ATHENS, Ga. — March temperatures ranged from 0.5 to 5.7 degrees warmer than historical averages depending on location. Total rainfall for the month ranged from 1.7 inches in Worth County to 7.0 inches in Carroll County. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 17 percent of the state had abnormally dry conditions and 5 percent had moderate drought conditions by month’s end, compared to 13 percent abnormally dry and 3 percent moderate drought at the beginning of the month.
Georgia temperatures fluctuated greatly from several days of freezing temperatures to warmer days above 80 degrees. The late freeze damaged many fruit trees across the state. Peaches were noted to have sustained significant damage in northern Georgia since most varieties were in full bloom during the freeze events. Abundant rainfall in some areas delayed farmers from prepping fields for spring planting. Winter grazing and cool season pastures were set back due to the freezing temperatures; however, they are now bouncing back with milder temperatures and adequate rainfall. Livestock conditions were mostly good; however, hay supplies ran low in some areas. Muddy ground caused by heavy rainfall was causing concern for foot conditions for livestock. Spring calving was also noted to be going well for cattle producers. The growth of wheat, rye and oats were reported to be relatively good, although some wheat fields were burned due to the freezing temperatures. Wheat and oats were reaching peak pollination with many fields receiving a final fungicide application. Wet soil conditions were an issue in harvesting of early Vidalia onions. Growers were making preventative sprays for downy mildew in the Vidalia onion crop. Corn planting began across the state during the month with emerged corn damaged from the freezing temperatures. The damage is not expected to be severe since the growing point was still underground and protected. Fields were being burned down in preperation for spring planting if peanuts, cotton, and soybeans.