Severe storms passed over Virginia this past week producing hail that damaged several hundred acres of corn, soybeans and wheat. Damage assessments are in progress.

Meanwhile, lack of rainfall continues to cause concern for growers in North Carolina. In South Carolina the corn condition has spiraled downward from where it was a few weeks ago, with some fields being disked up.

The state USDA/NASS field offices report the overall situation as follows:

North Carolina

North Carolina received between zero and 1.48 inches of rain throughout the week. Whiteville reported the most rain with 1.48 inches. Average temperatures ranged from 62 to 77 degrees, which for some areas was slightly below normal. Lack of rain continues to cause concern for many farmers in the state.

There were 6.4 days suitable for field work, compared to 6.6 from the previous week.

Statewide soil moisture levels are rated at 25 percent very short, 54 percent short, 21 percent adequate and zero percent surplus.

Activities during the week included the planting of sorghum, soybeans, sweet potatoes, and harvesting hay, Irish potatoes, barley, rye, oats, and wheat.

South Carolina

Portions of South Carolina to the east, and south of Columbia received a good amount of rainfall this past week with the exceptions of a small section around Florence, and the lower Savannah River Area. Rainfall was spotty at best in the Upstate.

Soil moisture improved somewhat with the rainfall, but overall was still very dry. State average soil moisture ratings were reported at 43 percent very short, 32 percent short, 23 percent adequate, and 2 percent surplus. There was a statewide average of 6.3 days that were suitable for field work for the week.

The corn condition has spiraled downward from where it was a few weeks ago. Rains that came towards the end of last week were too late for many fields. There were some fields being disc harrowed. For the current week the condition was reported as 35 percent very poor, 31 percent poor, 28 percent fair, and 6 percent good.

Cotton was squaring, but some plants were dropping squares due to the drought. Conditions were 3 percent very poor, 16 percent poor, 69 percent fair, and 12 percent good.

The situation has been very favorable for the oat crop. Harvest was winding down ahead of where we usually are for this time of year.

A lot of budworms were being reported in peanuts. Conditions were 5 percent very poor, 17 percent poor, 57 percent fair, and 21 percent good.

Dry soils in the Upstate were making it difficult to establish soybeans after small grains. Fields in the eastern half of the state may stand a chance with the rains. Planting will continue this week in areas that had adequate moisture. Conditions were 15 percent very poor, 24 percent poor, 49 percent fair, and 12 percent good.

Sweet potato planting was winding down. The crop remained in mostly fair condition. tobacco has also suffered from the drought. The crop was in mostly fair condition. Winter wheat harvest was gearing down, and should finish early this year.

Livestock conditions were mostly fair. The Upstate has had the least amount of rain, and pastures were showing it. Conditions were 22 percent very poor, 41 percent poor, 30 percent fair, and 7 percent good.

Peach conditions declined somewhat, but are still in mostly good condition. Vegetable harvests were ongoing with conditions continuing to decline for many crops.

Virginia

Severe storms passed over the Commonwealth this week. Northern and central counties experienced hail damage on several hundred acres of crops, including corn, soybeans, and wheat. Damage assessments were in progress. Most of the south and west parts of the state received insufficient rainfall and continue to suffer from drought stress. Days suitable for fieldwork were 6.0.

Farmers whose fields received damage from the storm made plans to replant with soybeans. In areas unaffected by the storm, good progress was made on small grain harvests. Despite some lodging from rain showers, wheat yields are better than expected.

Other farming activities included harvesting hay, planting pumpkins, harvesting blueberries, and thinning apples and peaches.

REPORTER COMMENTS BY COUNTY

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

EASTERN

KING GEORGE (Regina Prunty) “Showers continue to replenish moisture but un-harvested wheat is darkening in color.”

MIDDLESEX (David Moore) “Showers have kept corn looking good along with early soybeans. Unfortunately, showers will decrease test weight in wheat. Wheat harvest creeps on. Yields and test weights have been very good to excellent. Some areas still need rain and have curled corn leaves and poor stands of soybeans. A few tomatoes and squash have been harvested with sweet corn coming on strong and should be available by July 1. Recent surge in commodity prices has excited producers and has sparked interest in contracting corn and soybeans for this season as well as 2009 and 2010.”

