Mississippi farmers race to harvest crops before severe weather moves in

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TUNICA CO., Miss. — Hurricane Delta’s threat of heavy rain and damaging wind has farmers in the storm’s path rushing to get their crops harvested and out of harm’s way.

Friday, Tunica County farmer David Melton keeps one eye on his combine and another on the sky, hoping to get his soybeans harvested before heavy rain and strong wind turn a good crop to bad.

“Right now, the quality of the soybeans is spectacular. We follow in here with a rain then you’ll start seeing damage, mold, that kind of thing,” Melton said.

Melton has 4,000 acres of beans, cotton and rice planted. He says farming is a family affair, and at harvest time, it’s “all hands on deck.”

When it comes to dealing with season ending storms, this isn’t Melton’s first rodeo.

“I’ve through it twice: the early 80’s and then about four or five years ago, a lot of damage in soybeans,” Melton said.

Melton isn’t alone in his battle to beat the rain. Extension agent Anthony Bland says there are two big concerns in fields where rice, beans and cotton have yet to be harvested: yield loss and quality loss. He says this is the worst time of the season for any rainfall period.

The storm creates another challenge for farmers: muddy fields that slow the harvest and put more strain on expensive equipment.

“This time of the year we’re trying to get it out as fast as we can, so that we can be done and get the land ready for the following year,” Bland said.

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