If this year’s winter wheat crop didn’t have enough problems, Tropical Storm Andrea and other unrelated rain events bringing as much as ten inches of rain to parts of the Carolinas has put the crop in further jeopardy. Dr. Randy Weisz, NC State Extension Small Grain Specialist:
“I don’t think I’ve seen a single combine rolling yet. There are several concerns; we have plots in Clayton where they have had ten inches of rain in the last few weeks and all of that wheat is starting to sprout in the head so we are concerned about delayed harvest and seed and grain quality.”
Weisz says wheat grain moisture levels around the state are being reported in the 16 to 22% range….
“On one hand growers really need to be moving, if there is an opening to cut they need to be. On the other hand it’s just too wet in most places. And the wheat is starting to lodge, there is certainly a lot of fields that we have seen in the last 24 hours that have some pretty serious lodging. It’s getting difficult and I know everyone is eager to get moving.”
South Carolina has also experienced torrential rains. Dr. Scott Monfort, Clemson Extension Peanut Specialist at Edisto Research & Education Center near Blackville explains that the state’s sandy soils are doing their job:
“Having the sandy soils in about 30-40% of our ground is going to allow that rain to percolate on through without too much of a problem. There are some areas that we wont get onto for a week because they will be wet. For the most part we really haven’t been hurt because of the rain.”
And Monfort says farmers with winter wheat are becoming concerned:
“That is the one crop that is going to be impacted. I do expect that growers will be more antsy because of the rain. This time of the year, as it starts to dry down the more rain you get the less your test weight will be and the quality will suffer. If we continue to get rain they will be more and more worried about it.”