Carolina Corn Crop Showing Promise

Despite a rocky start, North Carolina’s corn crop is starting to tassle and silk right on time says Kent Messick, Chief of NCDA’s Agronomic Division:

“I saw some in the western part of the state earlier this week that was tassling and silks were out and it looked very good especially for mid-June. Its also good that we are not in one of those extreme heat periods that tends to have a significant negative impact on pollination. I’m hoping we avoid a lot of that and it will help corn in NC this year.”

The Coastal Plain and Blacklands have received so much rain this spring, but Messick says their corn seems to be coping:

“Everyone east of Raleigh, has had so much rain, we have seen some de-nitrification issues and some leaching as well. So overall the corn in many areas has some great looking corn.”

Of course, this time last year the Carolinas were experiencing record heat and dry, which hampered the corn crop significantly. Not so this year says Messick:

“It was right when corn was pollinating and in those temperatures pollen does not have a long life once its released by the top of the plant to get to the silk so it did have a negative effect on overall yield, but the crop over all statewide turned out well. It wasn’t the best crop, but it wasn’t as bad as others we have had.”

The last couple of years have seen an irrigation boom in both North & South Carolina, and it would seem that this year its not been needed. Messick says some systems have seen some use:

“It has probably been used less extensively than it would have but also the high commodity prices were an encouragement to install irrigation. I would think that the lower commodity prices are going to slow down that pace of installation but I wouldn’t look for it to totally stop because most growers have learned the value of irrigation.”

NCDA’s Agronomic Division Chief Kent Messick. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.