Carolina Producers Cashing in on Midwestern Drought

Soybean and cotton harvest hit high gear late last week with Hurricane Sandy’s promise of up to 5 inches of rainfall east of I-95 over the weekend into the first of this week. NC State Soybean Specialist Dr. Jim Dunphy says that there’s already been some early entries into the 2012 soybean yield contest:

“A lot of our farmers have some pretty good yields. Whether or not they win the contest, they are interested in documenting their yields and a lot are interested in how we figure the cost of production on them, how much it cost to produce that bushel of soybeans. Some are able to calculate that themselves but even those who do are interested in seeing how we calculate it.”

Dunphy explains that southeastern producers are in a unique position this year due to the drought in the Midwest; high yields and high prices to go with them:

“We have a small enough percentage of the US production that we don’t influence prices very much, so we could get high yields and high prices. That’s what we are looking at this year, assuming we can get it out of the field. Soybeans are not quite as vulnerable to bad weather.”

Another crop that’s seeing something of a windfall from the Midwestern drought is corn, and Tyrrell County, according to Frank Winslow, producers did really well:

“We have some really good corn harvest reports, some are averaging 170-180 bushels. Some parts though didn’t get the rain, but they still are in the 150 bushel range.”

With grain sorghum taking the Carolinas by storm this year, Winslow says on their organic soils in the Coastal Plain, not so much:

“In Tyrrell County we have mostly organic soils and have some areas with some sandy soils. That’s where the grain sorghum went, less than 500 acres here. If we can average 150-175 bushels of corn we feel that’s the way for us to go.”

Cotton harvest has been in full swing after a slow start, and Executive Vice President of the North Carolina Cotton Producers Association says that early yields are looking good, and if they don’t succumb to Hurricane Sandy, they should continue to get better:

“They are looking good across the board. Typically you get a little better as the season goes on. Last year the Blacklands area had a really bad crop so if they even have an average crop its an improvement.” is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.