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Rainfall ‘too much, too late’ for Halifax County

This week’s rainfall came too late in the season to provide any real help for Halifax County’s agricultural community, according to Bruce Pearce, Halifax County Soil and Water Conservation District manager. “Four or five days ago it would have been a blessing,” said Pearce Thursday. “Now the days are getting shorter, and the growing season is over.”

Although the rain that fell in Halifax County Monday, Wednesday and Thursday may help tobacco crops somewhat by facilitating the leaching of fertilizer into the soil, it is making it difficult for farmers to harvest their tobacco crops, Pearce said.

“It’s hard for farmers to get into their fields to harvest their tobacco because it’s so wet,” he explained.

The National Weather Service reported 1.2 inches of rain Sunday, 1.57 inches Monday and 1.32 inches Tuesday, but many county residents reported higher totals.

“Some places in the county had up to 6.5 inches,” Pearce said. “I had 5.5 inches in my rain gauge, but they really had it rough in North Carolina. I talked with my nephew Wednesday night, and he said they had 11 inches of rain in Wilmington.”

Prior to the rainfall Sunday, the National Weather Service reported only 0.13 inches of rain the entire month of September.

The soil and water conservation district manager explained how the dry weather negatively affected county pastures.

“This last dry spell devastated grasses in pastures in the county,” said Pearce. “It cooked the grasses, completely dried them out. Orchard grass and fescue grass are cool season grasses that grow mostly in the spring and fall.”

Unfortunately, farmers are at the mercy of the weather. A good balance of sunshine and rain can make a farmer successful in his or her endeavor, but a drought situation like we have had over the summer makes it that much harder for the farmer.

“It hasn’t been the best of years for the agricultural community,” said Pearce. “But it’s just part of the beast we have to deal with as farmers.”