Eastern NC Crops Threatened by Winds and Rains from Hurricane Sandy

Once again there’s a tropical system in the Atlantic Ocean implicating the Carolina coastline, and with crops still in the field. Last year’s Hurricane Irene made landfall in late August with corn, tobacco, soybeans and cotton in the fields of eastern North Carolina. Here in late October most areas only have soybeans and cotton left to harvest. Hurricane Sandy isn’t predicted to make landfall in the southern US, but her winds and rains might. In 2011 Hurricane Irene dealt Hyde County crops a mighty blow, and Hyde County Extension Director Mac Gibbs says producers are working hard to get what they can out of the field:

“They are picking cotton and soybeans as hard as they can. Yields for cotton are looking good, from 1200-1600, and soybeans 55-60 bushels double crop after wheat. We are about 50% done. With the fairly dry weather they will probably stay out later tonight.”

Gibbs says that with the dry weather of late, the predicted two inches of rain isn’t that big a deal, but it’s the rain and wind together that’s a worry for the cotton crop:

“They are talking about 40 mph winds for us and about 2 inches of rain. That’s not a big deal, the rain, you would like to not have a lot of it during this time of the year with the wheat planting. The wind is more of the concern, together with the rain it could really beat up on the cotton.”

Frank Winslow is County Extension Director in Tyrrell County, and he says that the soybean producers are working round the clock to beat the weather:

“Our soybean farmers are working day and night trying to get as many beans harvested as they can. Our harvest is actually a little ahead of last year. We should be in pretty good shape if we don’t get excessive rain or prolonged rainfall.”

Winslow explains that Tyrrell County doesn’t have near as many cotton acres as their neighbor to the south, Hyde, and those acres are being harvested:

“Around 3500-4000 and I would say we are well over half through our cotton harvest. If we don’t get a lot of wind we should be ok.”

North Carolina State Extension Directors Mac Gibbs and Frank Winslow on Inside Agriculture.

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