Normie Buehring, the agronomist at the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Verona, said the fields were planted late because of heavy rains in May, but since then, the plants have battled hot, dry weather.
“We’ll take any rain we get,” Buehring said. “We need at least an inch or two a week to keep the crop growing.”
With temperatures in the 90s since early June, much of the soil moisture has evaporated, he said.
According to the most recent report from the USDA, soil moisture in Mississippi last week was rated 13 percent very short, 36 percent short and 51 percent adequate.
“Scattered showers across the state were a welcome relief, but the damage already done may be unrecoverable for some fields,” the state report said. “Plants are quickly maturing in the warm weather, but producers are worried that yields may be below average if the dry weather continues.”
Buehring said he expects the crop yield in Northeast Mississippi to be down unless the weather turns around this fall and there’s a late frost.
He also said that the center’s fields are running behind schedule. For example, the cotton plants normally bloom around July 1. This year, Buehring said the plants are on track to bloom around Aug. 1.
“It’s been a tough year after the late rains,” he said.
MSU last week said the state’s corn crop is off to a good start but needs more rain.
According to the June 30 USDA’s acreage report, Mississippi has planted 750,000 acres of corn.
MSU said hot, dry weather during June and July has lowered expectations for the state’s corn crop, particularly for dryland fields.
“The irrigated crop could be some of the best we’ve had in recent years, but the dryland crop has a way to go,” said Erick Larson, grain crops specialist with the Extension Service.
“Rainfall throughout much of the state has been very scattered and generally much lower than normal during June and July, when corn needs it most. Therefore, dryland corn in areas where there hasn’t been much rain at all will be relatively poor.”
Contact Carlie Kollath at (662) 678-1598 or firstname.lastname@example.org.