Corn Is Main County Crop Affected By Recent Hot Weather
Photos by Trish DeHond (Clemson Extension)
The recent hot weather is having an effect on some crops in Dillon County.
Corn, cotton, soybeans, tobacco, and grain sorghum are grown this time of year, according to Trish DeHond, Clemson Extension Agent and member of the State Drought Response Committee, representing agricultural interests in the Northeast Region of South Carolina (Kershaw, Lancaster, Lee, Chesterfield, Darlington, Dillon, Marlboro, Florence, Marion, and Horry Counties).
The corn crop seems to be the most affected. “The recent hot weather has mostly affected the corn crop by limiting its ability to fill out the grain during what is called the ‘dough stage.’ Fortunately, weather conditions this year were much better during the pollination period for corn, which is a critical time of the growing season,” said DeHond.
When asked how the hot weather will affect this year’s yields, DeHond said, “We had an ‘excellent’ corn crop up until recently, when hot, dry conditions changed our prediction to a ‘good’ corn crop. Fortunately, much of our corn crop was planted early (in February rather than March), since we had a relatively warm winter. The early planted corn will ripen earlier, thus avoiding some of the drought conditions affecting later planted corn.“
“Since conditions were good this year during corn pollination, the number of kernels per ear will be normal or above average, but the weight per kernel will be decreased compared what it could have been if conditions were perfect. Lower weight affects yield, but might be compensated by having more kernels.Obviously, a lower yield impacts farmers’ income,” DeHond continued.
When asked how that compares to last year, DeHond said, “Last year (2011) conditions during corn pollination were hot and dry, so pollination was very poor. In addition to poor pollination, some of the upper kernels aborted (failed to fill out at all), resulting in a condition called ‘blank tip’ or ‘barren tip.’ Each ear of corn had fewer kernels than normal, in some cases with the top third to top half of the cob was completely bare. This would result in a very poor yield.”
For more information on the State Drought Response Program, go to http://www.dnr. sc. gov/climate/sco/ Drought/ drought_response_program.php