Blueberry crop could indicate Florence’s agricultural impact across Pender

Blueberry crop in Rocky Point (Photo: Helen Holt/WWAY)

BURGAW, NC (WWAY) — Sunday’s heavy rain was a good soaker for area farmers especially those located across Pender County where conditions were a bit dry.

According to the Pender County Cooperative Extension Office, farmers are finishing up planting corn. Typically, they prefer to have the crop planted by May 1. Earlier this spring, they had a minor set back since the ground was soggy and wet.

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Farmers have started to plant soybeans and will continue doing so thru early June followed by wheat harvesting in mid-June.

Perhaps, one of the biggest indicators of Hurricane Florence’s agricultural impact will be this summer’s blueberry crop but Pender County Cooperative Extension Director Mike Seitz says it’s still really difficult to gauge.

He says some farms north of Burgaw have reported large sections with dead blueberry plants in fields that were inundated with weeks of standing floodwater from the massive storm last September.

In the western part of the county, many of the blueberry plants suffered significant loss of leaves due to wind damage.

This spring, there were also reports of a late frost which likely killed many blooms on blueberry plants.

Despite all the harsh weather conditions, Seitz says the blueberry plants are pretty resilient.

He says the county should have a better grip on the extent of Hurricane Florence’s damage after the crop is harvested.

Meanwhile, the first of the blueberries are just now starting to come in across the county.