Farmers Breathing a Sigh of Relief


As of last Friday, we were expecting at least part of a hurricane to come through the Carolinas.  South Carolina is seeing some significant rainfall, with some wind, same for central North Carolina, and the mountains, but nothing like it could have been.

North Carolina Department of Agriculture Regional Agronomist, Don Nicholson says the two crops in harm’s way were corn and tobacco.  The change in the forecast didn’t stop them from working to harvest as much as possible:

“Everybody still has tobacco in the field, and a lot of them were putting in as much as they could, and then taking a breath waiting to find our which way the hurricane was going to go.  Some of them did not have backup generators to run the barns, so made the executive decision to not put in for a couple of days so they could get the tobacco far enough along in the curing cycle that it wouldn’t rot in the barn, not catch in the middle of yellowing or something like that and then lose power.  Those that have backup generators, carried on. 

“There was a lot of tobacco in the field, and I’m sure there were some combines running too, trying to pick some corn, in case we had some high wins, so they could get it in the bin instead of picking it up off the ground.”

Don, how ready is the corn in your area?

“Most of it is ready to pick.  Some of it has been ready to pick since August, there were a lot of acres that were planted fairly early, early in April, some even in the last portion of March, they wanted to get it in the ground when we had pretty good weather.  A lot of corn was picked in August, and most of it is ready unless you had some replant, and a few people made the decision to plant in late May.  And it’s just now trying to get ready, with the dry weather we’ve had here lately, it matured out, a lot of corn dried down pretty fast in the field.”

What do we need to add here?

“Some of the strawberry growers also made the executive decision that they were going to delay laying plastic until after the threat of this storm had passed, so some folks, it might push them a little late getting strawberries in in the fall.  But, since it looks like we’ve dodged the bullet of Hurricane Irma, they’ll probably move on with the plastic laying and fumigation operations, now.”


NCDA Regional Agronomist, Don Nicholson.

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.