Hannah brings moisture, little damage to upper Southeast

Hurricane Hannah brought copious amounts of rainfall to most of the upper Southeast last week, with most areas being spared crop damage.

In North Carolina the rains helped pastures, hay and the soybean crop. However, too much rain may negatively affect the tobacco, peanut, cotton and sweet potato crops.

The western half of South Carolina received little moisture from the storm, but the eastern half received drenching rains.

In Virginia, central and northern regions of the state reported the heaviest rainfall, between 4 and 7 inches. Wind damage from the tropical storm was minimal and overall, crop conditions improved with the precipitation.

Here’s the complete breakdown as reported by the state USDA.NASS field offices for the week ending Sept. 7.

North Carolina

The Piedmont and Coastal Regions received a fair amount of rain from Tropical Storm Hannah, with Raleigh-Durham reporting the most precipitation, 5.51 inches. The Mountain Region only received minimal rain last week with four stations reporting no precipitation.

Average temperatures ranged from 66 to 78 degrees.

The rains helped pastures, hay and the soybean crop, but too much rain may negatively affect the tobacco, peanut, cotton and sweet potato crops.

There were 5.6 days suitable for field work, compared to 3.8 from the previous week. Statewide, soil moisture levels are rated at 7 percent very short, 24 percent short, 62 percent adequate and 7 percent surplus.

Activities during the week included the harvesting of hay, corn for grain, corn for silage, apples, sorghum and tobacco, scouting for pest and disease problems, and preparing for Tropical Storm Hannah.

South Carolina

Tropical Storm Hanna provided drenching rains to the eastern portion of South Carolina last week, but winds were not severe enough to cause crop damage to any extent. The western half of the state received little or no rain from the storm. Average soil moisture was rated at 7 percent very short, 35 percent short, 50 percent adequate, and 8 percent surplus.

Last week’s average number of days that was suitable for field work was 5.9.

Corn harvest continued, as farmers were rushing to get the crop out of the field before Hanna came ashore. Conditions were 44 percent very poor, 26 percent poor, 23 percent fair, and 7 percent good.

Cotton bolls are opening with a few growers planning to defoliate some of their fields in a couple of weeks. Conditions were 4 percent very poor, 16 percent poor, 36 percent fair, 40 percent good, and 4 percent excellent.

Peanuts are responding to the increase in moisture availability. Early plantings are nearing time for maturity checks to be made. Pegging will be starting soon in those fields. Conditions this week were mostly good.

Sorghum conditions improved somewhat. Conditions were 27 percent very poor, 40 percent poor, 23 percent fair, and 10 percent good.

Some soybean farmers were having to apply second fungicide and insecticide treatments. No general insect or disease problems were reported though. Conditions were 10 percent very poor, 20 percent poor, 35 percent fair, 30 percent good, and 5 percent excellent.

Sweet potatoes were half fair, and half good.

After heavy rains, some tobacco has wilted from too much water. Many growers were having difficulty getting heavy equipment into fields. Operators were looking for labor to walk fields, and hand harvest for the next several days. Conditions were 5 percent poor, 33 percent fair, 57 percent good, and 5 percent excellent.

Hay cutting for this year is almost complete. Livestock owners were preparing land for winter grazing plantings. Pastures in the Upstate received little moisture from Hanna last week. Conditions were little changed.

Apple harvest continued. Peaches were winding down for this season. Harvest was complete for this year’s spring and summer vegetable crops.


Tropical Storm Hanna brought rain to most of the Commonwealth. Central and northern Virginia reported the heaviest rainfall, between 4 to 7 inches. The eastern part of the state reported around one inch of rainfall. However, the southwestern counties saw little to no rain.

Days suitable for field work were 5.6.

Wind damage from the tropical storm was minimal. Overall, crop conditions improved with the precipitation. Late planted soybeans, cotton, and peanuts should benefit most from the recent rains. Prior to the storm, farmers harvested corn as quickly as possible to avoid potential losses.

Pastures have begun to green up and in some counties there is hope for another hay crop.

Other farming activities included spraying for worms, harvesting tobacco, and laying plastic for strawberries.


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


CLARKE (Jake Grove) “Rains from the tropical storm delivered much needed moisture

to late planted crops and pasture. The winds did minimal damage to crops, but some lodging was reported.”

CULPEPER (Carl Stafford) “Three to 4 inches of rain improved soil conditions and helped late soybeans and fall forage growth.”

