Local News

Drought, Heat Taking Toll on Crops

Posted August 9, 2007 10:53 p.m. EDT

— This week’s hot weather is having an impact on the drought, and farmers say they’re struggling. Some say the drought has destroyed half of their crop.

Johnny Smith has 300 acres of brown corn, stretched out like a giant burlap canvass on his 600-acre farm in Eastover.

“It should be head high and green with a big ear on it,” Smith said.

Instead, the ears are shriveled up. In his estimation, he has lost half his corn.

Cumberland County extension agent Colby Lambert said corn is suffering most. He figures the drought and wilting heat have eaten away half of the county's $3 million crop.

“Right now, it’s looking pretty bad,” Lambert said.

Soybeans are withering, too.

“Right now, our soybean crop is looking very critical, because I’m seeing plants dying in the field,” he said.

Lambert says up to half of the county's soybean crop could be gone, and it's not just for lack of rain.

“Crops, pretty much when it gets 95 degrees or hotter, they shut down growth,” he said.

Then there's tobacco, which is now being harvested. Lambert said the heat wave has snuffed out some of that crop.

“There’s just no weight to the leaves because it has been so dry. And it’s hard for the farmers to cure the tobacco right now,” he said.

Smith said these are the worst conditions he has seen in years.

“The cows don’t have no grass, and it’s tough,” he said.