Rains bring some improvement to crop conditions

The major crop development for the Southeast this past week is that many Alabama growers finally received some much needed rainfall and the same was true for their counterparts in Georgia.

Still, droughty conditions continued over much of the area as reported by the USDA’s NASS state field offices.

Here are highlights for the week ended July 2:


After a second week of spotty rainfall, areas of drought in southwestern Alabama improved slightly from extreme to severe conditions. However, nearly 44 percent of the state was categorized as still suffering from exceptional drought conditions, compared with just fewer than 43 percent the previous week and none one year ago.

Warren Griffith mentioned that Fayette County received some beneficial rains during the past week, and that crops seemed to be responding.

With the exception of Opelika, all reporting weather stations accumulated rainfall during the past week. Jasper totaled 2.74 inches over a six day period, and Marion Junction saw 2.53 inches in four days.

The year-to-date totals for all weather stations remained below normal, with several areas in northeastern and north-central Alabama still more than 20 inches behind. Temperatures during the past week were as many as six degrees above normal. Daytime highs ranged from 92 to 99 degrees, with overnight lows varying from 61 to 72 degrees.

Leonard Kuykendall, Autauga County Extension agent, noted that some farmers harvested disaster corn as forage.

Many soybean growers took advantage of the rain showers during the past week and finished planting their late soybean crops that followed harvested winter wheat.

Soybean progress stages across the state ranged from just planted to just blooming depending on the planting date, maturity group and how much rainfall had been received.

Dennis Delaney, soybean specialist at Auburn University, reported that Asian soybean rust was found in a sentinel plot at an experiment station in Baldwin County on June 25.

William Birdsong, Extension agronomist at the Wiregrass Research and Extension Center, stated that Alabama’s cotton crop looked much better after last week’s rain, but was still a long way from being a promising crop. Most fields had crop stands that were skippy and poor.

A report of possibly “herbicide resistant” pigweed was received in Barbour County. A herbicide application was made at two times the regular rate of Roundup and four times the regular rate of Glyphosate.

After two weeks, the pigweed was only stunted or “burned back,” and appeared not to have died.

Ron Smith, Extension cotton entomologist, found an increased number of plant bugs. Not a lot of damage was seen, but producers were encouraged to increase their observations for the pest.

Many growers were busy applying liquid nitrogen to their cotton fields because it was a cheaper input when compared to dry nitrogen.

The majority of the state’s peanut crop was reported in very poor or poor condition during the past week. Reports of worm infestations to peanut fields in southeastern Houston County were received during the past week. Producers feared the infestations were made by resistant budworms because pyrethroid sprays did not effectively control the pests.

Daniel Porch, Extension agent for the Sand Mountain Region, indicated that most of northeastern Alabama received rainfall amounts ranging from 0.5 to 3 inches during the past week. Although this rain was too late for some crops, the late season melons and vegetables benefited from it tremendously.

Summer tomatoes and vegetables were being harvested. Prices were strong for most crops, and local markets were open and doing well.

Aphids were more prevalent, and tomato spotted wilt virus was discovered in garden tomatoes. Farmers were busy planting melons, tomatoes, pumpkins and peas.

Alabama’s range and pasture condition remained virtually unchanged during the past week even though most areas of the state received some rainfall. John S. Pulliam, Macon County Extension agent, added that hayfields and pastures remained dry, as ranchers continued to reduce herd sizes.

Jeff Knotts said that producers in Pike County were only able to harvest one cutting of hay.

Donald Mann in the Jackson County FSA office added livestock producers in the county continued to feed hay to their cattle.


Scattered storms helped alleviate dry conditions across the Peninsula. Rainfall totaled from less than a tenth of an inch at Carrabelle to over six inches at Fort Lauderdale. Several areas received over one inch of rain for the week.

Localities receiving over two inches of rainfall included Frostproof, Ocklawaha, Putnam Hall, and Tallahassee. Over three inches of precipitation was recorded at Apopka, Homestead, and Miami. Ona received over four inches of rain and West Palm Beach received nearly six inches.

The scattered nature of the recent rain left some areas dry with the danger of wildfires remaining high. The Florida Department of Agriculture’s Division of Forestry reported 169 active wildfires on 105,344 acres as of June 29.

Conditions continue to worsen from the lack of rain for most crops throughout the Panhandle and northern Peninsula areas. Hay fields continued to suffer with most fields still brown and not growing in Jackson County.

In Jackson County, all but irrigated corn has been negatively impacted by the drought, with cattlemen feeding the abandoned corn to cattle due to the lack of hay.

Peanuts are entering the time frame where bloom and pegging depend on adequate moisture if the crop is to be made; currently weather conditions are not permitting this.

