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More rain could damage North Carolina crops

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -

Officials say more heavy rains could cause crop damage in North Carolina.
    
The state already has suffered from unusually cool and wet conditions, The Charlotte Observer reported.
    
Farmers have been forced to delay planting. Experts say growing and harvesting will be at least three weeks later than normal.
    
John Mueller with Clemson University's Edisto Research and Education Center says heavy rains predicted for most of the week will only make matters worse.
    
"If it rains as much as they predict in the next few days, we'll start at 10 percent yield losses and then move up," Mueller said. "You can't fight Mother Nature. If it's going to rain 2 or 3 inches, there's nothing we can do to stop it. There's no way we can work around it. We just have to do the best we can."
    
The National Weather Service reports more than 7 inches of rain fell in the Charlotte area last month. That's more than twice the normal rainfall.
    
The North Carolina Department of Agriculture said last week that 43 percent of the land in the Piedmont was wetter than ideal. Temperatures also averaged 2 degrees below normal.
    
Dave Blackley with Renfrow Hardware in Matthews says customers are coming in daily with questions about how to deal with plant fungi.
    
Growers have had to invest more time and work into their products this season, Blackley said, and "they're just frustrated."

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