Irrigation Being Used on Carolina Corn Crop in Spite of Rain

James Russell Boyd, Washington and Beaufort County NC farmer installed quite a bit of irrigation this year, and in spite of some timely rains, he’s used the irrigation systems this year:

“Yes, I am. Where we’re using some flood control devices in the canals, in the Blacklands the land will wick, we’re pumping water on like 2,000 acres, we pumping the canals full with water control devices keeping it like two-feet from the top of the ground.”

As far as the corn crop this year, Boyd is quite pleased:

“We’ve got about 3,800 acres planted, of the 3,800 acres we had about 34 acres when we had all that water two or three weeks ago…we had about 36, 38 acres that the water got, but the rest of it is good to excellent.”

And the corn is tassling, according to Boyd:

“It’s all tassling now, in fact we’re putting Headliner on now over the top. We’ve had the Headliner for two years where we couldn’t spray it because the corn wasn’t any good last year except on irrigation.”

As far as cotton, Boyd says it’s really taken off:

“The cotton looks good, with the cold weather up to last week…when you can sleep under a blanket, cotton isn’t doing good. But, when it warmed up at night the cotton took off, it’s really growing pretty.”

As far as cutting back his cotton acreage due to price, Boyd says they didn’t do that:

“No, we didn’t alter it any. We have wheat, cotton, corn, and soybeans. And we had about 1,400 acres of wheat, we got all the beans planted back, and the rest of is what we intended. We didn’t alter anything.”

Boyd’s farm was at the top of the state average on wheat yields this year:

“Our wheat was really good, we probably averaged between 78 and 80 bushels on the whole 1,400 acres.”

While corn harvest is quite a ways off, Boyd says that he can already tell that the yield difference between irrigated and non-irrigated corn is going to be significant:

“I know there’s a lot of difference because there’s never been a year that with a week or two that made a lot of difference in the yield and we’ve already been through that. I mean, the corn that’s non-irrigated is going to probably what? Run about 170 bushels or so. The irrigated corn is going to be up there around 270. I mean just for the 10 days that we could water when we were waiting on a shower…now we got two inches of rain night before last, the whole way across and that made a lot of difference, but we could still water when we needed it, and that kept it from going into the wilt stage.”

Even though pollination is complete on the corn crop Boyd plans to continue irrigation on corn the remainder of the season:

“And now that the corn has tassled and pollinated, our goal is to not let it wilt and not to let the ground dry out under the corn.”

James Russell Boyd farms in Beaufort and Washington Counties, in North Carolina. 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.