Upper Southeast corn harvest at finish line

Corn and tobacco harvests in North Carolina were nearing completion last week as parts of the state received the first frost of the season.

In South Carolina peanut harvest was going strong, with corn harvest almost complete. Cotton defoliation was widespread with pickers moving through some fields.

The first frost of the season was also felt in parts of Virginia, where the soybean harvest was running about 12 percent behind average.

For an overall look at the farming situation across the upper Southeast, here are the reports from the USDA/NASS state field offices for the week ending Oct. 19.

North Carolina

North Carolina received little precipitation throughout the week, with precipitation ranging from 0.08 inches in Marshall to 1.34 inches in Williamston. Average temperatures were above normal for this time of year, ranging from 54 to 68 degrees. A cold front moved through North Carolina over the weekend that brought frost to some parts of the state.

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

There were 5.7 days suitable for field work, compared to 5.5 from the previous week. Statewide soil moisture levels are rated at 7 percent very short, 19 percent short, 72 percent adequate and 2 percent surplus.

Activities during the week included the harvesting of hay, cotton, corn for grain, peanuts, apples, sweet potatoes, sorghum and tobacco, marketing livestock, and preparing land for small grain plantings.

South Carolina

Some of South Carolina received almost an inch of rain this past weekend, bettering conditions in the very dry Upstate. Fieldwork progressed as weather permitted. The state’s soil moisture rating was 3 percent very short, 29 percent short, 65 percent adequate, and 3 percent surplus.

There was an average of 5.8 days that was suitable for field work.

Corn harvest was complete in most of the state with the exception of those awaiting drier fields.

Cotton defoliation progressed well this past week and harvesting is under way. Conditions were 4 percent very poor, 12 percent poor, 56 percent fair, 26 percent good, and 2 percent excellent.

Peanut harvest was going strong as farmers record good yields on most acres. The crop condition was 3 percent poor, 33 percent fair, 56 percent good, and 8 percent excellent.

Most of this year’s sorghum crop has been harvested, but still remains behind average for this time of the season. Conditions were reported at 27 percent very poor, 29 percent poor, 20 percent fair, and 24 percent good.

Soybeans could be a bumper crop for some farmers. Most soybean fields were beginning to shed their leaves. Harvesting is under way in some areas of the state. Conditions were 10 percent very poor, 17 percent poor, 39 percent fair, 30 percent good, and 4 percent excellent.

Sweet potatoes were progressing. Conditions were 20 percent poor, 50 percent fair, and 30 percent good.

Most tobacco stalks were destroyed.

Livestock conditions continued to improve somewhat from the rains. Conditions were 8 percent poor, 44 percent fair, 46 percent good, and 2 percent excellent. Pasture conditions were improving as well. Conditions were 2 percent very poor, 16 percent poor, 44 percent fair, and 38 percent good.

Applies remained in mostly fair condition, and were 80 percent harvested.

Winter grazings were rated in mostly fair condition.


A light to heavy frost scattered across the Commonwealth this past week. For most counties, it was their first frost of autumn. Days suitable for field work were 5.8. Parts of Virginia experienced rain showers, with some areas receiving as much as 1 inch of rain.

Despite the late season rain showers, water reserves became a concern. Subsoil moisture is down and stream flow has slowed down.

Corn harvested for grain is almost complete, with several counties finished for the year.

Soybeans dropping leaves are about two weeks behind normal. The soybean harvest is 12 percent behind average. Farmers anticipate good progress to be made on the soybean crop next week and are preparing combines for the harvest.

Farmers are uncertain about planting winter wheat; many farmers are holding off and waiting for input costs to come down.

Fall calving is well under way, with the majority of cattle in good condition.

Other farming activities included planting cover crops and small grains, clearing fields and harvesting fall vegetables.

TAGS: Corn
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