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In 2019 we have had a dry start from previous years. The last two years have been wet years and 2018 the most wet on record.
Tobacco, corn, soybeans was planted dry and the soil is tough. The dry winds and 90-degree temperatures have been taking the moisture out of the soil. Many have already started irrigating tobacco.
Most of the crop has been planted and some has stopped until moisture returns. Farming is a tough business. Most businesses know what their inventory is all the time. A farmer does not know how much they have until the end of the growing season. Farmers can mitigate against dry weather through drought-tolerant crops such as grain sorghum, wheat.
Corn has been developed for more drought tolerance. Cotton can be drought-tolerant but if you want yield and quality you must irrigate. Soybeans can be more drought-tolerant but during flowering and pod making reduces yield. N.C. State University has been working on more drought-tolerant soybeans. In the western U.S. drought tolerance is a must to grow anything.
Some areas have five years or more of drought. Farmers today have great genetics unlike 60-70 years ago due to better disease tolerance, insect tolerance and precision ag. Farmers are always willing for the most part to try new ideas, crops, methods to diversify and improve yield and create different income streams. Even after a dry year or extremely wet year, the farmer is optimistic and says next year will be better.
For more information call the Granville County Extension office at 919-603-1350 or the Person County Extension Office at 336-599-1195.
Gary Cross is the area agent for agriculture and field crops in Granville/ Person counties.