Rain critical for saving local corn crop

Published 10:48 am Tuesday, July 6, 2010

ISLE OF WIGHT—A lack of rain means local farmers are probably already experiencing losses to their corn crop, said Janet Spencer, a Virginia Agriculture Extension Agent with Isle of Wight County.

“It’s extremely dry right now to the point that we will probably start to see crop loss for grains such as corn,” Spencer said this morning. “If we start getting rain, other crops will probably be okay.”

Those would include peanuts, soybeans and cotton.

With only a slight chance of rain forecast for Thursday and a slightly better chance on Saturday, it doesn’t look like the situation will improve.

“The forecast is looking pretty dry right now,” Spencer said.

Several days of record-breaking temperatures that hovered around 100 in late June didn’t help matters.

“It’s just like humans. Hot weather can take a toll on crops as well,” Spencer said. “(When it’s hot, crops) have to give off more water and can start to shut down as well. We are in extreme desperate need for rain.”

Most of the corn grown in Isle of Wight County is for animal feed.

Although corn stalks are tall, the corn ears are still in development — a critical time for water, Spencer said.

Peanuts have not reached the critical stage for rain, but once they blossom, they will.

“When they start to flower, that’s when water is critical,” Spencer said.