Much of South Carolina received measurable amounts of rainfall for the first time in several weeks during the period ending July 6. However, there were several exceptions along coastal areas.

In North Carolina scattered showers helped lessen the drought stress in parts of the state, especially the Central Piedmont and Central Coastal regions.

Virginia growers were also blessed with scattered rain showers throughout the Commonwealth which improved crop conditions. The winter wheat harvest was nearing completion with favorable yields being reported.

Here’s how the situation unfolded in the three states as reported by the USDA/NASS field offices for the week ending July 6.

North Carolina

North Carolina received between .19 and 5.81 inches of rain throughout the week. Chapel Hill reported the most rain with 5.81 inches.

Average temperatures ranged from 62 to 80 degrees. Scattered showers helped lessen the drought stress to parts of the state, especially the Central Piedmont and Central Coastal regions.

There were six days suitable for field work, compared to 6.2 from the previous week.

Statewide soil moisture levels were rated at 30 percent very short, 39 percent short, 31 percent adequate and zero percent surplus.

Activities during the week included the planting of sorghum and soybeans, and harvesting hay, Irish potatoes, peaches, and rye.

South Carolina

Much of South Carolina received measurable amounts of rainfall for the first time in several weeks. There were several exceptions though, along coastal areas, and the Upstate, which was sorely in need of moisture.

It is hard to believe, but as dry as it was last year, many of our northern counties are even drier this year. State average soil moisture ratings for the week were still very critical being reported at 37 percent very short, 39 percent short, and 24 percent adequate. There was a statewide average of 6.1 days suitable for field work.

The rains that fell over the weekend came too late for most of the state’s corn crop. Current moisture may be enough to help some late planted fields. Conditions were little changed, and were reported as 46 percent very poor, 25 percent poor, 24 percent fair, and 5 percent good.

Cotton continued to square, but has also fallen behind due the dry weather. Rains did help improve conditions to 10 percent very poor, 20 percent poor, 47 percent fair, 22 percent good, and 1 percent excellent.

Oat harvest was completed.

Rain continued to help improve peanut conditions. More precipitation is needed to help maintain yield potential. Conditions were 9 percent very poor, 19 percent poor, 43 percent fair, and 29 percent good.

Soybeans were in need of the thunderstorms, but could still stand additional showers. Conditions were 20 percent very poor, 30 percent poor, 36 percent fair, 13 percent good, and 1 percent excellent.

This year’s sweet potatoes are planted. Conditions were still mostly fair.

Tobacco, like the other crops, was glad to see some rain.

A bountiful crop of winter wheat was just about all cut.

Livestock conditions improved only slightly. Just like last year, some Upstate pastures have already gone dormant from lack of moisture. Pasture grazing in other parts of the state should increase, but periodic showers are needed for continued improvement. Conditions were 33 percent very poor, 35 percent poor, 23 percent fair, and 9 percent good.

Peach conditions were similar to the week before. Peach harvest continued to progress.

Vegetable harvests were still ongoing. There have not been significant reports of insect or disease damage thus far this year. Rains over the past few days have helped perk up some crops, but more moisture is needed to sustain later harvests.

Virginia

Scattered rain showers throughout the Commonwealth brought relief to Virginia’s crops. However, it will take continual rain throughout the growing season to improve crop conditions.

Days suitable for fieldwork were 5.6.

Double-crop soybean planting continued this past week. Recent rains have made the ground workable again. Soybean fields that exhibited poor stand, due to a cold, wet early spring, were being replanted.

The winter wheat harvest was nearing completion. Wheat yields looked favorable.

Other farming activities included farmers harvesting second cutting of hay and applying post emergent herbicides to soybeans.

REPORTER COMMENTS BY COUNTY

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

NORTHERN

FAUQUIER (Timothy Mize) “Rainfall continues weekly throughout the county. Most soybean fields that exhibited poor stands due to cold wet weather early have been replanted. Small grain harvest has been average or above. It looks like a number of Fauquier farmers will harvest a second hay crop.”

FREDERICK (Michael Clem) “A couple days of rain last week brought 0.80 inches of precipitation.”

