Location, location, location: That’s today’s mantra in the real estate business and was reality in the lower Southeast last week as rainfall varied from none to a trace and on up to almost six inches.
It was a week of weather extremes as a tornado was reported in Escambia County, Ala., and lightening was reported to have set a wheat field on fire in Georgia.
Wheat harvest continued across the area with some excellent yields and test weights being reported. Peanut planting was complete in Florida, while some growers in Georgia were dusting in late cotton crops.
Here’s how the various state USDA/NASS field offices reported the crop situation for the week ending June 15.
Strong thunderstorms moved through Alabama during the past week, although total accumulations varied widely across the state and even within counties. Art Lynn, County Executive Director in the Escambia County FSA office, indicated that a tornado touched down around McCall, leaving trees down and causing other minor damage in the area.
Ronnie Davis, County Executive Director in the Henry County FSA office, mentioned that rainfall totals ranged from 0.3 to 3.5 inches depending on location, but many areas of the county were still dry.
With the exception of Mobile, average temperatures were above normal during the past week. Daytime highs ranged from 91 degrees in Cullman to 100 degrees in Headland and Dothan. Overnight lows varied from 63 degrees in Belle Mina to 71 degrees in Dothan.
Precipitation totals ranged from 0.03 inches in Tuscaloosa to 4.43 inches in Union Springs. Year-to-date precipitation totals were above normal in only six locations across the state. The weather station in Gadsden fell to 10.39 inches below normal for the year.
Wheat harvest pushed forward. Thomas D. Atkinson, county executive director in the Madison County FSA office, stated that all preliminary yield reports indicated a bountiful harvest. Donald E. Mann, county executive director in the Jackson County FSA office, noted that wheat harvest was in high gear, with yield running in the 70 to 90 bushels per acre range.
Leonard Kuykendall, regional Extension agent located in Autauga County, reported that producers were nearly finished harvesting this year’s wheat crop. Olin F. Farrior, county Extension coordinator for Escambia County, added that the wheat harvest was wrapping up, and timely rains created good soil moisture conditions to plant subsequent crops, most of which will be soybeans.
The hot, dry weather during the beginning of the week stressed all growing crops. The rainfall during the latter part of the week helped to greatly improve conditions in many areas. Olin Farrior mentioned that some corn fields have suffered a yield loss because of dry weather during parts of this crop season.
Most of the cotton and soybeans were reported in good to excellent condition during the past week. Art Lynn indicated that cotton stands in Escambia County suffered leaf damage due to hail.
The state’s peanut condition improved during the past week, as 51 percent of the crop was reported in good to excellent condition. Producers were busy irrigating crops, making herbicide applications to cotton, peanuts, and soybeans, and side-dressing cotton with nitrogen.
Pasture conditions declined again this past week, but the majority remained in good to excellent condition.
Henry Dorough, regional Extension agent located in Talladega County, reported that rainfall has been hit or miss, and pastures were beginning to show signs of drought stress in most areas.
Rudy Yates, regional Extension agent located in Marengo County, stated that producers were busy baling hay and wheat straw. Alabama’s livestock condition remained steady, with most animals reported in good to excellent condition.
Warm and windy conditions continued with scattered showers for the week of June 8-15. Most areas throughout the state received an inch of rain or more. Three to four-inch showers covered many areas of the central Peninsula, Hardee, and Glades counties in the southern Peninsula, and Jackson County in the Panhandle. The most rain was received in Alachua County, at 5.77 inches.
Daytime highs reached the upper 80s and 90s; lows were in the 60s and 70s. Major cities reported highs in the 80s and 90s and lows in the 60s, 70s, and 80s.
Peanut planting ended with 100 percent completed compared to 96 percent last year. Peanut condition was rated 2 percent poor, 57 percent fair, 36 percent good, and 5 percent excellent. Some hay was cut in Jefferson County. Wheat harvest continued in Santa Rosa County.
Topsoil moisture was mostly short across the state and subsoil moisture was reported as adequate.
Summer vegetable growers began harvest in Florida City in Hernando County, but most areas reported field activity slowing down seasonally. Gadsden County’s squash harvest came to an end, while the pepper and tomato harvest continued. With less than 800 acres of potatoes reported left in the fields of the tri-county area, growers planned to complete their harvest this week.
Suwannee Valley began their watermelon harvest last week while organic squash, zucchini, eggplant, okra, and bell pepper harvesting continued.
Other vegetables marketed throughout the week were sweet corn and cucumbers.
Growers welcomed rain over all citrus areas, although it varied from a trace to almost four inches. Maximum temperatures moderated a little with afternoon showers and thunderstorms but continued in the mid 90s in all areas. Minimum temperatures continued in the mid 60s. Rainfall amounts ranged from almost four inches in the central interior areas to one-half inch recorded at the Ft. Pierce station.
Trees looked good with heavy foliage and healthy new fruit.
Production activities included irrigating where necessary, spraying, mowing, and brush removal. Growers combated greening by removing trees and attempting to control the Psyllids with pesticides.
Valencia harvest dropped below the five million box weekly amount as hot temperatures and afternoon rain slowed harvest. Some processing plants plan to run Valencia oranges into the second week of July.
Grapefruit utilization declined rapidly with small amounts of red varieties continuing to be processed. Honey tangerine harvest was nearing completion with packinghouses closing for the season.
Isolated showers throughout the state have allowed few farmers relief, according to the USDA, NASS, Georgia Field Office. Daily average high temperatures fluctuated between the high 80s and low 90s. Average lows were in the 60s most of week. Soil moisture conditions were rated at 28 percent very short, 43 percent short, 48 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus.
Scattered showers brought some relief to drought stressed crops. Thunderstorms combined with high winds and hail caused some damage. Despite scattered showers, dry conditions continued to have a negative impact on crops. Hay cutting and baling remained behind schedule.
Other activities include dusting in soybeans and cotton, and peanut fungicide sprayings.
County Extension Agents reported an average of 6.3 days suitable for fieldwork.
District 1 — Northwest “Still getting those afternoon showers.”
District 2 — North Central “Scattered showers did not relieve drought conditions, rain badly needed.”
District 3 — Northeast “Storms in areas over the weekend brought much needed rains. Scattered thunderstorms on Sunday night gave parts of the county minor/temporary relief.”
District 4 — West Central “The county needs rain!”
District 5 — Central “Needing rain! Extremely hot temperatures. Wheat harvest in full swing. Some hay producers harvesting hay.”
District 6 — East Central “Wheat yields very good, test weights even better. Very hot and very dry, two pop-up thunderstorms made rain for a few growers, but it came with high winds blowing down trees and corn. One grower had lightning set a wheat field on fire. Stands look good, even dry land, but heat and dry conditions are keeping the cotton and peanuts slowed while allowing weeds to get away from us. Pre-emerge herbicides did very little on dry land due to not being activated by rain. Soybeans and some remaining cotton acres following wheat being "dusted in" to make insurance deadline. Just barely starting on peanut fungicide sprays. Hard to tell if weed problems are due to dry weather or resistance. Have been hand spraying and flagging suspect weeds.”
District 7 — Southwest “Scattered afternoon showers have created a hit or miss situation that continues to allow dryland crops, pasture and hay fields to suffer in approximately 40 percent of the county.”
District 8 – South Central “Some light showers have occurred this week. However, dry conditions are having negative impact on crops and forages.”