Rain eases drought, aids thirsty crops

Michelle Andujar - Staff writer

LUMBERTON — The rain and thunderstorms of recent days, which are expected to continue through Tuesday, may have dampened the spirits of people with outdoor plans, but local farmers — and their thirsty crops — are happy.

“It has been extremely dry in our area” and the county has been suffering through “a moderate drought,” said Mac Malloy, field crops agent with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, Robeson County Center.

As of Thursday afternoon, only 3.91 inches of rain have fallen on Robeson County since April 1, according to the National Weather Service office in Wilmington. That is 4.4 inches fewer than the same time period in 2017.

It’s been so dry lately in Robeson County that farmers who were planting soy, cotton and peanuts had to stop, Malloy said. But they have started planting again, thanks to the recent rain.

Many plants are benefiting from the rain, Malloy said. The commercial vegetable crops are getting the water they need and wheat crops that will be harvested in two to three weeks are being infused with needed moisture. Strawberry crops and some cotton, peanut and soybean fields also needed the rain, according to Malloy.

Malloy said he is glad to see the rain.

So are family gardeners who are getting a break from irrigating their tomato plant, cucumbers, beans, squash and other vegetables that are popular.

The year-to-date rainfall total for Robeson County is 9.24 inches, according to the National Weather Service, more than 4 inches below the normal total of 13.33 inches for this time of the year.

Michelle Andujar

Staff writer