WESTERN

ROANOKE (Sheri Dorn) “Weekly rainfall was 0.51 inches. Temperatures mostly average for the week.”

SOUTHEASTERN

BRUNSWICK (Cynthia L. Gregg) “Some folks are bush hogging fields. Irrigation is still continuing. Planting is at a standstill due to lack of rain, even the little bit we had last week is gone.”

PRINCE GEORGE (Scott Reiter) “Rain was a welcome sight this past weekend. Most of the county received 0.5-1 inch of rain on July 4. All crops need the rain but corn is starting the critical silking stage. A large part of the corn was planted in mid- to late-May and is about waist high at this time. Peanuts and cotton have fared better over the last 7 weeks of no rain than that of other crops.”

CENTRAL

CAROLINE (McGann Saphir) “Grain producers are finishing up the last of the wheat harvest and planting a few fields of soybeans that were skipped because of a lack of soil moisture. Recent rains have made the ground workable again. Rains over the weekend have greatly improved the condition of the corn crop which was becoming stressed due to a lack of moisture. The pollination has also been improved as most of the crop is tasseling and silking now. We have received timely rains for good pollination. Another inch or two of rain will probably insure a good corn crop this year. The rains have improved hay and pasture condition, as well. Vegetable farmers are planting pumpkins and preparing fields for other fall crops-broccoli, greens, and winter squash.”

POWHATAN (Eric Bowen) “Lack of rain is stressing corn and soybean fields as well as delaying planting not yet complete. Pastures are failing which resulted in producers feeding hay. Some producers have begun a second hay cutting to try to harvest what re-growth there is in fear that the continued lack of rain will result in field failure.”

EASTERN

ACCOMACK (Jim Belote) “Wheat yields are very good and above average. There are problems with delivery and unloading due to heavy volume. Many soybeans will be planted very late because of late finishing with wheat harvest. High cost of farm machinery and lack of young farmers showing up in shortage of combines for harvesting. One grower planted 1,000 acres of wheat and expected to get custom harvesters. Wheat acreage is way up and yields good and that has created some problems. Some farmers who contracted way ahead not benefiting from good wheat prices. Some contracted at $5 or less and had to pay higher production costs. Some contracted two years ahead. A good wheat year for some and not so good for others. Some soybeans reported delivered in 35 pound bags but at 50 pound prices. Prices of inputs, especially fertilizer and fuel, are sky-high. Farmers applying no-till soybean herbicides, planting soybeans and scouting crops.”

KING GEORGE (Regina Prunty) “Wheat harvest is almost complete. Conditions were getting very dry. Sunday rain brought some relief.”

MIDDLESEX (David Moore) “Well needed rains fell across most of the area and a lot of corn that was beginning to tassel will begin to fill with grain. Rains were spotty. Most wheat is harvested and double-crop beans are planted. Post emergent applications of herbicides are being applied to beans. Sweet corn, tomatoes, peppers, squash and other veggies are looking good and ready for harvest.”

NORTHUMBERLAND (Matt Lewis) “Moisture conditions around the county are variable, with some areas receiving adequate rainfall over the weekend and some seeing none. Wheat harvest is wrapping up. Yields are good, and many fields are lodged which has slowed harvest. Some growers have stopped planting soybeans to make more time for wheat harvest. Other activities included spraying herbicides over newly planted soybeans to kill weeds.”

SOUTHWESTERN

CARROLL (Wythe Morris) “Rain over the holiday weekend has helped to get moisture at a critical time. Vegetable transplants and seedlings are good as well as second cutting of hay. “

GRAYSON (Kevin Spurlin) “Farmers are watching pastures dry up and hoping for enough rain for a second cutting of hay. There are more areas of the county that are not receiving rain than areas that are. Nighttime lows in the upper 50s are a relief to the hot, dry days.”

LEE (Harold Jerrell) “Tomato hornworms were in abundance on burley tobacco beginning about two weeks ago and have spread across the county. Approximately 1.0 inch of rain fell last weekend.

MONTGOMERY (Barry Robinson) “Localized storm showers have left some areas with too much rain and others still in need. Most crops are advancing well, except in those areas damaged by hail and heavy rains.”