Corn crop starts out just great - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Corn crop starts out just great

May 17, 2006

Sasser -- We've seen dramatic weather changes this spring, and that can be bad news for South Georgia farmers. For a successful crop, most need dry, cool weather during planting followed by routine rain and warmer weather during the growing season.

But a Terrell County sweet corn grower says this year's crop is looking good-- despite an unpredictable mother nature.

From the time the seeds are in the ground, farmer Mark Daniels crosses his fingers and hopes that the weather will be on his side. "We started planting sweet corn on March 4th. It was fairly dry and fairly warm, so the crop got off to a super start, a really fast start."

A much better start to the season than last year. "Last year, we had just boo-coodles of rain. It rained and rained and rained."

That kept him from planting on schedule. "It was a booger-and-a-half trying to stay in the field often enough to get in there and get things planted. So I had gaps. My yield last year wasn't that good."

But Daniels says a dry, hot March this year allowed him to get into the fields often to plant. He had to rely on irrigation systems to water the crop until about two weeks ago. "Finally we started getting more rain about ten days ago. We used supplemental water, we keep irrigation going. But it gets really expensive, so it was really nice to see the rain."

Now, this week's below average temperatures are slowing the growth of the corn. "The hotter it is, the faster it will get ready and the cooler it is, the slower it's going to get ready."

But Daniels still expects to start picking this weekend, and the corn looks good, and tastes great too.

Farmer Mark Daniels says the worst thing that could happen now is a severe hail storm or strong winds. They can knock down the tall stalks, heavy with corn, and ruin an entire field.

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