MARYVILLE (WATE) – Several days of rain is giving East Tennessee a much-needed break from hot and dry conditions. Many farmers say they are welcoming the wet weather, especially when it comes to their hard hit corn crop.
The Coning family farm in Maryville has received nearly four inches of rain in the last 24 hours, which is more than they've seen in over a month.
Albert Coning says he hopes the rain will be enough to save the remaining corn crop.
"Another rain in the week will make it, make it something which is better than nothing, which is what we have now," said Coning, owner of the family-run farm on Taylor Road.
The last month of dry, hot weather killed five acres of Coning's corn crop.
"Stalks dried up and turned brown," he said.
But Coning has been farming for more than 60 years and knows to plant crops in rotation.
"In that time, sometimes you're going to have bad weather, sometimes good," he said.
Coning's routine is to plant a different batch each week for a month so there is a staggered growth schedule.
Right now there is corn to fill their family market, but there will be shortage soon.
"We're going to have a gap here from now until two weeks," Coning explained.
He said it is difficult to tell if the shortage will cause prices to rise.
"It's hard to tell at this point, but you won't be able to get good corn just anywhere," he said.
Coning has several fields of corn now, but where it should be well over six feet by now it barely reaches his shoulders.
If his crop does survive, there's a good chance the corn will be small.
"You'll have to buy two dozen to get one," he said.
Corn, cantaloupe and watermelon are the Coning family's biggest crops and at this point it is hard to say how much profit they might have lost.
"We just have to take what comes each day and just deal with it," Coning said. "What happens today, well, you never know."
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