Upper Southeast crop conditions variable

Reports out of South Carolina show a considerable acreage of corn is being cut for silage due to poor yield potential. Some growers were also finding a considerable presence of smut in corn fields.

In North Carolina, growers were hopeful scattered showers would keep crops from deteriorating.

Virginia, meanwhile, continued to experience diverse weather conditions. However, most of the state continued to suffer with dry conditions brought on by high temperatures and hot winds.

Here’s how the various USDA/NASS state field offices reported the situation in the upper Southeast for the week ending Aug. 3.

North Carolina

North Carolina received between 0.02 and 2.49 inches of rain throughout the week. Laurinburg had the most precipitation with 2.49 inches.

Average temperatures ranged from 67 to 84 degrees. The Mountain Region received scattered showers during the week and the conditions of the crops remain unchanged. The rest of the state saw similar conditions and farmers are hopeful the scattered showers will keep the crops from deteriorating.

There were 6 days suitable for field work, compared to 5.8 from the previous week. Statewide soil moisture levels are rated at 12 percent very short, 47 percent short, 41 percent adequate and zero percent surplus.

Activities during the week included the harvesting of hay, peaches, and tobacco, and scouting for pest and disease problems.

South Carolina

Scattered thunderstorms continued once again for another week across the state. Many areas that had been missing out on the precipitation were more fortunate this time around. However, higher than average temperatures have been drying out soils not long after the rains have fallen.

Average soil moisture ratings were 24 percent very short, 45 percent short, and 31 percent adequate. There was a statewide average of 6.1 days that were suitable for field work.

There are more reports of corn acreage being cut for silage, because of the lack of yield potential. Some growers were finding considerable presence of smut in their fields. Conditions were 49 percent very poor, 26 percent poor, 19 percent fair, and 6 percent good.

Cotton farmers were scouting for pests, but many have not applied any significant control applications yet. Conditions changed little from last week and were 12 percent very poor, 21 percent poor, 35 percent fair, 31 percent good, and 1 percent excellent.

Likewise, peanut producers were still scouting for larvae and stink bugs. Conditions were 8 percent very poor, 3 percent poor, 37 percent fair, 50 percent good, and 2 percent excellent.

Soybeans continue to improve where rainfall has fallen. Conversely, areas short of moisture have gone the other way in part due to the increased demand from the heat. Conditions were 14 percent very poor, 28 percent poor, 41 percent fair, and 17 percent good.

Sweet potatoes were 10 percent very poor, 15 percent poor, 40 percent fair, and 35 percent good.

Tobacco looks okay, but is not a bumper crop by any means. Conditions were 8 percent very poor, 7 percent poor, 46 percent fair, 35 percent good, and 4 percent excellent.

Hay is in short supply in several upstate areas. Livestock remain under stress due to the summer heat. Pastures will continue to need more rain with the high temperatures.

Peach conditions declined as more producers were realizing damage suffered from earlier cold, and hail. Over two-thirds of the crop has been harvested. Later vegetable crops have experienced some pollination problems.


Virginia experienced diverse weather conditions this week. Isolated areas received much needed rainfall. However, most of the state continued to suffer with dry conditions brought on by high temperatures and hot winds. Days suitable for field work were 6.

Corn conditions worsened under the heat stress, except for the isolated areas that received rain. In these areas corn conditions improved.

Several cattlemen are selling off calves earlier than normal due to poor pastures and costly feed. In some areas, cattlemen are lightly supplementing their cattle to compensate for deteriorating pastures.

Other farming activities for the week included harvesting peaches and apples, planting fall vegetable crops, scouting for insect pressure, and irrigating where possible.


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


AMHERST (William Seay) “Spotty rain showers have brought relief to some areas, but the moisture gained is quickly lost under continuous high temperatures and hot winds. Some producers are supplementing pastures with hay. Stream flow continues to decline. Producers have started to sell off calves early.”

