A low pressure front that is being investigated as a possible early season hurricane blew gale force winds across eastern North Carolina May 6-8 leveling corn and cotton seedlings and putting yet another stress on grain crops in the area.

Washington, N.C., Crop Consultant Bill Peele says it was the worst wind and sand storm he has seen in over 20 years working in the area.

“Yesterday (May 7) there were sand and dust storms the magnitude that many have never seen before. The wind was 40 to 50 miles per hour at times. From a distance you could see blue sky with a layer of brown dust enveloping many agricultural areas,” Peele says.

Corn and cotton plants took the brunt of the blowing sand. While many acres are a total loss, of bigger concern are corn and cotton seedlings damaged by the blowing sand, but not killed. It’s a gamble many growers will take as to whether these plants will be opened up to disease, insect damage and reduced yields.

Peele says it appears many growers will switch to soybeans rather than replanting corn or cotton. In some cases corn growers had already re-planted because of damage from an April 8 freeze.

e-mail: rroberson@farmpress.com