Rainfall helps, hinders upper Southeast growers

Large portions of the upper Southeast have received heavy rainfall over the last couple weeks. Soybeans and pasture land have benefited, but in some cases excessive moisture has been detrimental to other crops and field work.

For a rundown on the overall situation, here are the weekly reports from the state USDA/NASS field offices for the week ending Sept. 14.

North Carolina

North Carolina received scattered showers with precipitation ranging from .07 inches in Williamston, to 3.71 inches in Lenoir.

Average temperatures ranged from 67 to 81 degrees. The Coastal Region received a fair amount of rain in the last two weeks, which helped some crops like hay and soybeans, but there are some reports that excessive moisture may negatively affect tobacco and sweet potato crops.

There were 4.4 days suitable for field work, compared to 5.6 from the previous week. Statewide soil moisture levels are rated at 3 percent very short, 17 percent short, 55 percent adequate and 25 percent surplus.

Activities during the week included the harvesting of hay, corn for grain, corn for silage, apples, sweet potato, sorghum and tobacco and scouting for pest and disease problems.

South Carolina

Most of South Carolina received rainfall this past week. The only problem is that areas that had a lot of rain from Fay and Hanna in previous weeks got even more to the point of being too wet for field work. However, the northernmost counties in the Upstate were dry again. This part of the state has not had much more rain this year than last year which was one of the driest on record.

Soil moisture was 6 percent very short, 32 percent short, 55 percent adequate, and 7 percent surplus. The average number of days that was suitable for field work was 5.7 for the state.

Corn harvest has been very busy the past three weeks. Better yields have been coming off of later planted fields, but overall production has been low for most growers. Expected yield per acre is forecast at only 55 bushels. Conditions were 46 percent very poor, 27 percent poor, 21 percent fair, and 6 percent good.

Recent rains have caused unwanted growth in some cotton fields at a time when drier weather would be welcome. There may be difficulty harvesting due to the excessive growth of the tops. A few farmers began defoliation this past week with many more planning to begin shortly. Conditions were 5 percent very poor, 11 percent poor, 49 percent fair, 33 percent good, and 2 percent excellent.

Late last week some early planted peanuts were being dug. The crop condition was still mostly good.

Sorghum conditions continued to improve. Conditions were reported at 26 percent very poor, 30 percent poor, 20 percent fair, and 24 percent good.

Rainfall over the last week has helped fill soybean pods. Farmers were still scouting later maturing beans for stink bugs and worms with treatments being applied. Conditions were 10 percent very poor, 19 percent poor, 34 percent fair, 32 percent good, and 5 percent excellent.

Sweet potato harvest has just begun. Conditions were 10 percent poor, 45 percent fair, and 45 percent good.

Farmers are trying desperately to get the last of the tobacco leaf out of their fields that have been too wet for tractors and harvesters.

The last cutting of Hay was almost complete. Livestock owners were still preparing land for winter grazing plantings. Pastures in many parts of the state received rain last week. Conditions were only slightly improved.

Apple harvest was ongoing. This year’s peach crop was coming to an end.


Virginia received isolated rain showers this past week. The rain improved pasture and hay conditions. In some areas, the rain will contribute to a second cutting of hay. Days suitable for field work were 5.2.

The corn harvest was well under way, but still behind the norm for this time of year. Wet fields from Tropical Storm Hanna and a cooler than normal spring contributed to the late harvest. Corn yields vary significantly due to location and time of planting. However, the forecasted state yield for corn is 104 bushels per acre.

Other farming activities included planting winter wheat, planting strawberries, harvesting tobacco, harvesting pumpkins, attending meetings, and analyzing price input cost for next year’s crop.


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


ROANOKE (Sheri Dorn) “Weekly precipitation was 0.19 inches. The daytime temperatures were cooler than normal half of the week, while evening temperatures were warmer than normal.”


CAROLINE (McGann Saphir) “Soil moisture conditions are much improved. Most of the county received about 4-5 inches of rain from Hanna. Corn producers have resumed harvesting corn in accessible areas. Corn yields have been moderate from 100 to 115 bushels in non-irrigated fields. Soybeans are putting on a second round of growth since the recent rains. Hopefully we will have a warm fall and will regain some yield potential that was lost due to the earlier lack of rain. Vegetable farmers are finishing up the tomato, pepper, eggplant, and melon harvest; as well as scouting pumpkins and greens for insects and disease. Strawberry producers are getting ready to plant next year’s crop.”


ACCOMACK (Jim Belote) “Scattered storms are helping to maintain surface moisture levels and crop growth, especially for soybeans. Corn harvest has started, with yields of 45 to 50 bushels reported. The yields will vary due to scattered storms. Scouting continues for insects in the soybean fields. Fields were still being sprayed for worms. Farmers were ordering wheat seed, harvesting corn, spraying for worms in soybeans and scouting in lima and snap beans. Tomato picking continues. Farmers were working on harvesting equipment and planting equipment, attending meetings and pricing inputs for fall crops.”


CARROLL (Webb Flowers) “There was a light rain early this week with warm dry weather later in the week.”

GRAYSON (Kevin Spurlin) “Additional moisture and overcast skies most of the week slowed silage harvest, but dramatically improved pasture and hay. Some farmers are having fall hay cutting to supplement low hay stocks. Tobacco harvest began late this week.”

MONTGOMERY (Barry Robinson) “This was another dry week for the county. There was a second cutting of hay in some areas. Most corn is nearing maturity. Pastures are still looking good, but will definitely need more rain to sustain fall grazing. Primo cane raspberries are coming in nicely. Pumpkins were being harvested.”

SCOTT (Scott Jerrell) “Spotty showers have been useful. However the county as a whole is lacking. Corn silage that has been harvested is short and yielding well below normal.”


SURRY (Glenn Slade) “Showers this past week helped late-season crops improve slightly. Corn harvest was well under way, with yields from 20 to 100 bushels per acre.

CHESAPEAKE CITY (Watson Lawrence) “Corn harvest was just getting under way this week a bit later this year due to replanting of corn and late start for most corn in the spring. Yields are highly variable from 50-150 bushel average. Soybeans have not set many pods with a dry summer. No major problems with worms this year. Recent rain has helped soil moisture conditions this week. Strawberry farmers are busy this week laying down their plastic beds and fumigating.”

VIRGINIA BEACH (Cal Schiemann) “Strawberry farmers were applying fumigants and laying down plastic in preparation for planting later this month. Much needed rain early in the week helped late season beans but slowed corn harvest for 2 days.”

TAGS: Management
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