Unlike many places in the country where the ground is parched and cracked and crops are shriveling in the fields, many of Edgecombe County’s crops appear to have escaped damage from the blistering temperatures. But even with that, the jury is still out on the corn.
Edgecombe County Cooperative Extension Director Art Bradley said time will reveal whether or not the consecutive days of 100-degree heat and blistering sun will have a bearing on the corn.
"It could cause ears not to fully form and less ears on stalks," Bradley said.
While the extreme heat has been unforgiving, it has also helped deliver summer storms, which have produced a substantial amount of rain. Bradley said the rain is the reason the crops are not suffering.
"We are better off than we were in other years due to the drought," he said. "We normally have dry conditions around about this time,"
Bradley said cotton crops are blooming, although the substantial rains delayed them.
Edgecombe County Extension Agent Bob Filburn said the heat might have damaged vegetables crops.
"When the temperature reaches 94 degrees and above it affects the flowering of the plant," Filburn said. "In some cases it causes them to produce more male flowers than female. That's a problem.
"Right now the gardeners may see flowers and may think their plants are okay. "It could be later when the vegetables show the effect of the heat.
Temperatures are predicted to soar in the mid 90s again this week with the heat index reaching as high as 105 on Thursday before cooling down a bit over the weekend. High temperatures are then forecast to return for the start of next week.
According to the Edgecombe County Economic Development Department, agriculture is the county’s largest economic contributor and is also the county’s largest working landscape The 300 farm enterprises operating in the county produced $146 million in farm gate sales in 2007.