Pitt County farmers concerned about early summer heat wave

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WINTERVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Tuesday was another scorching hot day across the East and farmers are starting to get a little concerned. They’re hoping that rain comes soon. For the past 2 weeks, rain has been scarce in Pitt County. It’s also the 13th day in a row with temperatures above 90 degrees. Andy McLawhorn owns a small farm just outside of Winterville. He’s had a tough time keeping his crops from wilting in the early summer heat.

“The moisture content is critical for a plant to be able to survive this type of heat” said McLawhorn, who owns the Renston Garden Market.

But that’s not his only worry. High heat and high humidity have also been bad for pick-your-own business.

“We probably are running 15-20% behind what we did last year as far as pick your own customers” said McLawhorn.

He’s had to close up shop during the hottest part of the day since the heat wave started. Heat like this certainly isn’t unprecedented, so many crops that are grown here can handle it as long as they’re watered. It may end up doing a number on crops like soybeans and corn though.

“Corn tassels in the above 95 degree temperature will kill the pollen on the corn” noted McLawhorn.

But the hot weather is actually helping one crop on the farm.

“I have about 50 apple trees that have fire blight and above 95 kills fire blight so they’re actually doing better than they did last year” said McLawhorn.

The rest of the crops will have to hang on until cooler and wetter days arrive.

Good news is on the way though. Cooler temperatures and better chances for rain are expected by the weekend.

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