Storms that whipped through Mississippi on April 24 dumped rain in many fields needing moisture to continue spring planting, and they caused minimal damage to the young crops.
Ernie Flint, area agronomic agent with Mississippi State University’s Extension Service, said dry conditions had forced farmers to suspend planting.
“We needed rain, and some fields got 2.5 to 3 inches. Some areas, especially farther south, got much less,” Flint said. “At this point, young corn would only have some superficial damage from hail and wind. Soybeans could have been hurt more, but I haven’t heard any reports of damaged soybeans yet.”
Flint said the Big Black River is overflowing onto some corn fields, but he hopes only for a brief period.
“Most of the storm went north of the Yazoo County wheat fields. It will help that wheat is not actively heading yet because it is not top heavy,” he said. “Farmers are going to be dealing with property damage more than crop damage.”
Yazoo County Extension Director Phillip “Bubba” Vandevere Jr. said he thinks the tornado may have stayed on the ground for 40 miles across the county. Several agricultural buildings and shops were damaged or destroyed.
“The bulk of the damage is not in a row-crop area, but in pastures across rolling hills,” Vandevere said. “There is a lot of tree damage and fence damage. Farmers are still working to locate all their livestock. I know of damage to an electric fence around a cow pasture, but those cows seem to be staying in place ‘on the honor system’ until repairs can be made.”
Jerry Singleton, Extension area agent based in Leflore County, Miss., said there is some minor damage in and around Leflore County, but the storms were more beneficial than detrimental.
“We got 3 to 4.5 inches across the central Delta, and we needed it,” Singleton said. “It came hard and fast, so we had some gullies washed into turn rows, but we were needing some water in the furrows.”
Extension area agent Dennis Reginelli is based in Noxubee County, Miss., where more than 5 inches of rain fell in some places and less than an inch in others. He said some hail was reported but no crop damage.
“We needed to get moisture levels back up in fields, but with more rains predicted, it could take a while for farmers to get back to planting,” he said.