PRINCE WILLIAM (Paige Thacker) “Five and a half to seven inches of rain was received with Tropical Storm Hanna.”


APPOMATTOX (Bruce Jones) “Appomattox received over 5 inches of rain Friday night through mid-day Saturday. Rain was heavy at times with much runoff. Many ponds appear almost filled again. Grass immediately responded to the moisture with quick greening. Fertilizer for stockpiling is very evident. Soybean harvest started last week for the earlier maturity groups.”

CAROLINE (McGann Saphir) “Many areas of the county received four or more inches of rain from Hanna. Pastures and hayfields are already greening up. If temperatures stay moderate we may get another cutting of hay before frost. Most corn producers made a great effort to harvest grain before the storm. Over a quarter of the harvest was brought in last week. Full season soybeans look fair. Double-crop beans may have time to recover some yield potential and put on some more pods before frost due to the much improved moisture conditions. Fall vegetable crops and winter grain planting conditions are much improved. Strawberry producers are laying beds for plastic culture and readying strawberry plugs for next years crop.”


ACCOMACK (Jim Belote) “Approximately 1 to 1.5 inches of rain from Tropical Storm Hanna greatly helped the soybean crop. Earlier in the week many acres of soybeans were sprayed for various worms including the corn earworm, armyworm and loopers. This year is the worst year we have had for worms in soybeans for many, many years, maybe as many as 10 or 12. Most fields have already been sprayed at least once. Tomato picking continued. Spraying for disease and insects in lima beans and snap beans continued with intensive field scouting for all crops. Crops need more moisture. What we received will help temporarily, but more is needed in the next week. The corn and soybean crop will be harvested late. We also need a late frost due to the late planting of double-cropped soybeans.”

KING GEORGE (Regina Prunty) “Tropical Storm Hanna brought much needed rain. It was too late for a lot of the soybeans. Pasture conditions were very dry prior to the rain over the weekend.”

NEW KENT (Paul Davis) “Activities included picking corn and spraying corn earworms in soybeans. Most of the area received 1.5-2.5 inches of rain from Hanna, with little to no wind damage.”


GRAYSON (Kevin Spurlin) “Silage corn was harvested at a frantic pace with threats of more tropical storms. Hay continues to be fed to some beef herds to supplement short pastures.”

MONTGOMERY (Barry Robinson) “We were back to dry conditions again last week. Pastures and hayfields are still showing the positive results of rain from the remnants of Tropical Storm Fay. We are seeing a significant number of mature trees in forest and urban settings dying, presumably from the past 2.5-3 years of drought conditions.”

SCOTT (Scott Jerrell) “Agricultural conditions information was presented to the Board of Supervisors yesterday, and a resolution was passed to declare the county a disaster. Light showers from Fay have allowed grass to green up, but little growth has occurred. Some relief may be experienced if additional rains are received.”

TAZEWELL (John Blankenship) “Tazewell missed the much needed moisture from Tropical Storm Hanna.”


PITTSYLVANIA (Stephen Barts, Jamie Stowe) “Large amounts of rainfall late in the season have done little to improve drought stress on crops and pastures. Tobacco maturity is being delayed and frost is becoming a concern very quickly. Most producers have finished their first pulling. Very few have finished the second. Corn harvest will begin shortly. Pasture and hay lands are still very short and we have seen little growth despite the rain that we have had over the past few weeks. Producers are concerned that there will be no fall hay cutting.”


SURRY (Glenn Slade) “Tropical Storm Hanna brought much needed rain and very little damage. Rainfall varied from 1.5 - 4 inches. This will help cotton, peanuts and late planted soybeans. We are still short on subsoil moisture.”

SUSSEX (Kelvin Wells) “The County received 2 inches of rain from the storm. It was a good general rain; it should help late soybeans, cotton, and the peanut crop. Farmers are scouting for insect disease. Once the fields dry off, grain producers will start the corn harvest.”

CHESAPEAKE CITY (Watson Lawrence) “Soybeans continue to suffer from lack of soil moisture. Yield potential is decreasing rapidly. Corn harvest began this week with variable yields. Overall, yields will be poor, although good grain quality is expected.”

VIRGINIA BEACH (Cal Schiemann) “Standing corn was not damaged by high winds (40-50 mph) from Tropical Storm Hanna. Only one inch of rain resulted from the storm. Before the storm, a lot of corn was harvested earlier than desired in order to avoid wind damage.”

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