Corn, tobacco harvest near in upper Southeast

The early-planted corn crop in South Carolina is not going to be much to write home about. Despite recent showers it couldn’t recover from earlier drought damage. Harvest may begin this week in some Low Country counties, with poor yields expected.

Tobacco harvest is at hand in North Carolina, while corn and soybean crops are improving in some areas of Virginia.

Here’s an in-depth look at the overall crop situation in the upper Southeast for the week ending July 27 as provided by the state USDA/NASS field offices.

North Carolina

North Carolina received between 0.13 and 4.12 inches of rain throughout the week. Williamston had the most precipitation with 4.12 inches.

Average temperatures ranged from 68 to 82 degrees. The Mountain Region again received only minimal amounts of rain and there are reports that pastures and corn in the region are suffering. The Coastal Region had the most rain and this helped the conditions of the crops.

There were 5.8 days suitable for field work, compared to 6.3 from the previous week.

Statewide soil moisture levels are rated at 11 percent very short, 45 percent short, 42 percent adequate and 2 percent surplus.

Activities during the week included the harvesting of hay, Irish potatoes, and peaches, preparing for tobacco harvest, and scouting for pest and disease problems.

South Carolina

Scattered thunderstorms brought rainfall to most of South Carolina last week. However, there were areas spotted across the state that missed out on the precipitation. Average soil moisture ratings were 27 percent very short, 39 percent short, 33 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus.

There was a statewide average of 6.4 days that were suitable for field work.

Corn has been a bust for most early planted fields. The crop couldn’t recover from the drought damage earlier. Harvest may begin this week in some Low Country counties with low expected yields. Conditions were 55 percent very poor, 22 percent poor, 18 percent fair, and 5 percent good.

Cotton acreage that had rain last week has made a big difference. Fields that have not are declining in condition lacking sufficient soil moisture to maintain yield potential. Conditions were 10 percent very poor, 23 percent poor, 38 percent fair, 28 percent good, and 1 percent excellent.

Peanuts were still looking mostly good. Growers have been scouting for larvae and stinkbugs, but populations have been low enough not to require control applications for most. Conditions were 3 percent very poor, 7 percent poor, 34 percent fair, 54 percent good, and 2 percent excellent.

Soybean conditions vary from very poor to excellent depending on whether they have seen rain or not. There have been reports of fields that have had emergence issues. Conditions were 20 percent very poor, 23 percent poor, 34 percent fair, 22 percent good, and 1 percent excellent.

Sweet potatoes were 8 percent very poor, 14 percent poor, 48 percent fair, and 30 percent good.

Rains have helped green up tobacco, but plants have been short in many places. Conditions were 4 percent poor, 47 percent fair, 45 percent good, and 4 percent excellent.

Livestock conditions were little changed. Pastures were continuing to suffer, and will have to receive additional moisture to show significant improvement.

Peaches were still mostly good with 60 percent of the crop harvested.

Vegetable harvest was complete for snapbeans, nearly complete for tomatoes, and winding down for cantaloupes, and watermelons.


The Commonwealth received scattered showers and hail in some areas of the state. However many areas still remained dry. Days suitable for field work were 6.0.

Corn and soybean crops are reported to be improving in some areas of the state. Soybean farmers are monitoring the crop for insect problems.

Second hay harvest was occurring.

Vegetable crops are doing well with some reports of disease pressures. The cotton crop looks good.

Other farm activities included attending meetings, signing up for federal programs and applying pesticides.


Comments are based on comments reported by Extension agents, farmers, commodity specialists, and other knowledgeable individuals.


FAUQUIER (Tim Mize) “Received rain this week. Hail storms in the northeastern end of the county have battered some crop fields. Peach yields to date have been excellent.”


