Tropical storm brings short-term relief to some Southeast crops

Tropical Storm Barry moved across portions of the Southeast during the first weekend in June and brought much needed rainfall to many areas, excluding westernmost Georgia and the state of Alabama.

However, state USDA, NASS field offices reported additional moisture is badly needed to give area crops a chance to thrive.

Here’s how the individual state offices assessed the situation for the week ended June 3:


Abundant rainfall during the latter part of week of May 28 through June 3 from Tropical Storm Barry brought much needed rains across most of the state.

Growers welcomed the rains which help alleviate the existing severe drought conditions. Tropical Storm Barry, which formed off the Gulf Coast, made landfall near Tampa and continued moving across the northern Peninsula.

The storm packed winds up to 50 miles per hour along with heavy rains. Official rainfall totals ranged from under a tenth of an inch at Jay to nearly seven inches at West Palm Beach. Localities recording over three inches included Bronson, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Pierce, Jacksonville, Live Oak, MacClenny, and Tampa. Melbourne recorded nearly 6 inches of rainfall.

Several areas received between one and two inches of precipitation. Rains helped to extinguish some of Florida’s wild fires but more significant rains are still needed.

The Florida Department of Agriculture’s Division of Forestry reported 150 active fires affecting 130,284 acres as of June 3.

Temperatures at the major stations ranged from normal to two degrees below normal. Daytime highs were in the 80s and 90s. Pleasant evening lows were in the 50s and 60s.

Scattered rains from Tropical Storm Barry helped to increase moisture in some fields, yet more areas need ample rains to facilitate harvesting. Several field crops across the Panhandle and Peninsula are beginning to wilt and die due to the lack of precipitation.

Despite rains from Tropical Storm Barry, topsoil and subsoil moisture across the state remains very short to short with a few pockets of adequate supplies. Even irrigated field crops are not progressing normally due to the heat and drought.

In Jackson County, virtually all dryland corn is lost due to the persistent drought conditions before Barry. Considerable amount of cotton acreage has been delayed in Santa Rosa County due to the dry conditions.

Dry weather with light showers plus no subsoil moisture caused cotton planted in late May to sprout and die in Santa Rosa County. Winter wheat harvest has been delayed with only a minimal amount harvested in Santa Rosa County due to a lack of moisture.

It is too early to determine what corn yields will look like, but light showers have helped in Santa Rosa County.

Plentiful rains near the end of the week curtailed most picking in the vegetable areas. Rains from Tropical Storm Barry were very beneficial to vegetable fields in very dry areas and in need of irrigation. Watermelon harvesting continued to remain active with most fields irrigated.

Cantaloupe harvesting is under way in Washington County, but they are smaller than normal due to cool evenings and dry weather.

Tomato harvesting around Quincy is expected to begin next week.

Producers marketed snap beans, cantaloupes, celery, sweet corn, eggplant, okra, peppers, radishes, and tomatoes.


Tropical Storm Barry delivered much-needed rain to much of the state this past weekend, according to the USDA, NASS, Georgia Field Office.

Average highs were in the 80s most of the week. Lows averaged from the upper 50s to the mid-60s. Average rainfall was 1.62 inches for the week.

Tropical Storm Barry and its' remnants provided all but the westernmost areas of the state with a good soaking rain on Saturday and Sunday.

Topsoil moisture conditions were rated at 62 percent very short, 20 percent short, 17 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus.

Farmers received some relief, at least in the short-term, with the rains over the weekend. However, overall conditions remained dry.

In areas that received rain, dryland corn and other crops should see some improvement, and crops that were dusted in now have a good chance of coming up.

Growers continued dusting in cotton and peanuts as they worked to complete their planting. Most crops, including vegetables, were growing slowly and stands were poor.

Insects were afflicting emerged cotton. Irrigation continued where possible.

Cattle producers reduced herd numbers and weaned calves earlier than normal due to lack of hay and grazing.

Early wheat yields were low as a result of freeze losses.

Other activities included harvesting canola, plowing tobacco, and spraying for insects.

County Extension Agents reported an average of 6.2 days suitable for fieldwork.


