Severe drought impacts Olanta hay farmer


OLANTA, S.C. (WBTW)– According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, some parts of the Pee Dee remain in the severe drought category despite recent rain. One Olanta farmer said the weather has affected his crops.

“Normally, we start baling at the end of May, so right now we are somewhere in the two-to-three-week range behind where we normally are,” Warren E. Coker said. Coker owns Warren e. Coker Farm in Olanta, where he grows hay.

“The drought with the hay business, it hurt us a little bit because it set us back from being able to get our first cutting back as soon as we’d like to,” Coker said. Hay is harvested in a three-day process. After it is cut, it must lay in the field before being baled.

“We need at least a three day window of no rain,” Coker said, “And of course in South Carolina that’s pretty hard to do in the summertime.” After a late start due to the drought, there’s now too much rain to cut the hay. If the hay or the ground is too wet, farmers risk defects like mold.

“Right now, all our grass is ready to cut and ready to go, all we need is some dry weather so we can cut it and bale it,” Coker said, “You just deal with what you got and make the best of it.” Coker said he is not too worried, but is unsure how it will affect his bottom line.

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