Rain brings drops of hope

Published 10:30 am Saturday, August 7, 2010

SEDLEY—Crop farmer Richard Cutchins liked what he saw Friday morning — perked-up green plants.

“They were dried up,” Cutchins said.

That was before his Sedley farm received a total of 1.6 inches of rain on Wednesday and Thursday.

“This could help the peanuts, if we get some more rain,” Cutchins said. “I don’t know about the cotton and soybeans. Some of them stopped growing.”

He still hopes to save at least half of 400 acres of cotton and half of his 200 acres of soybeans. It’s too early to say what will happen to his 300 acres of peanuts, but Cutchins knows he won’t get a 100 percent harvest.

The immediate weather forecast is not in his favor.

According to meteorologist Lyle Alexander with the National Weather Service in Wakefield, it will be in the mid- to high 80s this weekend and back into the mid and upper 90s next week with light rain in sight. The next chance of any significant rain is Thursday.

Franklin received 1.46 inches of rain Wednesday and Thursday, according to the Weather Channel’s website, www.weather.com. In Wakefield, .78 inches of rain fell Thursday and .72 inches on Wednesday. As for July, 1.08 inches of rain fell, compared to the normal of 4.75 inches. Suffolk had 2.62 inches of rain in July, compared to a normal of 5.2 inches.

The dry July coupled with nearly 10 days of record-breaking, 100-plus-degree heat resulted in a 70 percent loss of Southampton County’s corn crop. The same is estimated for neighboring Isle of Wight County.

The Southampton County Board of Supervisors has asked the Gov. Bob McDonnell to declare the county a disaster so farmers can qualify for government aid. Isle of Wight supervisors plan to do the same at their Aug. 19 meeting.