Rain was once again widely scattered over parts of Alabama. Dan Porch, Regional Extension Commercial Horticulturist in northeast Alabama, stated light scattered showers across the area did nothing to relieve drought conditions.

The wind swept away the moisture almost as quickly as it fell and no signs of relief are in sight for the next 7 days. Jackson County FSA agent, Donald Mann, stated the drought continues to increase in severity and he is not sure how much longer the crops will continue to live if it doesn’t rain this week.

The temperatures from last week reported daytime highs in the upper 80s to low 90s and evening lows in the mid 50s to low 60s. Weather stations reporting precipitation last week still indicated rainfall of less than one inch.

Limestone County FSA Agent, Shane Seay, stated soybean planting remains below 100 percent due to the severe drought.

Producers are not planting behind wheat due to the lack of moisture in the soil. All crops continue to worsen every day and the rainfall deficit increases.

Forecasts are not giving any good signs of relief anytime soon. Madison County FSA agent, Thomas D Atkinson, stated non-irrigated corn is believed to be a total loss. Easter freeze killed the first planting of corn.

Drought is killing the second planting. Soybeans will go next.

Autauga County FSA Agent, Leonard Kuykendall, stated corn is essentially lost to the drought, wheat and other small grain harvest almost complete with variable yields overall near average.

Fayette County FSA Agent, Cindy Owens, stated the county received spotty rainfall last week and corn is showing signs of stress by mid-day.

Dallas County FSA Agent, Perry Woodruff, stated all crops are hurting from the drought. Some acres of cotton, soybean and peanuts are not being planted because of the drought.

Atkinson stated cotton will sustain the longest through the drought due to the nature of the crop’s root system.

Owens commented that cotton and soybeans are planted but they are not emerging due to the lack of moisture.

Chip East, regional Extension commercial horticulturist, in east Alabama, stated the east central part of Alabama is very dry like everywhere else in the state.

Some non-irrigated crops have been planted for 6 weeks and have not even germinated yet. Irrigated crops are doing much better, but it's hard to put out enough water.

Growers do not have as many disease problems in a drought but powdery mildew may be a problem on cucurbit crops such as watermelon cantaloupe, and squash.

Porch stated insect pressure is fairly high, with large populations of aphids and cucumber beetles on squash and other crops. Spotted wilt virus is showing up in some scattered plants in tomatoes.

Cedar waxwings (birds) have been hitting strawberry fields and any other fruit sources they can find, creating problems for some strawberry growers.

Strawberry harvest still under way for some and others are winding down. Growers are beginning to harvest squash, cucumbers, onions, cabbage, and other cool season crops.

Robert Boozer, Auburn Extension horticulturist, commented peach harvest in central Alabama continues as does the drought.

No rainfall occurred during the week. Growers that have irrigation continue to water but, it is difficult to keep up.

Fruit size in many orchards continues to be smaller than normal.

Montgomery Extension Agent, Jimmy Smitherman, commented that we need rain and hay is short and livestock producers are already feeding hay due to the shortage of forage crops. Atkinson stated cattle producers are supplementing heavily.


A strong ridge of high pressure centered across the southeast U.S. brought a continuation of mainly dry weather to Tennessee last week.

Although a few areas received isolated showers, the lack of rain has been problematic on several fronts.

First, crops and pastures have been greatly stressed from the moderate to extreme drought conditions experienced across Tennessee, and overall condition ratings for corn, hay, wheat, and pastures all declined from the week earlier.

Second, planting of crops, including tobacco transplanting, have been slowed or halted because of the lack of soil moisture. Over half of the soybean crop has emerged, and the crop was rated in mostly fair-to-good condition.

Nearly the entire wheat crop was turning color with a fifth of the acreage considered ripe.

In addition, livestock producers have begun feeding hay and hauling water, much earlier than usual.

In some cases, producers were already feeding hay cut this year, as stocks were extremely short coming out of the winter months. Although the first cutting of hay has been running ahead of schedule, the reduction in yields and quality have minimized the benefits of this rapid progress.

Cattle herd sizes were being reduced in many areas to fit available feed supplies.

There were 7 days considered suitable for fieldwork.

