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Crop Yields Burned by Drought, Heat

Posted August 10, 2007

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— Hot, dry weather is withering crops across North Carolina, state agriculture officials said Friday.

Yields are down significantly for corn, cotton, soybeans and peanuts, state Department of Agriculture officials said in a new crop report. The apple and peach crops were already ravaged by a mid-April freeze.

Meanwhile, tobacco production is ahead of last year's pace, the report said.

Corn yields are expected to drop to 94 bushels an acre from last year's record of 132 bushels. Overall corn production should drop 1 percent from a year ago, but Department of Agriculture spokesman Brian Long said that is because the acreage planted statewide is up about 26 percent.

Soybean yields are forecast to drop from 32 bushels an acre to 27 bushels, peanut yields are expected to drop by 10 percent and corn production is expected to be down to 682 pounds per acre from 713 pounds, according to the report.

The report is based on surveys conducted at the beginning of August, so it doesn't reflect the searing heat the region has experienced this week, Long said.

"If we don't get some rain, it's only going to get worse," he said.

An Easter weekend freeze decimated peach and apple crops, and any North Carolina-grown fruit showing up at local farmers' markets has jumped in price as a result, Long said.

"It's still really early for some of these crops to know what the true impact for consumers is going to be," he said.

Yields for both flue-cured and burley tobacco are expected to be slightly ahead of 2006, but Long said officials are worried about hay production, which is forecast to be down about 15 percent from a year ago, and its impact on animals over the coming winter.

Rain is the only solution to the problem, Long said.

"Pray for rain," he said. "If we get some good, sustained rain, some of these crops may be able to bounce back."


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  • ltbarkley Aug 12, 2007

    My parents recently moved into Clayton - lots of farms out there. There has been NO rain for a VERY long time. Im in Raleigh, and every time it rains here, Ive talked to them - no rain there. Not a drop.

  • lolly Aug 11, 2007

    "but we have a two-bit, part-time legislature that is already at home taking bribes and extorting their consitutants in one means or another."

    I second that Steve.

  • Steve Crisp Aug 10, 2007

    "where is Steve Troxler?"

    What is he supposed to do? He can't make it rain. He can't pay for statewide irrigation. He might be able to loosen credit markets to provide low-interest bridge loans to farmers, but all he can do is cajole; he has no regulatory power to force financial institutions to do anything. He can possibly lobby Congress to get rid of subsidies and allotments allowing prices to stabilize via supply and demand, but Iowa, Kansas and other mid-western states would squash him like a bug. He can't even offer any legislative support because we are the tenth largest state, but we have a two-bit, part-time legislature that is already at home taking bribes and extorting their consitutants in one means or another.

    About all he can do is have his office staff and the Agriculture Extension Service be available for financial, agricultural, systems, and market advice -- which it already does a fine job at doing.

    So what would you have him do?

  • gottabenc Aug 10, 2007

    So why hasn't Steve Troxler been in the news suppoting his families in farming. You think the Commuissioner would want to be communicating with the population in NC regarding how he will be helping those in agriculture through this tough year.

    First the freeze in April and now the loss of crops from no rain.

    Where or where is Steve Troxler ?

  • Smorgas_Of_Borg Aug 10, 2007

    Yes, farming is some of the toughest work in the land. But, there's a 'trickle down' effect that you probably won't see mentioned in the news items about lower crop yields and pricing concerns. For many years, the farmers of NC have allowed certain charity groups to go into the fields after they are harvested. They are allowed to 'glean' whatever is left in the fields to take to those who need food supply assistance. With this drought, it appears there will be very little edible produce left in the fields for the gleaners. Rev RB, say a prayer for those besides the farmers and consumers whom this will affect in a harsh way. I know I will.

  • gopanthers Aug 10, 2007

    crncrnd - Haven't you heard China is trying to kill us. First Pet Food - then toothpaste - then people food then toys and I just recently heard there are some bad tires and that brings me to a question. Have I missed the covrerage on that one or has the coverage not started yet. Anyone else hear something about bad tires being made in China. Wish I could remember the Brands (there was like 3 of them) off the wall names. Maybe I was dreaming on the Tire Issue but we should take note with those other products I brought up. And we want to still import from China?

  • Adelinthe Aug 10, 2007

    Such a shame, hurting those who work at some of the hardest jobs in existence to make a living.

    Praying for them.

    Hopefully the ruined crops will be able to go to some good - like feeding the fodder/forage animals. They don't care how dry the corn is, and they love the stalks and leaves, green or brown.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • paddie Aug 10, 2007

    staliafe and Raleighrob, thanks for your kind words to farmers. I've been doing rain dances every night for weeks and all I get are complaints from the neighbors. lol.

  • RaleighRob Aug 10, 2007

    If we could only cut off the supply to all the lawn sprinklers at these suburban McMansions and send it over to the farmers who really need it. If only.

  • zodad Aug 10, 2007

    Elizabeth is a very fine weather person. I just get tired of her elaborating on the definition of dewpoint 129 zillion times a week. lol.