Blacklands Crops Bouncing Back After Waterlogged Spring & Summer


Three weeks of dry weather has helped crops in the Blacklands of North Carolina gain some ground after a soggy spring and early summer according to Beaufort County Extension Director Rod Gurganus:

“It’s been a little bit of a mixed bag.  We were wet early on and then some places remained wet, we dried out in some spots, in fact, we’ve had a run of dry weather here for about three weeks, in some areas that haven’t seen this much dry weather in two, two and a half years.  So, we are a little drier in some areas but we’re seeing the effects of the wet weather early in the season, with some combines rolling in the fields we’re seeing some variations in the corn fields, less than 100 bushels, then you’re up to 250, then back down below 100.  So, we’re all over the place in some spots where we had some of that early season water that really hurt us.”

Many years we look to the Blacklands for some of the biggest corn yields in the state.  Gurganus says it’s a little early to call if that’s going to be the case this year:

“We’re just getting started, I think next week, we’ll get most of the farmers going.  But, we have been out in the field measuring a few plots already this year, and of the plots we’ve measured, the yields are all running in the 240 bu/a up to 260 bu/a, and its good corn thus far.  Now, is there better corn out there?  I think there might be, as we get into more fields, but we’re going to have a lot that’s a lot worse than that in a few spots.

From what I’m hearing the  folks out in the Coastal Plain, west of me, south of me in areas that don’t traditionally have really, really high yields, they’ve had favorable weather this year and they’re getting some excellent yields. I’m hearing 240 bu/a in other counties as well.  So, we might not have the top yields this year given the season that we’ve had compared to some of these guys on better drained soils that have had really good rainfall, that’s going to be a hard combination to beat this year, I’m afraid.”

Gurganus says the dry weather and hot days have benefitted both soybeans and cotton:

“Cotton looks good now.  it had a slow start, and we were really scratching our heads for a while with it, but it has come on here with the heat, cotton really likes heat, and it’s really jumped, so our cotton looks really good. 

Our soybeans look really good, I was excited about soybeans last year, right up until it started raining for a two-week period in late September and early October, and so up to that point I was thinking we were going to pick some 100 bu/a beans.  I feel like we’ve got that potential this year, as well, and I just hope we don’t get bad weather to knock that again.  But, so far, I’m happy with the bean crop and the cotton crop.”   

As far as disease and insect pressure, Gurganus says it’s been an average year:

“Insect pressure is around for cotton.  Dominic Reisig was talking about some boll worms just this morning at a little field day we had and some other issues that we’ve seen in cotton now.  Soybeans, it’s the same.  Seems like we’ve been battling loupers and possibility in resistance in the louper population, some guys disappointed in the control.  And I think we’re going to have the potential for stink bugs a little later as well.  So, yeah, insect pressure is fairly high, and I think it’s going to be that way for a while.”

Director of Beaufort County Extension, Rod Gurganus.

A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.