Drought reduced South Carolina crop yields

With the 2007 crop season drawing to an end, South Carolina’s farmers have suffered through a difficult year due to a severe drought that reduced yields for many of the state’s crops.

Winter rains are desperately needed to recharge critically low irrigation and livestock ponds before next spring. Showers that were expected for late in the week ending Nov. 25 did not materialize to any considerable extent for a large share of the state, causing average moisture ratings to decline yet again to 59 percent very short, 40 percent short, and 1 percent adequate.

There were 6.4 days suitable for field work.

According to the state USDA/NASS field office, a very early and very poor cotton crop has just about all been harvested.

Oat planting is ongoing, but continues to be behind because of dry soils. The crop remained in mostly fair condition.

The relative lack of moisture across the state allowed for another busy week harvesting soybeans. The condition of the crop was 32 percent very poor, 24 percent poor, 42 percent fair, and 2 percent good.

The sweet potato crop has been dug for this year.

Farmers are still seeding winter wheat in dry soils in anticipation of forecasted rains that have yet to fall on many fields. The condition of the winter wheat was 15 percent very poor, 6 percent poor, 71 percent fair, and 8 percent good.

Many livestock producers are facing the winter with little or no hay stocks. Livestock conditions were 8 percent very poor, 18 percent poor, 48 percent fair, and 26 percent good. Pasture conditions continue to deteriorate, as nearly three-quarters are in very poor or poor condition.

Winter grazings are struggling in many areas at best. Conditions were 17 percent very poor, 13 percent poor, 61 percent fair, and 9 percent good this past week.

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