“We don’t have any peanuts made or cotton bolls set. Most of our crops are just too water logged and there is no oxygen in the soil for peanuts to use.”

The South Carolina grower says what will come next after all the rain remains to be seen. An all too common site this year has been a new pest in his cotton and peanut fields — alligators. “We see them occasionally, but not in our crops,” Bowers says.

“The last two years we made the best crops we’ve ever made and this year it looks like we will make one of the worst crops we’ve ever made on this farm,” Bowers says.

Rast says he still had about half his wheat crop in the ground in late July, with little hope of getting it harvested. Though cotton and peanuts are the major crops on his farm, the record rainfall has set back all his crops.

“We were late planting corn, which pushed back peanuts and cotton. We grow some blueberries and strawberries and those crops are late, too,” he says.

Rast, who is a peanut buyer, says in the 60-mile radius of Cameron, his buying area, is consistently too wet. Peanuts are grown in South Carolina in a relatively small belt from south to north.

Peanuts grown above the fall line, roughly the northeast half of the state, are in better shape, but still suffer from too much rain.

In his buying area growers cut back peanut acreage by 30 percent because of the ongoing over-supply created by last year’s record peanut yield — more than 4,000 pounds per acre for the first time in history.

As of mid-July, growers in his buying area lost an additional 30 percent of their crop to the record rainfall. How much of the remaining peanut crop will survive, and more importantly, how productive these peanuts will be remains to be seen.

“We know the fungicides we are flying on are not working well. We know most of the fertilizer we put out with our peanuts and cotton has leached away, and we know most of the peanuts won’t have enough calcium to fully mature and much of our cotton crop is not setting bolls,” Rast says.

“Farmers affected by this historic flooding can fly pesticides on, if there is an aerial applicator available. And we can apply some materials via irrigation systems, if it is available.

“All those things are expensive and at some point you have to make a tough decision whether or not to put more money into a crop you know has a poor chance of producing a good yield,” he says.


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