We heard from Ben Knox, regional agronomist in the western piedmont about two weeks ago about hail damage on strawberries, leafy greens and wheat. At that time, the jury was still out on wheat, now Knox says that the damage is significant on the fields that were hit:
“I would say that there is an area near the Rowan / Iredell county line where about 40-50 acres will show a yield loss of about 50-60%”
Knox explains that the hail damage at first seemed minimal, but with time and further inspection:
“A lot of the bigger stems that were looked at the first time seemed ok. But when we went back a second time we saw that a lot of them had been broken off below the head, therefore no grain on that stem.”
On his own farm, Knox says the hail damage is significant:
“On our farm about 40% of our wheat was affected. Of that 40% probably half of that is going to have a very low yield. One neighbor has the same situation.”
Kent Messick, North Carolina’s chief agronomist says overall, the wheat looks pretty good:
“I think the crop is still very encouraging. There is good potential there for a second year of very good wheat yields. I don’t know if it will beat last year’s record, but it still very encouraging. We have gone through a period of great concern about late freeze because of the abnormal weather, but now that we are in early April I think growers are breathing easier now.”
And there’s nothing in the long-range forecast to indicate possible freezing temperatures.
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