m., even if the soil is saturated, you can see corn leaves roll up, twist up -- looks like a pineapple almost," he said.
Normally, he expects to get 8-10 inches from rainfall, and the rest from the irrigation system, but with the dry weather, he's had to rely entirely on his own water supply.
"If you didn't have irrigation on your corn, gosh, I don't know how you'd get through a dry period like this. It could flat out die," Bohnenstiehl said.
Unlike corn, cotton can handle heat for longer periods of time, as long as it's been planted early enough to establish its roots.
"Any of the cotton that was planted from April 20th through about May 10th is going to look pretty good. Anything that's planted after May 10th, May 15th really had a tough go. If it was able to germinate and come up above the ground, it was so hot and dry that sensitive young vegetation just died," Bohnenstiehl said.
With the expected rain chances, he's ready to see his crop flourish.
"Never say no to a rain in Georgia," he said.
Bohnenstiehl says they pump 1,600 gallons of water a minute through his irrigation system, which drove his electric bill up to $400 a day during the dry heat stretch.