ACCOMACK (Jim Belote) “One to two inches of rain in most areas has temporarily relieved the drought. Corn yield has been hurt some and some soybeans have spotty stands because of the dry weather. Tomato and potato harvests continues as well as scouting in soybeans for all sorts of problems like corn earworms, spider mites and weed pressure. Farmers are applying post emergence pesticides for weed control in many fields for the second application if needed. Some farm meetings were held and farmers have attended these. Farmers were also busy at FSA Office filing report data and signing up for federal farm program.”

ESSEX (Keith Balderson) “Corn yields should be good, but heat during the week hurt the crop. Rain during the week varied greatly from less than .5 inch to over 2 inches. Double-crop soybeans are growing pretty well but stands are somewhat spotty due to heavy straw from the small grain crop. Deer pressure is also heavy in some soybean fields. Farmers spent the week finishing up post-emergence herbicide applications to soybeans. Producers with irrigation were busy keeping systems running.

KING GEORGE (Regina Prunty) “Conditions were getting dry. A couple of showers during the week supplied much needed moisture. Second hay harvests are occurring.”


MONTGOMERY (Barry Robinson) “While most of the county received a single heavy rain event last week (some areas w/ damaging hail), the positive effects were unfortunately short-lived. Hayfields and pastures are suffering, thus making it a challenge for livestock producers. Corn is still doing fairly well because of storm showers. Stone fruits are under fairly heavy fruit rot pressures due to the showers. Vegetable crops are producing fairly well, but also experiencing significant disease pressures.”

SCOTT (Scott Jerrell) “The western part of the county continues to be dry, while eastern Scott County has received sporadic and isolated showers off and on all last week. Tomato and bean harvests are well under way with acceptable yields. Squash and zucchini took a hit last week with phytophthora devastating a one acre block. However, yield and prices continue to keep producers upbeat. Cattle producers are debating the economics of back grounding calves this year, and sheep pasture is waning.”

BRUNSWICK (Cynthia L. Gregg) “Rain and hail hit in the north end of the County on Sunday. Several producers are trying to get their tobacco set back up. Some producers are topping tobacco. Cotton is looking good.”

SURRY (Glenn Slade) “Some areas got showers through the week but most of the county is still dry. Many soybeans were replanted, some more than once. Corn yields are cut drastically. Land plaster and fungicides are being applied to peanuts. Cotton growth regulators are going out in areas that got rain.”

VIRGINIA BEACH (Cal Schiemann) “Received 2.0 to 5.5 inches of rain with some flooding occurring in areas where 4.0 to 5.0 inches of rain fell in less than 3 hours. Soybeans and corn continue to respond well to this moisture, but some hay has been left on the ground during this wet period. Wet fields make it difficult to spray and harvest sweet corn and other vegetables.”


AUGUSTA (Brian Jones) “Much needed showers fell over portions of the region on Monday and Tuesday. However some areas, particularly southern and eastern Augusta County are in dire need of some rain. Corn is predictably spotty depending on the rain showers. Soybeans are improving somewhat, but still less than desirable. Wheat yields, however, ended up being much better than expected, with many growers reporting 90-plus bushel farm averages. Unfortunately, the situation with the mill in Roanoke has many scrambling to find storage.”


BEDFORD (Scott Baker) “Dry conditions continued over the majority of the county this past week. Combined with high temperatures, pasture and hay field conditions are deteriorating. Thunderstorms containing hail caused some damage to apples and peaches.

CAROLINE (McGann Saphir) Soil moisture is once again very scarce and is becoming critical as soybeans start to flower and set pods. We are in critical need of widespread, steady rain. Pastures are browning up and hayfields are recovering from the first cutting. If we do not receive adequate rain soon there may not be another good cutting. Summer vegetables are at their peak. Tomato harvest has been excellent, especially where irrigation is available. Eggplants and peppers are also being harvested in abundance. Field corn has done moderately well. Surveys reveal some fields are excellent, while others are showing poor pollination, inadequate ear fill and other signs of moisture stress. Corn earworm populations are high in the upland and central areas of the county and rather low in the Rappahannock River Valley.”

NELSON (Michael Lachance) “Dry conditions are beginning to develop.”

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