From a bird’s-eye view of a disaster to peanuts on fire and from Haitians in corn to a helicopter over cotton and from black-in-white irrigation to complex farming, here’s a look at the people, places and things that helped tell the stories of Southeast agriculture this year.
The idea of an early production soybean system using indeterminate varieties has been around for decades, but it wasn’t a particularly economic way to grow soybeans in the Southeast. But old can be new again, say some soybean experts.
Zippy Duvall’s been on the road. By late October, he’d been to more than a dozen states and planned to hit more than 30 states by year’s end, all on his trek to be the next American Farm Bureau Federation president.
Brad Thompson lands the helicopter on top of the upper deck of the modified trailer. Cotton plants whirled and dirt swirled. On the trailer, farmhand/ground crewman Dusty Smith casually refills the copter’s spray tank and chats with Thompson.
On Oct. 7, soon after historic rain hit the region, Lindsay McClam took pictures during an airplane flyover of the terrible flooding in and around Kingstree, South Carolina, where she and her husband, Brian, farm.
The images and realization of just how bad historic flooding has hit some South Carolina farms are coming to light. South Carolina famers’ yields were already in trouble due to prolonged drought this summer. Now the flooding takes hope away for any harvest at all.
As the 2015 U.S. peanut harvest rolls on, some things are being learned about peanuts under the current farm bill. Peanut farmers will need to continue to watch, or watch better, how they market their peanuts.
Peanut farmers are gearing up combines across the Southeast, and hay balers will be crawling behind many of them. Peanut hay can be good feed for livestock and provide additional cash flow for peanut growers. But taking the hay or leaving it in the field can be a tough call.
U.S. peanut production is on track to be the second largest ever. Cotton production ticked up but remains well below last year’s level, and soybean farmers planted their largest acreage ever, according to the USDA September Crop Production Report released Sept. 11.