“David Smith, North Carolina State tobacco specialist, says the flue-cured crop was on schedule a month ago for a fine crop. Disease and drowning due to too much rainfall, however, have trimmed the potential. Rains from Tropical Storm Allison hammered eight million pounds off the crop. From the Sand Hills to the Piedmont, the crop looks okay. The northeastern part of the state looks pretty bad.”

Anything but a typical year would about sum it up this season.

Dry weather left many areas of the upper Southeast with below normal precipitation heading into summer.

And then, it happened.

One of those tropical storms — up from the Gulf of Mexico this time — dumped buckets of rain all up the Atlantic Seaboard.

It's had its effect on a number of crops so far, including tobacco and cotton.

In the case of cotton, the North Carolina crop is a little behind normal, with much of the crop suffering from abnormally high levels of fruit-shed, says Keith Edmisten, North Carolina State cotton specialist.

Cotton farmers will need to take into account the delay in maturity of the crop, monitor nitrogen levels and take petiole samples, as well as being a “little more timely with Pix applications,” Edmisten says.

On the tobacco front, North Carolina flue-cured farmers have been fighting blue mold in about 40 counties.

Tom Melton, North Carolina State University Extension plant pathologist, says it's the worst he's seen in quite some time. Most farmers, he says, have been doing a good job of dealing with the blue mold outbreaks.

Still on the disease front, Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus (TSWV) is worse than normal in North Carolina this year — particularly in the eastern part of the state, Melton says.

David Smith, North Carolina State tobacco specialist, says the flue-cured crop was on schedule a month ago for a fine crop. Disease and drowning due to too much rainfall, however, have trimmed the potential. Rains from Tropical Storm Allison hammered eight million pounds off the crop. “From the Sand Hills to the Piedmont, the crop looks okay. The northeastern part of the state looks pretty bad.”

As the field day season hits us, there's a precautionary cloud hanging over the scene.

At the end of every press release about this or that field day is a note about hoof and mouth disease. “NOTE: Because of the seriousness of hoof and mouth disease, we ask if you have been out of the country 14 days prior to the field day to please not attend.”

“We're staying off farms and calling it a virtual tour,” Smith says.


e-mail: cecil_yancy@intertec.com