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Serving: East

Upper Southeast crops needing rainfall

Little rain and above average temperatures have put North Carolina crops under stress. Concerns about soil moisture have been reported for corn, soybeans and pastures.

South Carolina has also continued to experience hot, dry weather with only scattered thunderstorms. Corn harvest has begun in the state and yields are low as expected. Some of the acreage was being cut for forage.

Hot, dry conditions in Virginia have also affected the beef industry. Poor pasture conditions have livestock producers giving cattle supplemental feed, selling off calves earlier than normal and reducing the cow herd.

Here’s an overall look at conditions in the upper Southeast as reported by the USDA/NASS state field offices for the week ending Aug. 10.

North Carolina

North Carolina received between zero and 2.16 inches of rain throughout the week. Laurinburg had the most precipitation with 2.16 inches. Average temperatures ranged from 66 to 84 degrees. Little rain and above average temperatures dominated the week, and crops are under stress. Concerns about soil moisture were reported for pasture, corn and soybeans.

There were 6.4 days suitable for field work, compared to 6 from the previous week. State-wide soil moisture levels are rated at 24 percent very short, 44 percent short, 31 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus.

Activities during the week included the harvesting of hay, corn for silage, peaches, and tobacco, and scouting for pest and disease problems.

South Carolina

South Carolina continued to experience hot, dry weather with scattered thunderstorms. Many crops needing rain were missed by the precipitation or higher than average temperatures have been drying out soils not long after the rains have fallen.

Average soil moisture ratings were 39 percent very short, 32 percent short, and 29 percent adequate. There was a statewide average of 6.28 days suitable for field work.

Corn harvest had begun and yields are low as expected and acreage was being cut for forage. Conditions were 48 percent very poor, 23 percent poor, 20 percent fair, and 9 percent good.

Cotton growers had to apply controls for stink bugs and occasional larvae pests. Conditions were 10 percent very poor, 18 percent poor, 39 percent fair, 32 percent good, and 1 percent excellent.

Rain in some areas had helped peanuts. Conditions were 4 percent very poor, 7 percent poor, 37 percent fair, 48 percent good, and 4 percent excellent.

Soybean growers were applying controls for stink bugs and larvae pests. Conditions were 11 percent very poor, 24 percent poor, 42 percent fair, 20 percent good, and 3 percent excellent.

Sweet potatoes were 10 percent very poor, 15 percent poor, 40 percent fair, and 35 percent good.

Tobacco was zero percent very poor, 4 percent poor, 44 percent fair, 50 percent good, and 2 percent excellent.

Hay was in short supply in several areas. Furthermore, some areas of the palmetto state had stopped hay cuttings under current conditions. Some livestock producers were reducing their herds that remain under stress due to the summer heat. Pastures with days of blistering temperatures and no rain had caused a decline in condition.

Peach conditions increased this week. Three- quarters of the crop had been harvested.


Most of Virginia continued to suffer from dry conditions. However, some parts of the state received isolated rain showers which have improved the corn and soybean conditions. Days suitable for field work were 6.4.

In the drier parts of the state, corn growers anticipated yields to be 20 to 50 percent lower than normal.

As local water sources began to be depleted, some counties were asking for voluntary water restrictions.

The dry conditions have also affected the beef industry. Poor pasture conditions have livestock producers giving cattle supplemental feed, selling off calves earlier than normal, and reducing the cow herd.

Other farming activities for the week included irrigating pumpkins, harvesting Ginger Gold Apples, peaches, and tomatoes, and scouting for insect pressure.


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


CULPEPER (Carl Stafford) “Rain Sunday evening helped with dry conditions. The corn crop needed this rain to continue its progress toward a good crop. Pasture and hay lands will also benefit as dry matter accumulation had stopped across most of the county.”


AMHERST (William Seay) “No relief to drought conditions. Some livestock producers are feeding and some are hauling water. Stream flow is diminishing. Other producers have begun to sell calves earlier than normal to reduce the cow herd.”

BEDFORD (Scott Baker) “Dry conditions persisted last week. Livestock producers are concerned about declining water resources. Many report feeding as pastures have gone dormant. Corn for silage yields appear to be significantly below average.”

CAROLINE (McGann Saphir) “Livestock producers are cutting silage. Many are feeding silage green chop due to the scarceness of hay. Very limited rainfall has put the soybean crop at risk. If we do not see widespread extensive rain in the next week soybean yield will be severely impacted. Corn is past being improved by rainfall. Many areas have received close to adequate rain while others are limited. Corn yields will probably be below normal due to the poor moisture conditions from mid-July through August. Vegetable farmers are still harvesting melons and tomatoes and irrigating pumpkins and other fall crops. Strawberry producers are preparing fields for planting in September.”

CUMBERLAND (David Smith) “We have filed an SCS Flash Report to place on notice the pending disaster status of the county.”

NELSON (Michael Lachance) “Cattle are beginning to be fed due to lack of grazing opportunities. Peaches are on the market as are Ginger Gold Apples.”


ACCOMACK (Jim Belote) “Timely scattered thunderstorms in various parts of the county have helped corn and soybean growth considerably. High corn earworm moth counts, but no reported corn earworm soybean problems yet. It is a bit early, usually starts around Aug. 20. Corn yield will be off, possibly 20 percent or more depending on amount of rain received the next two weeks. Tomato harvest is active and will continue into the fall. Lima and fall snap bean crops for fall looks good so far. There will be a lot of beans due to contracts with reported contracts for some at 300 to 500 acres for some farmers.”

KING GEORGE (Regina Prunty) “Conditions were getting very dry. Showers on Sunday brought some moisture. High temperatures last week resulted in additional moisture loss.”

MIDDLESEX (David Moore) “Recent rains have perked up soybeans, but too late for corn. Corn yields will be hurt and potential has been decreased by almost 50 percent. Soybeans still have good potential; we just need continued showers. Early beans are making pods and some double-crop beans are beginning to flower. Corn earworm moth counts are increasing and producers will need to begin scouting for problems next week. Dry weather has affected most crops including vegetables. Yields and quality have been hurt. Pastures are dry with some hay still being made.”


MONTGOMERY (Barry Robinson) “Hayfields and pastures are suffering due to lack of widespread rain. This is putting pressure on livestock producers to rotate more often or consider supplementing with hay early. Corn in bottomland and deep soils is still doing good to fair but will need significant rain soon. Fruits and vegetables are producing nicely and this lack of precipitation has some benefit in reducing disease pressures for those crops.”


PITTSYLVANIA (Jamie Stowe, Stephen Barts) “Drought conditions continue to worsen due to continued lack of rain. Corn has been stunted with most plants setting only one ear. Full-season soybeans look excellent, but double-cropped soybeans are suffering. Flue-cured tobacco looks variable throughout the county. Producers are still trying to clean out the remaining tops, while getting ready to finish up the first pulling. Hay and pasture lands have gone back very quickly and are looking very bare. Some producers are already feeding winter hay supplies and evaluating winter feeding strategies.”


BRUNSWICK (Cynthia L. Gregg) “Dry conditions are continuing. Some hay is being cut, but it is lacking in tonnage and quality. Cotton needs rain as blooming is going on at this time. Ponds are getting low and streams are dropping as well.”

DINWIDDIE (Mike Parrish) ‘All the 2008 Ag Expo Plots look good for this Thursday; we have them supported by irrigation (drip and center pivot).’

CHESAPEAKE CITY (Watson Lawrence)

“This week’s weather has been moderate. Temperatures and a few showers are maintaining crop growth. Soybeans are still undersized due to earlier dry weather. No major pest activity to report yet.”

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