BEDFORD (Scott Baker) “Dry conditions persisted last week. Some livestock producers are expressing concerns about declining water availability. Also, limited supplemental feeding has occurred due to deteriorating pasture situation.”

CAROLINE (McGann Saphir) “Corn silage is being harvested as corn fields dry down very quickly. Some corn fields for grain look very good and some show signs of poor pollination and poor ear fill. Extremely variable rains produced good fields across the road from fields that show signs of major moisture stress. Soybeans are beginning to flower and start pods. We need some good generalized rains to keep the flowers on the plants and insure good pod fill. The county has not experienced anything but spotty relatively small thunderstorms for almost four weeks. Many pastures and hayfields are browning out and soybeans are showing signs of wilting in mid-afternoon sun.”


BRUNSWICK (Cynthia L. Gregg) “Many vegetables are making it to local farmer markets and they are being consumed. Many folks are calling Extension offices to get information on canning and freezing. Early in the week damage from the Sunday thunderstorm, with hail and high winds were assessed in the northeast corner of the county. Tobacco, corn, soybeans were damaged the most. The high temperatures are taking a toll on crops, livestock and producers. Some areas of the county got rain on Thursday afternoon, with Friday once again being hot.”

SUSSEX (Kelvin Wells) “Farmers are applying herbicide applications on cotton and soybeans. Some application of fungicide was applied on peanuts. The county experienced spotty showers for the week. Some very isolated places received about 2 inches. The majority of the county needs a good soaking rain.”

CHESAPEAKE CITY (Watson Lawrence) “We received frequent summer showers this week which helped to alleviate the lack of rain we experienced early on. Corn crop is limited by now. Soybean crop has been hurt by both dry soils and wet soils, depending if you were in an area which had to be replanted because of drought or conversely received 12-plus inches of rain in July, which drowned plants in the field. Some acres of alfalfa spoiled because of unexpected rain that fell after it was cut. There is always a challenge with summer humidity and thunderstorms. Summer produce is readily available now. No major pest causing concerns at this time. Crop scouts are now busy looking for insect and disease problems we expect to see as conditions become favorable for those pests.”


ACCOMACK (Jim Belote) “Potato harvest is winding up. This is a good year. There are some farmers planting fall crops such as snap beans and butterbeans. Farmers are actively scouting soybean crop for worms, spider mites and other pests. Farmers are requesting information on wheat seed. Some were already ordering seed for fall. Some corn companies delivering brochures and taking orders for 2009 corn seed. A few farmers are taking a short vacation. Corn needs significant rain badly. We are having a brief thunderstorm in some areas.”

NEW KENT (Paul Davis) “Farming activities included weed control in soybeans, attending Ag Field Days, irrigating if possible, praying for rain, bush hogging around fields, vacations, scaring deer out of soybeans and blackbirds out of corn fields.”


MONTGOMERY (Barry Robinson) “Localized showers have benefited some farms, therefore those crops are progressing well. In the areas not receiving so much precipitation, pastures and hayfields are struggling. Corn planted early is growing well in most areas. Farmers are seeing significant amounts of disease problems on tomato, cucurbits and various fruit crops.”


MADISON (Brad Jarvis) “Severe hail storm on Saturday hit the southeastern part of Madison County that defoliated the corn crop, injured soybeans and caused a lot of tree damage. VCE is in the process of estimating the damages.”


AUGUSTA (Brian Jones) “Dry weather during the week plagued parts of Augusta County, south and east particularly. Corn has been exhibiting drought stress and those who can irrigate have been. Soybeans have improved somewhat, where stands were established. The northwestern part of the county on into Rockingham and the northern Valley are very good.”

BOTETOURT (Cassie Digroll) “Apple and peach growers within the county are finding more damage as a result of last week's storms.”

ROANOKE (Sheri Dorn) “Evening temperatures higher than average. Rainfall for the week was 0.21 inches.”

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