A late-season outbreak of Asian soybean rust has been reported in South Carolina’s Dorchester and Hampton counties. Most fields have been sprayed once and many twice.

Corn harvest was winding down in the state with yields varying, depending on when the crop was planted and how much it suffered during the early June heat and the dearth of rain at that time.

Corn harvest has also been going strong in North Carolina, where many livestock producers are reporting better conditions this year than during 2007.

For an overall look at the situation, here are the reports from the state USDA/NASS field offices for the week ending Sept. 21.

North Carolina

North Carolina received light scattered showers with precipitation ranging from no rain in Wilmington, to 1.65 inches in Chapel Hill. Average temperatures ranged from 59 to 74 degrees.

Corn harvest is going strong throughout the state and many livestock producers are reporting better conditions this year than last year.

There were 5.3 days suitable for field work, compared to 4.4 from the previous week.

Statewide soil moisture levels are rated at 7 percent very short, 15 percent short, 64 percent adequate and 14 percent surplus.

Activities during the week included the harvesting of hay, corn for grain, corn for silage, apples, sweet potato, sorghum and tobacco and scouting for pest and disease problems.

South Carolina

Most of South Carolina’s coastal counties received an inch or more of rain this past week. Inland precipitation was confined mainly to an area running from Columbia to Dillon. Soil moisture was 5 percent very short, 36 percent short, 54 percent adequate, and 5 percent surplus. The average number of days that were suitable for field work was 6.2 for the state.

Corn harvest was beginning to wind down. Yields have varied depending on when the crop was planted, and how much it suffered during the early June heat and the dearth of rain at that time.

More cotton acreage was being defoliated this past week. Harvest will begin soon. There were reports of poor cotton from either too little, or too much moisture. There are spotted inland areas that have been missing out on precipitation, while some northern coastal counties have had a lot of rain over the past several weeks. Conditions were 5 percent very poor, 13 percent poor, 52 percent fair, 28 percent good, and 2 percent excellent.

Peanut harvesting began in areas that were dry this past week. The crop remained in mostly good condition.

Sorghum conditions continued to improve for yet another week. Conditions were reported at 18 percent very poor, 40 percent poor, 25 percent fair, and 17 percent good.

Soybean rust was found in Dorchester and Hampton counties last week. Most fields have been sprayed once, and many twice, changing very little in late season disease management plans. A few farmers were treating their beans for stinkbugs and worms. Conditions were 8 percent very poor, 21 percent poor, 35 percent fair, 33 percent good, and 3 percent excellent.

Conditions for sweet potatoes were 15 percent poor, 40 percent fair, and 45 percent good.

The last of the tobacco crop should be harvested this week.

This year’s hay cutting is over. Livestock welcomed cooler temperatures after a long dry summer. Pasture conditions were little changed from the previous week.

Apple harvest continued. There were a very few late season peaches remaining on the trees.

Virginia

Most of Virginia experienced dry weather and cool evenings. Days suitable for field work were 6.7.

Good progress was made harvesting corn. The harvest progressed quicker than expected due to the dry weather and lower than average yields.

Farmers are preparing for the soybean harvest. The majority of soybean crop is in fair to good condition.

Rain showers at the start of the month, and cool autumn-like temperatures contribute to improved hay and pastureland. However, hay stocks are short with winter not far distant; cattlemen are studying their grazing and feeding options. In some cases, cattlemen are downsizing their herds to compensate for the shortage of feed.

Other farming activities included preparing land for small grains, purchasing lime, seeds, and fertilizer, planting strawberries, and harvesting pumpkins, squash, and fall greens.

REPORTER COMMENTS BY COUNTY

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

WESTERN

ROANOKE (Sheri Dorn) “No precipitation this week. End of week daytime temperatures were cooler than average.”

