Dry spell doesn't mean drought But some crops could use some drops

July 02, 1993|By Shanon D. Murray | Shanon D. Murray,Staff Writer

Although June was a relatively dry month, a National Weather Service forecaster said yesterday that there is no drought in sight.

Last month, 2.56 inches of rain were recorded at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, 1.11 inches below normal.

"Even though the grass doesn't look very nice right now, we've had dryer Junes than this," said Fred Davis, a National Weather Service meteorologist. "There is no drought, not even a critically dry spell."

But growers of soybeans and corn, which need a lot of moisture, are vulnerable to a lack of rain, said M. Bruce West, spokesman for the Maryland Agricultural Statistics Service.

"Lawn owners have the option of watering their grass at an expense, of course, but field grain crops around the state are vulnerable," Mr. West said. "They can't be irrigated. If it gets very dry, they will suffer."

He said more than half of the state has been short of moisture over the last week or so, and soybeans and corn -- Maryland's major crops -- are suffering.

Charles Otto, a spokesman for the Maryland Farm Bureau, said there is major concern for the soybean crops that have already been planted.

"They may have to be replanted and we face a reduction in yields. Some farmers in Worcester County have discontinued planting the crops because of the dry weather," said Mr. Otto, a sweet corn grower on the Eastern Shore.

He is optimistic that he will be able to pick his corn crop this weekend. "But it has cost me," said Mr. Otto. "Irrigation is an expensive process."

Some relief for lawns and grain fields was on the way today as the National Weather Service forecast cool temperatures and rain. The rest of the July 4th weekend will be hot and humid with afternoon thunderstorms, the weather service said.

Mr. West said the dry weather is ideal for wheat and barley growers, who are currently harvesting their crops, and for fruit and vegetable growers.

Marguerite Wood, shopping yesterday at the Valley View Farms Garden Center and Nursery in Northwest Baltimore, said she hires a lawn service to take care of her worries.

"It seemed to be so dry these past few weeks, and this type of weather is really bringing out the insects," she said.

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