06/29/05 — Rain beneficial to area crops, especially corn

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Rain beneficial to area crops, especially corn

By Karinne Young
Published in News on June 29, 2005 1:45 PM

Wayne County received some much-welcomed rain over the past 24 hours.

Most of the county received at least an inch of rain overnight and today.

Farmers were especially happy to see the skies darken. Crops have been suffering as only scattered showers have fallen in the past few weeks.

"It's been very beneficial, wonderful," county extension agent Kevin Johnson said today. "Now we need the rainfall to be consistent, with a half-inch to an inch every week or two."

Johnson, a field crop specialist, said cornfields were especially in need of water. Some fields in the southern part of the county were already considered a loss, he said, but most of the county's corn crop will benefit from the rain.

Johnson said slightly moderating temperatures expected to begin this weekend prove a bonus to farmers. He estimated that corn plants in the northern part of the county should begin to tassel in the next week or two, a sign they are reaching the critical pollination stage, when a lack of moisture or too much hot weather can cause the ears to fail to fill out completely.

Sweet corn in gardens has already tasseled, Johnson said, and should be all right. Much of it has been irrigated, he added.

The rain was also good to tobacco. Although a drought-hardy crop, the plants had become uneven, "but now it should catch up," Johnson said.

Cotton was never in dire straights as its critical development time comes later in the summer, he added.

More rain is expected today and tonight, late Thursday and again on Friday as a "cold" front approaches.