South Carolina growers are finishing a 2008 peanut crop that has been averaging 3,500 pounds per acre, which would set a new state record if realized.
Meanwhile, in North Carolina, growers spent last week harvesting cotton, soybeans, sweet potatoes, sorghum and planting small grains. Other activities were harvesting hay and marketing livestock.
In Virginia the corn harvest progressed well with only about 7 percent of the crop remaining in the field
Here’s how the situation played out in the upper Southeast as reported by the state USDA/NASS field offices for the week ending Nov. 9.
North Carolina received little precipitation throughout the week, with precipitation ranging from no rain in Old Fort to 1.71 inches in Aurora. Average temperatures were above normal for this time of year, ranging from 47 to 63 degrees.
The harvesting of field crops is mostly complete in the Mountain Region with the Christmas tree harvest beginning in the upcoming weeks.
Cotton and soybean harvest and wheat plantings are slightly delayed compared to last year due to the wet soils.
There were 5.3 days suitable for field work, compared to 6.2 from the previous week. Statewide soil moisture levels are rated at 8 percent very short, 22 percent short, 66 percent adequate and 4 percent surplus.
Activities during the week included the harvesting of hay, cotton, soybeans, sweet potatoes, and sorghum, marketing livestock, and the planting of small grains.
The week began with misty, drizzly weather that did not total up to much in local area rain gauges. There were some light frosts in several Upstate counties. Precipitation was not sufficient enough to prevent South Carolina’s soil moisture ratings from declining to 4 percent very short, 34 percent short, 59 percent adequate, and 3 percent surplus. On average, there were 5.8 days that were suitable for field work.
Cotton harvest continued at a faster pace as the week progressed. Yields are now forecast at 860 pounds per acre. Conditions were 6 percent very poor, 14 percent poor, 42 percent fair, 30 percent good, and 8 percent excellent.
Oats were being reported in mostly good condition.
An excellent peanut crop in terms of production was nearly all dug. Average yields have been coming in at 3,500 pounds per acre, which would make a new state record.
Sorghum harvest was slowing down.
Soybean conditions varied widely. Coastal beans were reporting better yields than those further inland due to differences in the amount of rainfall received. The state average yield is currently expected to be 27 bushels an acre. Conditions were 11 percent very poor, 19 percent poor, 28 percent fair, 34 percent good, and 8 percent excellent.
Sweet potatoes were nearly all harvested.
Winter wheat planting should pick up this week. Conditions were 1 percent poor, 46 percent fair, 52 percent good, and 1 percent excellent.
Livestock conditions changed only slightly from the previous week. Conditions were reported as 3 percent poor, 46 percent fair, 49 percent good, and 2 percent excellent. Pasture conditions were 3 percent very poor, 16 percent poor, 48 percent fair, and 33 percent good. Winter grazings were being reported in mostly good condition.
Late variety apple harvest was looking good.
Parts of the Commonwealth experienced rain, while other parts of the state continued to suffer from dry conditions. Days suitable for field work were 5.4.
The corn harvest progressed well, only 7 percent of the crop remains to be harvested.
The soybean harvest is about two weeks behind schedule. Some farmers reported that beans are slow to dry. Hay stocks may be sufficient this year if good weather continues to allow livestock to graze. Farmers are becoming cautiously optimistic with feed and fuel prices decreasing.
Other farming activities included cleaning up vegetable fields, renewing pesticide licenses, planting wheat, and hunting deer.
REPORTER COMMENTS BY COUNTY
Comments are based on comments reported by extension agents, farmers, commodity specialists, and other knowledgeable individuals.
CULPEPER (Carl Stafford) “Moderate weather and timely rains support continued accumulation of winter forage. Crop harvest is progressing very well for this time of year.”
FAUQUIER (Tim Mize) “Rains have been adequate. Corn and soybean harvest have been uneventful. Stockpiles and pastures are in excellent condition as are small grain fields.
AMHERST (William W. Seay) “Warm weather and adequate moisture conditions have provided good growing conditions for pastures. Livestock are continuing to graze. Harvested hay stocks are good for most producers depending on how much longer the livestock can graze.”
CAROLINE (McGann Saphir) “Improved soil moisture has greened up pastures and hayfields going in to winter. Cover crops and small grains are also looking good. Farmers are still not harvesting soybeans extensively. Beans are very slow to dry down and cure out this year. Vegetable farmers are cleaning up plastic row covers, tilling some fields, and planting winter cover crops.”
ACCOMACK (Jim Belote) “Rain caused by a low pressure system this week delayed soybean harvest and wheat planting. Farmers took the time to empty soybean trucks and work on planting and harvesting equipment. There is much concern about what 2009 will bring with the economic downturn, grain and soybean prices, and the price of inputs. Most farmers voted in the election. Yields of soybeans average at best. Seed size is small. Planning for winter meetings. Farmers started receiving notices on need to renew pesticide license by end of year.”
MIDDLESEX (David Moore) “Rain showers have limited field work this week. Some full season and double-crop soybeans were harvested this week and yields are average to above average. Cover crop planting continues as well as some wheat planting. Producers are making decisions on fertilizer and seed purchases for next year, as well as, soil sampling and doing some spruce up around the farm. Once the rain lets up, producers will be hurrying to finish soybean harvest. The weather can really slow things down, especially if there has been no freezing weather. Most areas received a killing frost last week so harvest should continue as the weather allows.”
MONTGOMERY (Barry Robinson) “All crops are in need of precipitation; however, the dry conditions have been favorable for sowing last of winter grains and harvesting of hay.
SCOTT (Scott Jerrell) “Favorable weather conditions are in the near forecast, with moderate rain being predicted. Any rain will be beneficial, as more concerns arise over wells and springs beginning to go dry. Lower feed and fuel prices have most farmers cautiously optimistic.”
TAZEWELL (John Blankenship) “Livestock watering systems are drying up. Wells are getting muddy. Springs are going dry. What little rain received has been soaked up by plants.”
PITTSYLVANIA (Stephen Barts, Jamie Stowe) “Producers are currently in the middle of planting wheat. Early soybeans are being harvested and soybean harvest should be in full swing in the next week or two. Producers had a decent fall cutting of hay.”
SURRY (Glenn Slade) “Showers during election week slowed field work. Peanut harvest mostly complete with yields and grades slightly below average. Cotton yields also low in areas that did not get showers. Small grain being seeded and soybeans cut. Deer season!”
CHESAPEAKE CITY (Watson Lawrence) “Overcast, rainy weather slowed soybean harvest. Wheat planting continues with fewer acres because of lower wheat prices and high fertilizer costs. Farmers continue to mow ditch banks, and do minor tillage before winter arrives.”