Meanwhile, on the western end of the Florida Panhandle, the corn crop is a mixed bag, says Libbie Johnson, Escambia County Extension agent.

“We have some corn that looks like it’s ready to start tasseling, and some that’s just over knee high,” said Johnson in early June. “Our corn crop is all over the board. I won’t say that the crop is above-average at this early stage, but our irrigated corn looks really good. Other fields don’t look as good.”

Escambia County had 3,200 acres of corn in 2012, and Johnson estimates that number will be closer to 4,200 acres this year.

Some of the county’s corn was slowed by lingering cool springtime temperatures, says Johnson, but it appears to be growing out of early season problems. Dry weather conditions affect growers in Escambia County because only about one-fourth of the corn acres are irrigated, she says.

Some farmers in the county are growing corn for the first time this year, she says.

“Our new growers are approaching it cautiously. They’re doing their research and not throwing everything at it. They’re putting corn on their best ground to give it the best chance. Most of the new corn acreage has shifted from peanuts, and farmers here will grow cotton regardless of what happens,” says Johnson.

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