ROCKBRIDGE (Jon Repair) “Hurricane Fay certainly brought some moisture relief, but it has been short-lived. We will need to continue with follow up precipitation on a frequent schedule, to continue moving us forward with early fall forage growth. Some late grass hay is being made. Several more rains and moderate temperatures would certainly enhance yields for later hay harvest and stockpiling of forages for late fall and early winter grazing. We are now approximately one month away from our normal killing frost date. Calves continue to find their way early to various marketing channels. Silage harvest continues forward with yields being off from normal 10 percent to 35 percent. Cover crops and fall forage seedings have begun, as they were on hold waiting for adequate moisture.”

EASTERN

ACCOMACK (Jim Belote) “Corn harvest is in full gear. Yields from 40 bushels per acre to 145 bushels per acre depending on if one got a storm or two at the right time. If it stays dry most corn will be harvested in a week or 10 days, which will make for an early finish. This is due mostly to the average or lower yields. The same should be true for soybeans. Yields will be average or less. It has turned dry in many areas and has been a disappointing year for many, especially with the high cost of production. Moisture needed for land preparation for barley and wheat and to get the crops planted and up. Farmers being conservative about contracting due to stock market problems this past week and concern over commodity market potential manipulation and possible bailout of entities in financial trouble by federal government. Tomato picking continues with the season starting to wind down. Other farming activities included, scouting in soybeans, lima beans and snap beans. Some farmers are spraying for worms in these crops.”

MIDDLESEX (David Moore) “Nice weather for most of the week. Corn harvest continues. Yields are below average for the most part. Some areas made good yields due to sporadic rains. Double-crop soybeans look very good and have potential to be average to above in yield if frost holds off long enough. Full season beans have been hurt by dry weather and yields will be below average in most areas. Land prep continues as well as seed/fertilizer/lime purchases, lime spreading and wheat planting decisions. Costs of inputs have producers talking and pushing their pencils on the cost of raising wheat. Some hay being made and grass is being planted.”

CENTRAL

AMHERST (William W. Seay) “Forage growth has been good after recent rains. However stream flow is still below normal and not all streams have returned to continuous flow. Additional rains are now needed to continue forage growth and germinate small grain seedings and over-seeded forages.”

CAROLINE (McGann Saphir) “Grain and soybean producers are finishing up corn harvest and preparing to start harvesting soybeans. Improved soil moisture has made planting conditions for wheat and barley more favorable. Pastures and hay fields are also improved. Strawberry growers are planting next season's crop under plastic beds. Pumpkin harvesting has begun. Fall greens and winter squash are also being harvested. Livestock producers are feeding hay and looking for feeding and grazing options, as hay reserves are short going into winter.”

SOUTHWESTERN

MONTGOMERY (Barry Robinson) “Most of the county is very dry. Pastures and hayfields are suffering. Current conditions making it difficult to stockpile fescue for fall grazing. However, the dry weather is good for corn harvesting, and in reducing the late season disease pressures in apples and grapes.

SCOTT (Scott Jerrell) “Most farmers are holding their own. Cattle and sheep are being sold to preserve pasture that is left and insure plenty of hay for winter. Most vegetables are winding down.”

SOUTHERN

FRANKLIN (Beverly Cox) “Rains from tropical systems have provided some relief from drought conditions, but not in time for full yield recovery. Overall soil moisture is still low and without continued rain, conditions could quickly revert.”

SOUTHEASTERN

BRUNSWICK (Cynthia L. Gregg) “A couple of light showers last week were welcomed. Late summer/early fall cutting of hay is being done now. Fescue and other grasses are coming back amazingly well, but still have a long way to go. Some double-crop soybeans were still blooming last week.

PRINCE GEORGE (Scott Reiter) “Corn harvest has reached full swing this week. Many farmers waited for the crop to dry in the field to avoid using as much LP gas for drying. Yields range from 20 bushels to 75 bushels per acre according to growers this week. Cotton defoliation will start soon as most plants are showing open bolls near the top of the plant. Peanut maturity checks on Friday show the crop at about 30 percent mature. Soybeans are looking good at this point. They have set many pods since the late August rains, but will need a late frost to reach maturity. The last hay cutting is taking place now as grasses made considerable growth since mid-August.”