Eastern NC Farmers Excited about Prospects for this Year’s Crops


After something of a rough start, Carolina crops are enjoying one of the better growing seasons producers have had to work with in many years, and are excited about the prospects.  Rod Gurganus, Director of Beaufort County Extension says the same is true for down east crops:

“The last three growing seasons have been challenging for us here in the east.   We’ve had timely rains, and in a few instances too much that’s caused us to replant back during the planting season, we had to replant some corn.  But, the challenge has been cotton, we had a time getting the cotton crop planted.  But, for the most part, we’ve had really nice growing conditions for all of our crops this year, and everything looks really good right now.”

You mentioned difficulty getting crops in the ground back in April, some of your corn was replanted, and a lot of your cotton had to be replanted.  So, you’re not as close to the finish line in some instances as you’d like to be this time of year.

“No, we’re not.  Our corn crop right now really has a wide range of maturities.   As you’re riding down the roads in Beaufort County, we’ve got corn that was planted on time, when guys really like to get rolling, and it’s starting to dent, so it’s advanced along.  And we’ve got corn that’s just starting to tassle and put silks out.  So, we have a wide range of maturity, and the crops that were replanted once, and in some cases twice, we have some that went in in the middle of May, and so we’ve got some late corn out there, and we’ve been successful with that in the past, and right now that corn crop looks really good, too.  We’re going to have to wait and see what happens weather-wise on that later planted corn, but right now it looks really good.

“Cotton is so fickle about getting it planted and we’ve had a time in our area because of a little wet period that we had, the guys…about the time it would get dry enough to get back planting cotton, it would rain again.  And every time we tried to push that envelope and take a chance on planting, the weather was screaming ‘don’t plant today!’, and we planted anyway and we ended up replanting those acres.  So, I got a couple of growers in my area that didn’t get all the acres planted that they wanted to get planted, it was just that bad. But, what they planted is up, and looks really good now. 

“Soybeans look really nice now, we have a lot of early season soybeans because we don’t have a lot of wheat any more in the county, and most of our beans are early season beans, and they look really good now, too.  So, we’re in a really good position right now barring any unforeseen weather issues or late season disease issues or insects.”

How long do you think, Rod, before we start seeing some combines?

“Well, there’s always some guys that will plant some early maturing corn, there’s not a lot of acres of that, but there’s a little bit.  Typically, we’ll see a little corn being harvested around early August, in some areas of the Blacklands, usually seems sometime around the Blacklands tour, which is the first Wednesday in August, there’s usually someone starting to pick about that time, somewhere. 

“So, I think we’re on schedule with that, and then the rest of the acres will fall into place like the usually do, when we get into later August and early September.”


A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.