In the latest crop progress report, North Carolina reported 5.5 days suitable for field work, compared to just under 4 the week before. Statewide moisture levels were rated at 9% short, 75% adequate, and 16% surplus. Warmer, dryer conditions allowed farmers to catch up on plantings and promoted crop growth. Cathy Herring with the Central Crops Research Station reported warmer temperatures later in the week helped both corn and cotton. both crops had been suffering due to lower than normal night time temperatures, and Tim Britton with Johnston County Extension reported extremely dry conditions, and that rain was needed for wheat to reach full potential. Other crops suffering from cool conditions have improved, but still need rain.
Corn Planting Winding Down in South Carolina
A drier week allowed South Carolina farmers to make progress planting field crops. Overall, crop conditions declined but were still looking mostly good for a majority of commodities. Soils continued to dry and were rated at 8% short, 83% adequate, and 9% surplus. There was an average of 5.8 days suitable for field work. Corn planting is winding down with 97% completed compared to 100% last year and the five-year average. The crop is 96% emerged compared to 99% last year. Only 10% of the winter wheat crop is ripe compared to 61% last year and 21% on the five-year average.
US Senate Has Begun Farm Bill Debate
The U.S. Senate has started debate on the 2013 Farm Bill – raising hopes the bill might get a Senate vote this week before the Memorial Day recess. 60 or 70 amendments are expected on the Senate floor – and while big fights are expected over food stamp cuts and target prices – crop insurance could also come under attack.
Senate Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow took to the Senate floor to start the farm bill debate…
“We are strengthening crop insurance, which we heard from farmers is the number one risk management tool for them. The agriculture reform bill includes disaster assistance for our ranchers and farmers who cannot receive crop insurance.”
But soon after Stabenow lauded crop insurance – others began to attack the program. Arizona Republican John McCain offered an amendment to target insurance subsidies for tobacco growers.
The Congressional Budget Office has released an updated score for the Senate’s version of the farm bill from 2014 to 2023 reporting the bill would save 18-billion over 10-years.