State's corn crops parched by record heat

Posted July 20, 2011

— Record-high temperatures and widespread drought have plagued North Carolina throughout June and July, hitting the state's staple crops hard. Corn crops, in particular, are suffering under a nationwide heat wave.

Agriculture officials have grouped North Carolina with Indiana, Illinois, Kansas and Texas for having the most damaged corn crops this season.

"In my opinion, it's one of the worst corn crops in recent memory," said Vance Tyson, who grows 300 to 400 acres of corn in the Gray's Creek area of southern Cumberland County.

Agriculture extension agent Colby Lambert estimated that 80 percent of the crop in Cumberland County is damaged or ruined.

"We had a lot of corn that just didn't pollinate due to the heat wave we had in June," Lambert said. State's corn crops parched by record heat State's corn crops parched by record heat

The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says 40 percent of the state's corn crop is considered poor or very poor, and summer temperatures are only expected to get hotter.

"Corn is not one of those things that enjoy intense heat," Tyson said. "It should be deep green (and) pretty. Instead, it's crispy (and) toasty."

Other crops are suffering as well. Soybeans, for example, are "not growing at all right now," Lambert said.

Tyson guessed he would harvest a half crop of corn "at the very best" this season, but he said there's no use in complaining.

"There are things the farmer can't control, and the weather is one of them," he said. "The Lord gives you what he wants to give you, and we just hope for another year."


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  • Rebelyell55 Jul 21, 2011

    Spivey farms has great silver queen, at a good price. The water their crops. But the season is over I think. The field corn is what taking a beating, and I love me some field corn, not as sweet. As for the picture that WRAL is showing, that fungus is considered very valuable up north. They cut it off and fry it up to make some kind of sauce. They charge a whole lot for it. I saw this in a TV program several years back.

  • skiduke Jul 21, 2011

    hello popcorn!

  • RDM Jul 21, 2011

    There is nothing normal about the weather pattern this last 4 years. We have lived and farmed in a drought. This year started extremely early with high tempertures. Temperatures of 95 degrees can kill pollination on corn. We don't usually get those temps until usually later in the summers. No water and extreme heat is the perfect storm for crop failure. Those who make their living farming are very stressed now- Praying they can pay pay the bills.

  • EZeegoing Jul 20, 2011

    "I Wish They Grew Some Silver Queen Around Here."

    Now you're talking good eating.

  • HeadPro Jul 20, 2011

    Big woop! NC summers have always been hot... at least for the last years of my life.. Leave it to WRAL to sensationalize the NORMAL!!!

  • bigal02282 Jul 20, 2011

    Most of the corn being grown isn't for consumption. By humans anyway. The corn is field corn and is used for animal feed and ethanol, corn syrups and stuff like that. Very little of the corn grown is actually the kind we'd eat. Should only affect the prices of beef, chicken and pork.

  • megathrasher Jul 20, 2011

    We will all pay for this thanks to mandatory ethanol fuels sold at the pump. Fuel which, by the way, gives you worse gas mileage and rusts internal engine components. But the corn farmer will just pass the rising costs on to the taxpayers. Thank you corn lobby.

  • keepin_it_real_is_a_liberal Jul 20, 2011

    Yay... higher food prices on the way!

  • EZeegoing Jul 20, 2011

    And the hits just keep on coming with prices at the grocery store.

  • mfarmer1 Jul 20, 2011

    I Have Noticed Some Of The Corn Crops In Cumberland County Having Issues Of Being Dry And It Looks Like Dieing.

    I Wish They Grew Some Silver Queen Around Here.