What is in this article?:
• The short-term result of all the rain in 2013 will be total crop losses in some cases, yield reductions in others and surprisingly little damage in some fields.
• But nobody really knows the long-term impact.
GROWERS, Bud Bowers and son Corrin Bowers in Luray, S.C., lost several hundred acres of cotton to the record rainfall this year.
Problems down the road
Unfortunately, what farmers didn’t see or record for posterity, will likely cause significant problems for some time to come.
Weeds and grasses are likely to be major issues for fall crops this year and for spring-planted ones next year.
For starters, many growers simply couldn’t get into their fields to manage weeds. Also, thousands of acres were abandoned and no herbicides were used in an effort to soften the economic blow of losing part of a crop.
Then, there is both a build-up of seed from old foes, like Palmer amaranth, panicum, goosegrass, and on down the line.
Plus, who knows what new weed foes the historic 100-year record rains and subsequent flooding brought to the table?
There is no reliable way to know, because there has simply never been this level of rainfall — not in the past 100 years.
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Weed scientists can make educated guesses, but most contend that’s about the extent of reliable advice they can give growers.
Diseases are much the same.
Peanut growers, for example, battled typical early-season soilborne diseases basically all year long, plus they had to deal with longer-than-usual heavy pressure from early and late leafspot.
“As expected from all the rainfall, we saw a lot of disease pressure on peanuts around the state,” says Clemson Peanut Specialist Scott Monfort.
“In many cases, growers simply couldn’t get into fields to apply fungicides and there weren’t enough aerial applicators to compensate for ground application.