The drenching rain that fell a week ago Friday and subsequent showers just may have saved Harford farmers from losing a portion of the soybean crop.
About 1.31 inches of rainfall was recorded at Aberdeen Proving Ground during the daylong rain that fell Aug. 6, according to APG meteorological technician Roger Renfro. He said that only 1.62 inches of rain fell the entire month of June, well below the average of 3.41 inches.
"Until last week it didn't look good," said Robert D. Halman, agriculture agent for the Harford County Extension Service. "We didn't have any pods [for soybeans] and the situation looked bleak. But now that we've had some rain we have pods."
The corn situation, however, is different.
Farmers growing corn for produce and feed grain have already shown losses in the the 20 percent range, according to Mr.
Halman. He said that more than 100,000 acres of corn is being grown throughout the county.
Farms in the southern portion of the county seem to have been more affected by the weather than those in the northern end.
Wayne Jones, owner of Produce Farm on Route 7 in Edgewood, says that he has harvested about 60 percent of his 60 acres of sweet corn and his losses are about 20 percent. He said his late corn should not be affected and that his remaining crops are irrigated.
"I haven't put a dollar figure on our losses yet," he said, "but it will be substantial."
Perryman farmer Brownie Pearce hasn't harvested any of his 1,025 acres of corn but said that, after surveying his crop, he estimates that he'll lose slightly more than 20 percent.
He said the soybean crop was unaffected.
"Soybeans have a tendency to lay dormant during excessively hot weather," he said. "But since we've had some rain lately I can see some real growth."
Meanwhile, Doug Kirk, who with his brother, Don, operates a produce stand in Forest Hill, said he has had very little crop loss due to the heat and drought.
"We got enough rain to protect our crops," he said.
Mr. Kirk said that he has harvested about 12 of his 35 acres of sweet corn.
Orchards in the county suffered no substantial damage since almost all are irrigated. Zandra Lohr, of Lohr's Orchard in Churchville, said that their peaches, plums and apples are all on schedule and that the 10 acres of sweet corn show no damage or loss.
Judy Johnson of Susquehanna Orchard in Delta, Pa., said that the early peaches were much smaller than average because of (( the lack of rain.
She said the orchard, which is not irrigated, is just now getting on schedule with peaches and apples because of recent rain.