07/11/07 — Rain fell too late for some corn

View Archive

Rain fell too late for some corn

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on July 11, 2007 1:46 PM

Tuesday's thunderstorms may have drenched much of Wayne County, but the rain likely came too late to help much of the county's corn crop.

Between one to two inches of rain fell across most of the county, giving some relief to fields of cotton, tobacco and soybeans. Corn, on the other hand, was another story.

State Extension Agent Kevin Johnson said that the timing of the latest rain for corn was just a little too late.

"A lot of the corn is already hurt," Johnson said. "The rain helped some, but the damage happened about two to three weeks ago."

Corn requires a large amount of water to do well, and needs it most in June, when the plants tassel and make their ears.

"With corn, you have two weeks or it's ruined," said Johnson, referring to the period when the plants make ears or don't.

"Now, the crop wasn't ruined by any means, but there will be a 35 to 40 percent drop in production this year," Johnson said.

"The farmers yield 120 bushels on average a year and this year, they will probably only yield 80 bushels," he said.

Wayne farmers planted more corn this year than they have in many years because of the expectation of higher prices. The demand for corn for use as a fuel additive prompted the increase. But a dry spring did not help corn across much of the South. Johnson said many growers plan to file for federal relief because of the drought.

Meanwhile, growers continue to hold out high hopes for other crops that should benefit from Tuesday's rain.

Cotton started to bloom last week, and Johnson said that there is still a big window of opportunity for the crop to do well. Tobacco and soybeans also have a chance to still make good yields, he said.

"Tobacco is a tough crop," he said, "and soybeans have a lot of time yet to make it."

More rain was forecast for today and Thursday, with a 60 percent chance of showers today and a 30 percent chance Thursday.