Corn growing better this year

Published 9:43 am Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Sweet corn is for sale at Grayson and Emma’s Garden Spot on Southampton Parkway, Courtland. -- Hattie Francis | TIDEWATER NEWS

FRANKLIN—Southampton County in some areas in recent weeks has received more than 3 inches of rain and in others, 1½ inches.

With the rain comes green grass, green crops, and for the first time in several years, green corn stalks.

“It all has to do with timely rain for all the corn to be looking as good as it has,” said Mark Pope, who raises corn on Cedar View Farms in Drewryville and expects to produce 1,000 ears per acre.

Jason Drake of Drake Farms in Newsoms said the rain has also helped his corn.

“It’s been better mainly because of the rain we’ve been getting,” he said.

Drake took additional steps.

“The strip-till practice we plant with allows the corn to handle the dry spell we had earlier this year” he said. “Having the rainfall in June, and so far in July, has helped 100 percent.”

Franklin-area farmer Walt Young warned that while the corn looks good right now, there have been some dry days, including on Tuesday when it climbed into the high 90s.

“We’ve still got a ways to go,” Young said. “A lot of these newer hybrids of corn just stay green. A little bit of moisture — I think they stay green and just look better.”

The green can be deceiving, he noted.

“It depends a lot on the ears,” Young said. “If the ears are pollinated, and we can get a little more rain to fill them out, I think we can make a good crop.”

He planted about 100 acres this year, less than normal because of past seasons. Just enough corn was planted so that if the crop does not produce as planned, they have enough to “run cattle in case of failure,” he said.