Reporters rated peanut condition as 20 percent very poor, 43 percent poor, 34 percent fair, and 3 percent good.

Pastures, ornamentals, and field crops in Martin County exhibit signs of stress, but there is enough moisture for field-grown crops to succeed. Soils remain dry in some areas due to rains skipping these areas.

Topsoil and subsoil moisture was rated very short to short across the Panhandle and northern Peninsula. Jackson and Hamilton counties reported very short to adequate soil moisture supplies.

Elsewhere, soil moisture was very short to adequate with a few pockets of surplus supplies.

Rains slowed some field work for vegetables with most harvesting finished. Okra harvesting continued in Dade County. Growers continued to market tomatoes around the Quincy area. Potato harvest was completed.


While many farmers still need rain, weekend showers brought some relief to the drought conditions, according to the USDA, NASS, Georgia Field Office.

Average highs were in the high 80s to the mid-90s; lows were in the 60s. The northeast part of the state also received showers during the week. Topsoil moisture conditions were rated at 31 percent very short, 38 percent short, 31 percent adequate, and zero percent surplus.

Weekend rains helped crop conditions remain stable, and improved in some areas.

Cattle were moving to market much earlier than normal. Forage crops have greened up some. Crop development has been slowed by the dry conditions. Disease problems have been reported in some vegetable crops.

There were reports of tomato spotted wilt virus in tobacco, and weed pressure was high in many fields.

Soybean planting continued.

Other activities included cutting hay, feeding hay to cattle, applying sucker control and insecticides to tobacco, applying herbicides to peanuts and cotton, applying poultry litter to pastures, and spraying pastures for weeds. County Extension agents reported an average of 6.1 days suitable for fieldwork.

South Carolina

Several areas of South Carolina received plenty of rainfall this past week from thunderstorms, while other parts of the state saw little or none. Soils for the week were rated at 13 percent very short, 40 percent short, 46 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus.

The state average of days suitable for fieldwork was 6.2 for the week.

Corn conditions vary widely depending on whether the crop had received any of the recent moisture or not. Corn was in a critical stage of ear filling. The Lower Savannah River area was still dry, and leaves were rolling up by 10:00 a.m., indicating yield loss may be occurring.

The crop’s condition was 3 percent very poor, 16 percent poor, 35 percent fair, 41 percent good, and 5 percent excellent.

Cotton weather has arrived which is warm, muggy, tropical like conditions. The crop is growing off good in areas that have gotten rain.

Conditions were 6 percent poor, 42 percent fair, 46 percent good, and 6 percent excellent.

Peanuts were filling out with 34 percent of the crop pegged.

Soybeans were just about all planted. Early beans have begun to bloom. The crop was rated at 1 percent very poor, 5 percent poor, 36 percent fair, 56 percdent good, and 2 percent excellent.

Tobacco is growing well now. Farmers have begun to top and sucker the crop in preparation for harvest beginning in the next two weeks. Conditions changed little and were 6 percent poor, 33 percent fair, 54 percent good, and 7 percent excellent.

Oat and winter wheat harvests were nearly complete.

The livestock condition was still fair to mostly good. Again, overall pasture conditions slightly declined this past week. Hay is in short supply, and expensive.

Harvests of vegetables were progressing well. There were few peaches to pick, as growers await the later maturing varieties to ripen. The crop remains in mostly very poor condition. Apple conditions were 30 percent very poor, 40 percent poor, and 30 percent fair.

North Carolina

Much needed rain dominated most of North Carolina this past week. Temperatures were predominately above normal for most of the state, with highs ranging from 86 to 96 degrees.

There were 5.8 days suitable for field work compared to 6.2 from the previous week.

Statewide soil moisture levels are rated at 23 percent very short, 35 percent short, 41 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus.

Activities during the week included planting sorghum, soybeans, and sweet potatoes, while small grains, peaches, and Irish potatoes continued to be harvested.


Scattered showers across the state brought temporary relief to some fields this past week, while other fields continued to endure hot and dry conditions. Days suitable for work were 6.2.

Topsoil moisture was generally short. Thunderstorms and showers have delayed hay baling in some areas. Producers are nearly finished with small grains harvest and are baling wheat straw.

Soybean planting continues in most regions despite weather conditions.

Cattle producers have already started feeding hay due to pasture conditions.

Irrigation of tobacco has begun and flu-cured producers have starting topping. The recent rains brought welcome moisture to many fields as the corn crop began to silk and tassel. Peanuts are beginning to peg and appear to be growing well.

Cotton continues to square. Vegetable producers have finished setting out pumpkins and continue to set out winter squash and other fall maturing crops. The tomato and potato harvests are expected to begin next week.

Other activities this week included weed and brush spraying, equipment repair, and fence work, vegetable harvest, and irrigation.

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