The Franklin News-Post|
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Staff Photo by Stacey Hairston:
A massive corn harvester from Anderson Tractor is used to chop corn for Oakes Dairy Farm Tuesday afternoon. The corn will feed cows and their offspring this winter. Above, the machine fills large trucks that will take the corn to farm for fermenting.
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
By KEN BRADLEY - Staff Writer
The hot, dry weather and lack of adequate rainfall is taking a toll on farmer's crops in Franklin County.
Cynthia Martel, agriculture specialist with the Virginia Cooperative Extension, said corn yields will be down, and corn silage yields and quality will be low because of the drought conditions.
"I've visited several farms in Franklin County, and I can tell you that although the corn stalks are green in the fields, the corn ears are small and will produce lower than normal yields," said Martel.
Martel said soybean crops are faring better than corn crops.
"Of the soybean fields I've seen, they are looking okay, but not great," Martel said.
The dry conditions are also taking a toll on hay, Martel said.
"Some farmers are telling me that they are not getting a second cutting of hay," Martel said. "And those that do, the yields and quality will be low."
Dairy farmers are also struggling to keep their cows from suffering heat stress, Martel said.
"Some dairy farmers have fans blowing in their barns to help keep the cows cool," Martel said. "And during milking, they are using sprinkler systems to cool down the cows with water."
When cows are stressed by heat, they produce less milk, Martel said.
The drought conditions are the worst in the eastern part of Franklin County, while the western part is not affected as badly, Martel said.
Even so, Martel said Franklin County is in better shape than in neighboring Pittsylvania County.
Martel said the worst hit areas by drought nationwide are in the Midwest, where there are some crop failures with others producing much lower yields.
"This is going to affect prices everywhere," Martel added.