08/12/05 — Crops doing well in Duplin despite hot, dry weather

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Crops doing well in Duplin despite hot, dry weather

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on August 12, 2005 1:46 PM

KENANSVILLE -- Duplin County farmers are keeping a close eye on the weather as crops reach a critical point in their development. Despite the hot temperatures of the past few weeks and dry conditions for much of the summer crops are doing well, said agriculture officials.

Extension Service agent Curtis Fountain said more rain is needed for cotton and soybeans.

"Many of our crops now are in their greatest demand period from a water and optimum temperature standpoint," he said. "We're in a period of time our soybeans, cotton and peanuts need an inch of water every week, and once air temperatures get above 90 degrees our plants tend to just shut down."

Tobacco harvesting has been under way for several weeks, he said. Corn has reached its productive stage and is now beginning to dry out. Corn-pickers will likely start hitting the fields in a few weeks. Fountain said the corn crop looks good.

Fountain said the buyout of the federal tobacco quota has led many farmers to abandon the crop and that production has shifted more toward the northern end of the county.

"We're seeing in Duplin County we have fewer producers as a result of the buy-out, and we are also seeing tobacco acreage shift to the northern half of the county," he said.

Fountain said an accurate estimate of the number of acres of tobacco under cultivation wasn't available but he said he believes the acreage will be about the same as last year. A number of farmers are growing tobacco this year, waiting to see how they will fair in the open-market system.