Commissioner Steve Troxler: Crop and Weather Report for August

The NCDA&CS Agricultural Statistics Division recently released the crop and weather reports for mid-August, which gives a snapshot of soil moisture across the state and crop conditions for a variety of commodities. The report points to a mixed bag of conditions across North Carolina, although many counties have had a lot of recent rain that has delayed crop management and harvest.

  • The Agricultural Statistics Division recently published it’s mid-August crop and weather report that highlights conditions across the state.
  • You will find a mixed bag of conditions in the report, with a number of counties reporting wet field conditions that are delaying crop management and harvest.
  • Overall, 62 percent of the fields have adequate topsoil moisture, with 33 percent reporting a surplus of moisture. Only 5 percent of fields list moisture levels as short.
  • Everyone knows rain is essential for good growth, but too much rain or rain at the wrong time can cause more problems than benefits.
  • Wet fields prevent farmers from getting fungicide and insecticide applications out in a timely manner. Disease pressure is building in most crops because of these favorable conditions.
  • Our regional agronomists are seeing and reporting some of the concerns they are seeing.
  • For example, Chris Jernigan who works with growers in Carteret, Craven, Greene, Jones, Lenoir and Pitt counties, describes the year as a two seasons in one. The southeastern portion of his region has been extremely wet nearly all season, with some fields being left fallow because of the extreme moisture. Much of the rest of the region has seen wet conditions early, followed by extreme drought, and now saturated soils again. This is obviously taking its toll on crops in that area.
  • Carla Pugh in Region 2 that serves Beaufort, Dare, Hyde, Martin, Pamlico, Tyrrell and Washington counties reports her area has received anywhere from 5 to 20 inches of rain in the past three weeks. In the eastern part of her region, some crops have been drowned out.
  • Both of those areas are in the northeastern part of the state. In Region 7, covering Harnett, Johnston, Wake, Wayne and Wilson counties, agronomist Don Nicholson reports that the recent rains have been beneficial. Soybeans, peanuts, grain sorghum, late planted corn and cotton have all benefited from the much needed moisture. While the tobacco crop needed and got rain, the benefit has been mixed. The crop responded to the rain, but strong thunderstorms accompanying some of the rain, blew the tobacco plants over. It is expensive to stand up the crop, especially if you have to do it a couple of times, which some farmers have had to do.
  • At this point, tobacco farmers in Don’s area are likely hoping for a late frost, so they have time to harvest the tobacco since wet fields have kept their equipment out of the fields.
  • At this point, crop conditions are mostly falling in the good to fair range. There are more that are listed as being in poor condition than in excellent condition. I am concerned this is going to be a difficult year for growers.
    • Apples: 43 percent in good condition, 41 percent in fair condition, 15 percent in poor condition
    • Corn: 28 percent in good condition, 34 percent in fair condition and 20 percent in poor condition;
    • Cotton: 51 percent in good condition (GC), 24 percent in fair condition (FC) and 13 percent in poor condition (PC);
    • Hay: 30 percent in GC, 56 percent in FC and 8 percent in PC.
    • Pasture: 37 percent in GC, 46 percent in FC and12 percent in PC.
    • Peanuts: 44 percent in GC, 41 percent in FC and 8 percent in excellent condition;
    • Sorghum: 45 percent in GC, 36 percent in FC and 9 percent in excellent condition;
    • Soybeans: 43 percent in GC, 36 percent in FC and 9 percent in excellent condition;
    • Sweet potatoes: 37 percent in GC, 49 percent in FC and 9 percent in excellent condition;
    • Burley tobacco: 50 percent in GC, 43 percent in FC and 5 percent in PC;
    • Flue-cured tobacco: 47 percent in GC, 30 percent in FC and 12 percent in PC.