NORTHUMBERLAND (Matt Lewis) “Barley harvest is over, and wheat harvest has begun. Wheat straw is tough and poses a harvest challenge, but many yields are 100 bushels per acre and higher. With the high yields, long lines have been forming at local grain elevators, prompting some farmers to store some of their wheat temporarily in on-farm storage. Corn is beginning to pollinate, and is doing so under ideal conditions. Recent, timely rains have ensured that few acres are under any significant level of moisture stress.”

WESTERN

HIGHLAND (Rodney Leech) “Thundershowers early in the week provided continued needed moisture. Hay harvest in full swing with yield estimates above normal.”

ROANOKE (Sheri Dorn) “Last half of week experienced cooler than average night temperatures. Cooler daytime temperatures mid-week. Rainfall this week 0.46 inches.”

ROCKBRIDGE (Jon Repair) “Moisture levels are becoming very critical throughout most of Rockbridge. Pasture growth is going backwards very quickly due to high temperatures and excessively windy days. Second cutting grass hay growth has seized. Small grain harvest for grain is beginning.”

SOUTHERN

FRANKLIN (Beverly Cox) “Rainfall shortages are stressing all growing crops including corn, tobacco, hay, and pasture. Less than 0.5 inch of rain was received in parts of the county Saturday, but otherwise no rain fell this week. The drop in temperatures this week did relieve some pressure on crops and animals compared to previous weeks.”

CENTRAL

CAROLINE (McGann Saphir) “A large hail storm caused serious damage to about 300 acres of corn and 100 acres of soybeans and some mixed vegetables in and around Bowling Green on June 19. Hail earlier in the week caused some damage to vegetables in areas around the county. Corn was just beginning to show signs of moisture stress, but widespread thunderstorms have brought significant rain to most areas of the county. Corn is generally looking very good. Grain producers are still harvesting wheat (barley is mostly harvested) and planting double-crop soybeans into the wheat stubble. Small grain yields and test weights are good to excellent. Vegetable producers are staking tomatoes, preparing to plant pumpkins, and picking blueberries. Recent thunderstorms with associated hail have caused some damage to fruit and vegetables across the county.”

ORANGE (Steve Hopkins) “Orange County had hail damage to approximately 600 acres of corn, 200 acres of soybeans and 120 acres of wheat this past week. Most of the soybean damaged fields will need to be replanted. Most of the corn damage ranged from 10 percent to 40 percent, with about 50 acres needing to be replanted. Wheat damaged ranged from 30 percent to 100 percent loss.”

SOUTHEASTERN

CHESAPEAKE CITY (Watson Lawrence) “Wheat harvest is in full swing with a very good crop reported by most. Yields and test weights are good. Some yield reductions because of head scab, but most farmers are harvesting an above average crop. A shower of rain dropped one half inch this week which gave some help to soybeans planted recently. Farmers are coping with heavy smoke from two regional forest fires burning in this area.”

SUFFOLK CITY (Rex Cotton) “It’s been dry. We had a sprinkle or two, which helped. In general, we have less moisture than normal for this time of year. Showers are needed. We had cooler nights earlier this spring which caused the crops to have a slow start.”

SOUTHWESTERN

SCOTT (Scott Jerrell) “Lack of rainfall is impacting farmers greatly due to insufficient pasture regrowth, lack of hay regrowth, and surface waters drying up. To date, we are 4.27 inches short of rain which, combined with last year’s drought, puts us in a rainfall deficit of over 23 inches. Scattered showers continue, but are very localized and ineffective.”

TAZEWELL (John Blankenship) “We have been getting some showers in the evening and night that have helped the forages grow.”

NORTHERN

CULPEPER (Carl Stafford) “Rainfall delayed barley harvest and soybean double-crop planting. Corn replanting brought on by wet soils and poor stands in low places is now complete. Plentiful forages from pasture and hay production. Delayed harvest reduces quality of hay.”

FAUQUIER (Tim Mize) “Rainfall has been adequate or above all spring. In some areas the constant rains have delayed harvest or lowered the quality of hay, although yields are normal. Portions of the county have had to replant some corn and soybeans due to wet conditions prior to and following planting.”

MADISON (Brad Jarvis) “Farmers in the southeastern part of Madison County suffered major crop losses due to hail storms. The corn crop was defoliated and wheat is on the ground. Currently, data is being collected to compile a complete damage assessment report.”