06/26/12 — Rain helps corn

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Rain helps corn

By Steve Herring
Published in News on June 26, 2012 1:46 PM

Monday night's downpour was a million dollar rain coming at a critical time for Wayne County's corn crop -- especially with temperatures forecast to hit triple digits by the weekend and remain there through the first of next week.

"The rain came just in time," said John Sanderson, Extension Service field crop agent. "We needed it really badly. It was very timely. It was critical.

"We are in good shape now. We are past the critical pollination stage on the majority of the corn. If the temperatures get above 95, we don't have to worry about pollination. That (heat) is hard on us and all of the crops."

Sanderson said sections of southern Wayne County also benefited from heavy weekend rain. However, that storm was across a narrow band of the county.

As of early this morning, Sanderson said he had not yet had a chance to look at rainfall totals countywide.

According to the National Weather Service's Raleigh office, more than an inch of rain fell on the county Monday night.

Recent rains, combined with milder temperatures, have helped the crop prosper, unlike last year when drought and sizzling temperatures claimed about 70 percent of the corn crop -- a loss of almost $11 million.

Milder weather also set the stage for farmers to enjoy a good planting season, Sanderson said. The acreage is similar to last year's planting of about 26,000 acres.

Also, the crop has been spared from disease and insect problems, Sanderson said.

While last night's rain came at a good time, more is still needed.

"It is still very critical," Sanderson said. "We still have got to fill the grain out. It will take a couple of weeks to completely make the crop.

"Any more rain from this point out will help us increase the harvest yields."