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All S.C. counties declared drought-free

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The lifting of drought status for six S.C. counties left the state officially drought-free and the future of corn and soybean crops looking bright.

During a Wednesday conference call, the S.C. Drought Response Committee removed the incipient drought declaration for  Clarendon, Florence, Georgetown, Horry, Marion, and WiIliamsburg counties. Recent rainfall alleviated drought conditions in those counties and maintained normal conditions elsewhere in the state, according to a news release from the S.C. Department of Natural Resources.

“Recent rains have relieved stress on crops,” Blake Badger, Williamsburg County Farm Service executive director, said in the release. “Much of the corn crop would have experienced greatly reduced yields if the rain had come one week later. Producers are wide-open, finishing up the planting of soybeans in fields that were too dry to plant just a few weeks ago. While it wouldn’t take more than a week or two of hot, dry weather to see crop conditions diminish, most producers are happy with field conditions as they stand."

A SCDNR hydrology report showed that recent rain relieved declining streamflows and continued to help maintain lake elevations and groundwater levels. Good news also came from S.C. Forestry Commission fire staff, with the organization’s Leslie Woodham reporting that there have been few forest fires in the past weeks.

“Even areas that were in the incipient stages of drought have remained relatively fire-free due to higher humidities and the green-up of vegetation,” Woodham said.

Though a few isolated locations have received less than three inches of rain in the last 30 days, most of the state has received rainfall averaging from four to 10 inches, according to the release.

Reach Melinda Waldrop at 803-726-7542.

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