Farmers hoping heat wave doesn’t last long

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WINTERVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – The hottest days of summer are here. Temperatures soaring into the 90’s with heat index values over 100.

Big money crops like cotton and tobacco handle the hot, dry weather just fine, but some fruits and vegetables may be in jeopardy. Andy McLawhorn is a farmer in Pitt County.

“Next week if it stays this hot and this dry I will be in trouble,” says McLawhorn. “Right now, I’m ok.”

Luckily the corn crop is at the end of its growth cycle in late July. Plants are drying up with the lack of rain but McLawhorn doesn’t expect much of an impact on sweet corn. Crops like peanuts, tomatoes, squash, and cucumbers can also handle the heat but they do need at least some rain, about an inch a week. As the soil dries up, having a fresh harvest at the end of summer could be an issue.

“My first crop of warm season stuff is finishing and I’m replanting it and it’s really difficult to get it to germinate when it’s 100 degrees, hot and dry,” says McLawhorn.

Crops like cantaloupes and watermelon do extremely well in the hot weather.

“They like hot dry weather. It makes the sugar content higher in the fruit. I think the same is true for lots of fruits,” says McLawhorn.

Summertime fruits may taste sweeter but the vegetable harvest could come to an early end if the heat wave drags on.

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