Tuesday, June 18, 2024

‘Dog Days’ Of Summer

carroll smith
Carroll Smith,

According to the Farmers’ Almanac, the “Dog Days” of summer are from July 3 to Aug. 11 each year. “They’re usually the hottest and most unbearable days of the season,” the publication said. “We often hear about the “Dog Days” of summer, but few know where the expression originated. Some think it’s a reference to the hot, sultry days that are “not fit for a dog.” Others suggest it’s the time of year when the extreme heat drives dogs mad.”

No matter where the expression came from, the dog days of summer got an early start in many parts of the Cotton Belt this year. It’s been miserably hot and dry — enough so to drive not only dogs but farmers mad as well. But despite the oppressive heat, August is the month of the cotton growing season when we experience a lull of sorts. Planting is behind us, and the hectic harvest season is not quite here yet for many areas. Most of the agronomic tasks have been completed or are in the process of wrapping up.

However, because of the climatic conditions we are experiencing and the variance in the crop stage depending on planting date, cotton farmers who have irrigation capability are still putting on water in some cases. 

With that in mind, be sure to check out the article on page 10 — “Irrigation Safety And Lightning.” Thunderstorms and lightning can pop up unexpectedly during the summer and may create an electrical charge on a pivot. Clemson University Extension agents strongly advise investing in a voltage tester, which allows you to check for voltage in wires or devices without users having to touch any electrical parts.

“Lightning can strike an area before, after and in the absence of rain, so it is good to get in the habit of using a tester to check a system each time before touching it,” said Charles Davis, Clemson Extension row crop agent for Calhoun and Richland counties, South Carolina. “It could save your life.”

Something else you may want to consider is putting in a pollinator habitat field on your farm, which brings biodiversity and sustainability to the operation. And even though certain crops, like cotton and corn, are self-pollinating, numerous additional benefits — such as increasing the weight of cotton bolls — can still be seen by incorporating pollinator fields.

And don’t forget you are not alone out there. Your cotton consultant is putting in some long, hot days, too, as they walk the fields assessing the crop’s progress. Take a minute to recognize their efforts on your behalf by nominating him or her for the 2022 Cotton Consultant of the Year award. Go to www.cot
tonfarming.com/ccoy to let us know how important they are to your operation’s success. I look forward to hearing from you! 

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