Topsoil moisture levels were rated 45 percent very short, 44 percent short, and 11 percent adequate.

Subsoil moisture levels were rated 43 percent very short, 41 percent short, and 16 percent adequate.

Temperatures last week averaged around 5 degrees above normal, while rainfall amounts averaged around an inch below normal statewide.

County agent comments:

"Corn showing drought stress in the mornings, especially in the sandy areas of the fields and on the end rows. All cotton and soybeans are up to a stand. Thrips damage to grain sorghum has been found but not bad enough to treat. Most disease and insect problems are not an issue at present. Weeds are beginning to harden off from the dry weather and are harder to kill." Greg Allen, Lake County

"Most producers have stopped transplanting tobacco because of dry weather. A few producers have lost their first transplanting due to the extreme dry conditions. Those that have the capability to irrigate are putting on some water before transplanting. Wheat fields that were chemically burned down and planted to corn or beans are infested with cutworms and some army worms." John Bartee, Montgomery County

"Soybean planting has been suspended for a month or more due to low soil moisture. Pastures are brown and not producing at all. Livestock producers are hauling water and feeding hay. Hay production is 30 percent of normal." David Qualls, Lincoln County

"Dry weather has allowed the hay to be cut in a more timely manner. However, county hay yields are 40-50 percent below average. Pasture and hay shortage has forced beef producers to start culling cows. There is a lot of interest in planting summer annuals." Scott Swoape, Van Buren County

"Most farming operations involving planting have stopped as there is not enough surface moisture to grow anything. Several cattle operations have begun feeding supplemental feed, and small producers are beginning to liquidate grazing livestock. No-till crops planted before mid-April are in the best condition. First cutting hay yields are running between one third and one half of normal." Tom Swanks, Meigs County


This past week was yet another warm and dry one across the Commonwealth. Days suitable for work were 5.9.

Topsoil moisture was adequate.

Side dressing corn with nitrogen and the application of post-emergence herbicides has begun. Soybean planting has been delayed due to the dry conditions and some tobacco farmers were awaiting rainfall to continue transplanting.

Most producers have finished harvesting their first cutting of hay and are reporting better than expected yields.

Vegetable planting and harvesting also continues this week.

Other farm activities for the week included: equipment repair, bush-hogging, preparing land for soybean planting, and preparation for wheat and barley harvest.

South Carolina

After the extremely dry month of May, South Carolina welcomed the precipitation generated by tropical depression Barry.

Many farmers are feeling better today, as their crops have improved from the much needed moisture. There was little standing water reported in fields, as the dry earth soaked up the rains like a sponge.

Although the rainfall was much appreciated, upstate counties received less, and could certainly use more in the near future. Soil moisture improved substantially, and was rated at 5 percent very short, 28 percent short and 67 percent adequate.

For most of the state, the weekdays were dry and sunny. Days suitable for fieldwork across the state averaged 6.2 for the week.

Corn and tobacco, two crops struggling before the weekend, improved with the rains Saturday and Sunday. Corn was reported at 17 percent poor, 55 percent fair, and 28 percent good. Tobacco conditions were 5 perdent poor, 50 perdent fair, and 45 perdent good.

Cotton, peanut, and soybean planting should continue this week with the moist soils. Cotton planting was nearly complete at 98percent, peanuts at 90 percent, and soybeans at 59 percent.

Oat and winter wheat harvests were ongoing, and they were 30 and 14 percent complete respectively.

Livestock condition was fair to good. Pasture conditions improved with the rains. Vegetable planting was nearly completed. Cucumber and tomato harvest began on early planted crops.

Peaches remained very poor, and were rated 94 percent very poor, 4 percent poor and 2 percent fair. Apple conditions were still 40 percent very poor, 30 percent poor and 30 percent fair.

North Carolina

Rain during the weekend brought temporary relief from dry conditions. There were 6.3 days suitable for field work this past week compared to the 6.6 days from the previous week.

Statewide, soil moisture levels are rated at 39 percent very short, 34 percent short, 26 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus.

Activities during the week included planting peanuts, sorghum, soybeans, sweet potatoes, and tobacco.

First cutting of hay, and harvesting of truck crops and small grains continue to progress.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.