Cotton Harvest has gotten underway in fits and starts, due in no small part to the weather. Kent Messick is Section Chief for Field Services for the North Carolina Department of Agriculture:
"A lot of the cotton was heavily tangled and beat around pretty bad by the strong winds from Hurricane Irene. And that, in return, has made defoliation a much bigger issue. Then on top of that, the physical damage has caused some bolls to open a little bit ahead of schedule. So we've had some deterioration since the bolls have actually opened."
While it would appear this year, that the coastal plain couldn't catch a break, the crop in the Piedmont is looking much more promising, says Messick:
"I know harvest in the Rowan - Cabarrus county areas has been going full speed ahead. So cotton, I suspect, is going to do much better and yields will be much better in the Piedmont portion of the state."
And the peanut crop is experiencing the same weather woes as cotton at the moment:
"There's a lot of growers that are anxious. Peanuts generally would be mature now. They would be ready for harvest but again, the weather has not been very cooperative."
Messick says that growers are already looking to 2012 and Messick thinks cotton is once again going to be big player:
"I would expect cotton to look very good again next year as a crop. In fact, all the commodities, I think the prices, future prices, look very good. So, I think growers continue to be encouraged. Input costs are still a great concern but that's countered by the encouraging commodity prices growers see."