Local farms faring better than rest of nation

by Bill Nachman - Posted on Jul 18, 2012 - 02:17 PM

Photo: Gloucester farmer Ben South sprays herbicides on his soybeans Tuesday afternoon in this field off Indian Road. South said the extreme heat has caused this year's corn crop to suffer and said he is focusing on keeping the soybeans healthy now. Photo by Quinton Sheppard.

Gloucester farmer Ben South sprays herbicides on his soybeans Tuesday afternoon in this field off Indian Road. South said the extreme heat has caused this year's corn crop to suffer and said he is focusing on keeping the soybeans healthy now. Photo by Quinton Sheppard.

The Middle Peninsula has fared better than many other parts of Virginia and the nation in terms of the overall crop production being affected by a shortfall of rain, Extension agent David Moore said.

Moore, who is based in Middlesex and also covers Gloucester and Mathews counties, said that that damage to crops has been "pretty spotty" throughout the region, especially hard hitting to corn. Some farms have experienced a 50 percent loss while others have experienced no loss—a much better picture than other areas have experienced.

Mathews farmers have been fortunate because the soils there are very loamy compared to the sandy soils of Gloucester and Middlesex, Moore said. The further up the Middle Peninsula one goes and onto the Northern Neck, the more damage there is in the fields, he said.

Meanwhile, Keith Balderson, an Extension agent based in Essex County, said that corn crops in the counties of King and Queen, King William, Essex, Caroline, Northumberland, Richmond and Westmoreland have been hurt by the recent very hot temperatures and little rainfall.