Rains slow harvest in upper Southeast

Rainfall from a storm that developed off the East Coast brought rainfall to many areas of the upper Southeast last week, slowing harvest operations but bringing much needed moisture for forages and land destined for small grains.

For an overall look at the situation, here are the reports from USDA/NASS state field offices for the week ending September 28.

North Carolina

North Carolina received scattered showers mainly due to a storm that developed off the coast late last week. Precipitation ranged from .09 inches in Marshall, to 4.56 inches in Wilmington. Average temperatures ranged from 56 to 71 degrees.

Corn harvest is under way throughout the state yet heavy rains on the coast have delayed harvest.

There were 4.9 days suitable for field work, compared to 5.3 from the previous week. Statewide, soil moisture levels are rated at 7 percent very short, 11 percent short, 62 percent adequate and 20 percent surplus.

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

South Carolina

An unnamed tropical system came ashore late last week providing additional rains to much of the state. Heavy rainfall was confined mainly to the east of Columbia.

Crop harvesting continued, but at a slower pace due to the additional moisture that was received.

The state soil moisture rating was 5 percent very short, 29 percent short, 59 percent adequate, and 7 percent surplus. There was an average of 5.3 days that was suitable for field work.

Corn harvest has finished in several counties. Combining in other areas has slowed due to last week’s rains.

Cotton acreage was still being defoliated. Bolls were really opening, and could use some sunshine. A few producers have begun to harvest, but were stopped by rainfall. Conditions were 3 percent very poor, 15 percent poor, 44 percent fair, 36 percent good, and 2 percent excellent.

Peanut harvesting was progressing. The pace of digging was dependant on how wet fields have been. The crop still remains in mostly good condition.

Sorghum conditions have been improving for several weeks now. Conditions were reported at 18 percent very poor, 40 percent poor, 20 percent fair, and 22 percent good.

Soybean rust was found in several additional counties this past week. The situation does not seem to be critical at this point, nor is it expected to be. Rains have helped pod development. Monitoring continues for stinkbugs, and velvet bean caterpillars, but no serious problems have been reported. Conditions were 5 percent very poor, 14 percent poor, 38 percent fair, 36 percent good, and 7 percent excellent.

Conditions for sweet potatoes were 5 percent very poor, 20 percent poor, 30 percent fair, and 45 percent good.

There were still a very few fields of tobacco that were waiting on drier weather before the last stalks could be stripped. The later harvested crop has suffered from all the water.

Livestock enjoyed the week’s cooler temperatures. The rains have boosted grass in pastures, but cooler nights in combination with the drought have hurt the ability for plants to bounce back.

Recently picked applies are available at local markets.

Anybody wanting some fresh South Carolina peaches will have to wait until next year. This was the last week for the crop.

More winter grazings will be planted following the rains that have been received.


Most of Virginia experienced rains this past week, except for parts of southwestern Virginia. Continued hot temperatures and lack of rain have southwestern Virginia cattlemen worrying about a feed shortage. Days suitable for field work were 4.7.

The recent rains improved livestock forage, improved seedbeds for wheat, and improved late season soybean conditions. However, rains also delayed fieldwork. The corn and apple harvests were delayed, as well as the planting of cover crops.

Farmers are using this down time to attend meetings and to make plans for next year’s crop.

Other farming activities included chopping corn stalks, planting strawberries, reseeding pastureland, taking soil samples, and harvesting sweet potatoes and pumpkins.

TAGS: Management
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