Crops suffering in drought conditions across the state
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SALISBURY--Some crops are starting to suffer because of drought conditions in North Carolina.
Advisories stretch across the Piedmont and the coast, though we're still in the least severe categories.
The heat wave and a dry summer thus far still has many in the agricultural community concerned. Experts say corn is getting hit hardest and it shows at the Piedmont Research Station in Rowan County.
"In the last two weeks because of the higher than normal temperatures we're seeing stress to our corn and soy bean plants," said Joe Hampton, Superintendent of the Piedmont Research Station.
Data is collected at the station around the clock, examining the effects of heat and dry weather on the crops.
"This is important to know how plants respond to these stresses," said Hampton.
North Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture, Steve Troxler, said the consecutive days of high temperatures combined with little to no rain affects all crops right now.
“The most damaged right now is corn crops, this is the time that corn really does have to have rain and it can’t stand this type of heat,” said Troxler.
Irrigation systems at the Research Station help show the difference between what corn should look like, and how it looks for much of the region.
"On our general crop land we have the same stresses to our crops that the farmers in the community would have. The plant is trying to control the loss of moisture so it's curling up trying to protect itself," said Hampton.
He said the corn at the Research Station will be harvested about three weeks early this year reducing the amount of feed next year for the 300 head of cattle and 26,000 chickens.
"We need a certain number of bushels to feed our cattle, if our crops don't produce those then we'll be required then to buy that from another producer," said Hampton.
A threat not just here, but to the $72 billion a year industry for the state.
“It’s too early to say that we’re in a long term drought and like I said the heat is a big factor,” said Troxler.
Next week a relief may be in the forecast with temperatures dropping to the 80s and chances of rain.
For more information on drought conditions in your area and how to respond, visit NC Drought