Harvest pace quickens in upper Southeast

North Carolina growers are making good harvest progress, with corn, tobacco and peanuts mostly out of the field. Frost occurred in many parts of the state, yet widespread damage to crops was not reported.

In South Carolina cotton harvest and ginning is well under way. Peanut harvest has continued at a good pace, but some growers are expressing concern the crop may be damaged from sitting on top of wet soils.

In Virginia, the corn harvest is nearing completion, but soybean harvest is behind schedule and some plants are still too green and not drying out.

For an overall look at the cropping situation in the upper Southeast, here are reports from the USDA/NASS state field offices for the week ending Oct. 26.

North Carolina

North Carolina received little precipitation throughout the week, with precipitation ranging from nothing in Aurora to 1.68 inches in Old Fort.

Average temperatures were below normal for this time of year; ranging from 40 to 59 degrees. Frost occurred in many parts of the state, yet widespread damage to crops was not reported.

The harvesting of field crops is well under way with corn, tobacco, and peanuts nearing completion.

There were 5.4 days suitable for field work, compared to 5.7 from the previous week. Statewide, soil moisture levels are rated at 4 percent very short, 19 percent short, 74 percent adequate and 3 percent surplus.

Activities during the week included the harvesting of hay, cotton, corn for grain, soybeans, peanuts, apples, sweet potatoes, sorghum and tobacco, marketing livestock, and planting small grains

South Carolina

Most of South Carolina received varying amounts of rain this past Friday, providing some of the wettest conditions of the year in the state. Fieldwork progress slowed or stopped due to wet fields, and in some areas is likely to be delayed until fields dry. The state’s soil moisture ratings were 4 percent very short, 23 percent short, 50 percent adequate, and 23 percent surplus. There was an average of 5.3 days that were suitable for field work.

Cotton harvest and ginning were well under way with very good yields reported. Conditions were 5 percent very poor, 12 percent poor, 39 percent fair, 40 percent good, and 4 percent excellent.

Peanut harvest continued at a good pace until the rains came Friday morning. Some farmers expressed concern the crop may be damaged from sitting on top of wet soil for two weeks. The crop condition was 3 percent poor, 21 percent fair, 68 percent good, and 8 percent excellent.

Most of the sorghum has been harvested, but remained behind average for this time of the season.

Soybean harvest was in full swing this week. Some farmers reported that early soybeans were yielding well with a good outlook for the later beans. A killing frost would help soybeans yet to be harvested. Conditions were 9 percent very poor, 18 percent poor, 30 percent fair, 36 percent good, and 7 percent excellent.

Sweet potatoes were progressing on schedule. Conditions were 10 percent poor, 65 percent fair, and 25 percent good.

Tobacco stalk destruction was completed.

Livestock conditions continued to improve somewhat. Conditions were 5 percent poor, 46 percent fair, 46 percent good, and 3 percent excellent. Pasture conditions continued to improve as well. Conditions were 3 percent very poor, 16 percent poor, 42 percent fair, 37 percent good and 2 percent excellent.

Apples were 90 percent harvested.

Winter grazing conditions were 51 percent fair and 49 percent good.


Most of Virginia received rain this past week, with some areas receiving up to 2 inches. Temperatures were seasonably cool, with several counties reporting hard to light frost. Days suitable for field work were 5.8.

The tobacco crop has taken a hit with the recent frost; growers are salvaging what they can. The damage to the tobacco crop varied from none to moderate.

Recent rains have improved pasture and hay field conditions. The corn harvest is nearing completion. The soybean harvest is behind schedule, some of the plants are still too green and not drying out. Farmers anticipate by next week, the harvest will be in full swing.

Other farming activities included cleaning fields, pulling plastic from vegetable fields, planting cover crops, and contemplating planting wheat based on speculative fuel and fertilizer cost.


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


AMHERST (William Seay ) “Recent rain has helped the moisture situation and has improved pasture growth. Groundwater reserves remain a concern with some streams not flowing continuously. Second cutting of hay continues with yields mixed but good quality.”

CAMPBELL (Todd Scott) “This week we saw a nice cooling, several farmers were doing some final hay baling around the county. Soybeans dropping leaves are sporadic with many farms still having lots of green.

CAROLINE (McGann Saphir) “Improved soil moisture has greened up pastures and hayfields. Hard frosts have slowed growth. Soybean harvest has been slow to start due to abnormally green plants and slow dry down. Soybean harvest should be in full swing this week. Hard frosts have put an end to the growth of any summer vegetable crop that was not covered. Farmers are cleaning up fields, pulling plastic, and finishing up cover crop planting.”

NELSON (Michael Lachance) “The county received approximately 2 inches of rain on Friday and Saturday.”


ACCOMACK (Jim Belote) “Soybean harvest picked up. Yields are from less than average. Most beans are behind wheat so the harvest will be later than usual. Late bean yields should be average or less. Corn harvest about finished up except for a field here and there. Tomato harvest is over and fields are being cleaned up. The county had its’ first frost this past week on Oct. 21. Not a complete killer frost but burned off tops of soybean leaves. Wheat planting is getting off to a slow start due to the late planted soybeans, uncertainty in markets, the cost of inputs and what is happening with Wall Street.”

KING GEORGE (Regina Prunty) “Light rain on Saturday provided some moisture. Corn harvest is almost complete. Beans are beginning to be harvested.”


SCOTT (Scott Jerrell) “Hard frosts and migrant laborers leaving have ended most vegetable harvests. Some cattle producers are getting ready for the upcoming Virginia Premium Assured Heifer sales and evaluating recent changes in fuel and a speculated reduction in fertilizer costs.”


BRUNSWICK (Cynthia L. Gregg) “The frost season began on Monday and three mornings this week there was frost in the area. Tobacco has taken a hit from the frost and folks are trying to save what they can as quickly as possible. Many gardens were frost bitten this week as well, along with warm season grasses.”

MECKLENBURG (C. Taylor Clarke Jr.) “The frost/freeze on Oct. 20 caught around 15 percent of the tobacco crop still in the field. Damage was variable from none to moderate. Frost was scattered on Oct 22. and widespread Oct 23. Producers are continuing to harvest tobacco that was least affected. The losses suffered due to frost are a direct result of delayed crop development from summer drought. Producers were typically 3 to 4 weeks behind their normal harvest schedule. Rains in September turned a low yielding, poor quality crop into an average and above average crop. Seventy five percent of growers had tobacco in the field Monday morning.”

PRINCE GEORGE (Scott Reiter) “Frost and freeze warnings have stopped many producers from digging peanuts this week. The peanut crop is about 2 weeks late this year and we may still be harvesting in November. Some early soybeans have been harvested. Yields are below expectations and some damage has lowered seed quality enough to receive discounts at the market. Wheat seeding has picked up this week as growers target optimal timing. It remains to be seen what our wheat acreage will be with high input costs and a dismal cash price.”

CHESAPEAKE CITY (Watson Lawrence) “Winter wheat is being planted into good soil moisture. Soybean harvest is well under way.”

SUFFOLK CITY (Rex Cotton) “Overall, outstanding yields are being reported. Some reports of 5,000 pounds of peanuts per acre. In some places, cotton growers are expecting some 3 bales per acre. The City of Suffolk has done quite well.”

TAGS: Corn
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