Moderate drought affecting crops across Grand Strand, Pee Dee regions

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FLORENCE COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW)– The U.S. Drought Monitor places the Grand Strand and Pee Dee in the moderate drought category. One family that owns a farm said the drought is now affecting the crops.

“I can’t tell you the last time we had a storm around here,” Aaron Smith said, “Maybe just bad luck but we’ve been missed by most of them.” Smith’s family owns a farm near Olanta. They’ve leased the land to farmers for more than 10 years.

“We only picked up about two-tenths of an inch of rain which isn’t going to do much when it’s already dry.” Farmers got a late start this year because the ground was too wet to plant when the growing season started.

“Went from too wet which delayed planting to now it’s hot and dry,” agronomy agent David DeWitt with the Clemson Extension Office said, “Plants, just like humans, they need moisture too.” DeWitt said corn has usually grown to about shoulder-height by this time in the season, but the plants in Smith’s fields stand at just over a foot.

“Every day we go into this, that’s less potential income for the farmer,” DeWitt said, “We’re getting on the edge of where if this continues for much longer, then we’re in a really dire situation.” Rain chances next week could help alleviate the drought. Smith said if large amounts of rain comes soon enough, the yield may be unaffected.

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