Cotton & Soybean Producers Keeping Watch on Hurricane Sandy

There’s a new tropical system in the Atlantic, Hurricane Sandy, and with last year’s Hurricane Irene fresh in our memory, soybean and cotton farmers are keeping a close eye on the weather. While soybeans should fare any weather disaster with ease, Jim Dunphy, NC State Soybean Specialist says harvesting beans early isn’t really an option:

“Most are not going to harvest early. It’s a matter of if the beans are dry enough to get them through the combine. Our system is not set up well to handle wet soybeans. The moisture discounts are pretty significant. Most of the farmers are going to bring the beans in where they don’t take moisture discounts, which means they wont harvest early. Even though there is a storm sitting out there, it’s a good chance it wont mess up harvest. So when it does dry out the beans will still harvest well. Its possible for it to get too wet and stay wet, but that doesn’t happen frequently.”

Cotton, on the other hand, is running a bit late this year, according to David Parrish, Executive Vice President of the North Carolina Cotton Producers Association:

“It’s on everyone’s mind but there is nothing you can really do about it. You can make the best of the current weather and get in as much as you can. These guys were already running a little late this year, so they are full speed ahead right now. There has been dramatic increase from last week on harvested cotton.”

For reasons that defy explanation, the defoliation process on cotton was very slow this year according to Parrish:

“We got off to a slow start with uncooperative weather early in the harvest season. But the last week has really turned things around and we are making the best of it. The guys really had to wait a few more days then they are used to and there are several different factors according to whomever you ask.”

On Wednesday’s 1:00 pm update, Tropical Storm Sandy was upgraded from a tropical system to a Category 1 hurricane. Some early computer models show the storm tracking up the east coast. 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.