Hot weather impacting local farming communities

Greenville

When it comes to farming, eighty-six degrees is the maximum temperature for crop growth.

With elevated temperatures and recent drought in eastern North Carolina, the damage is being done to local farming communities here in Pitt County.

However, farmers are still trying to work through these high temperatures and little rain.

Farm owner Jack Allen is experiencing this first hand.

“Our crops are a lot like we are. When it gets this hot they can’t take a lot of it you know,” says Allen.

WNCT spoke with Pitt County field crops extension agent, Carrie Ortel. She explains what this weather leads to.

“Having this high prolonged temperature coupled with this drought is really taking a toll on these crops a lot of them are showing drought stress, corn shows it stressed the most so we’ve seen a lot of curled leaves, um when you see that you know it’s stressed out but more than just corn all crops are having the same impacts,” Ortel said.

Farmers can expect a reduced yield as well as possible reduced quality on crops.

Unfortunately, some of Allen’s crops are suffering already.

He explains, “Some of them are already stressed, corn crop, in particular, is in a pretty tough spot but uh you know we just do the best we can and we really can’t control the weather but uh hope for some cooler, maybe a little bit more wet days.”

If you are consuming produce, Ortel says to keep in mind that these conditions can impact the overall price of commodity crop depending on the yield.

Although farmers can’t necessarily control the weather, there are management factors that can help with their production.

One way this is achieved is through harvesting.

“When we harvest corn crop although it looks a little sad we really want to make sure to be getting it out of the ground within a timely fashion to be sure that, that quality does not degrade anymore and so even with a lower yield it’s going to be important to harvest in a timely fashion and keep that quality high,” says Ortel.

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