Extreme Heat Took Toll on NC Crops


In the latest crop progress report for North Carolina for the week ended August 7th, there were 5.8 days suitable for fieldwork, compared to 6.6 the previous week.  Topsoil moisture is rated at 4% very short, 23% short, 64% adequate and 9% surplus.  Gary Cross with Person County Extension reports that crop conditions are less stressed due to cooler temperatures and less humidity.  Target spot has caused significant damage to tobacco, as well as an increase in black shank and other diseases.  But, the heat of July took it’s toll on corn.  Mac Malloy with Robeson County Extension Scattered showers improved soil moisture in parts of the county. Worm activity picked up in soybeans with some treatments being made this week.

Much Needed Rain Welcome in South Carolina

There were 6.2 days suitable for field work in South Carolina in the week ended August 7th, compared to 6.6 the previous week as reported in the weekly crop progress report.  Topsoil moisture is rated at 7% very short, 25% short, 67% adequate and 1% surplus.  Powell Smith with Lexington County reports that widespread rain fell for the first time in weeks across the county, with some areas receiving more than three inches with cotton and peanuts benefiting the most.  Mark Nettles with Orangeburg County reports that while rain events helped most crops, continued high heat and humidity are still stressing crops and livestock.  And Russell Skipper with Horry County reports that tobacco harvest is starting to wind down and the quality and quantity appear very good.  Some corn growers are starting to harvest and early numbers are pointing to a bumper crop.

Comparison of Year-over-Year Ag Export Numbers

Bryce Cooke, USDA trade analyst, comparing U.S. agricultural exports and imports for the first nine months of fiscal year 2015, vs. the same period this fiscal year.

“From October of 2014, to June of 2015 there were $110.6 billion worth of ag exports, compare that to the fiscal year, thus far for 2016, and it’s $96.7 billion, so that’s almost a $14 billion drop.  And compare that to the imports side, the imports have been much steadier this fiscal year, compared to the last one.  Last year it was $86.8 billion, compared with $85.9 billion, this year, which is just under $1 billion drop.  So, when you look at the total trade balance, it’s down approximately $13 billion, and that’s nearly entirely due to the drop in exports.”

House Leadership says ‘No Reason’ to Hold TPP Vote

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan said last week that he saw no point in bringing up the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal for a vote during the lame-duck session of Congress. Ryan followed up the comment by saying it’s because “we don’t have the votes,” according to Reuters. Despite both U.S. Presidential candidates bashing the 12-country trade deal on the campaign trail, Obama Administration officials have pledged to make a major push in the coming months to persuade the Republican-majority Congress to pass TPP. But Ryan said the Obama Administration had negotiated a deal that “cost them dozens of votes in Congress.” He called for the President to renegotiate some components of the trade agreement, including some agriculture and labor provisions. Ryan was doubtful that the changes would happen, providing a grim outlook for getting approval for the trade agreement.

Study Finds Consumers Support GMO Labeling

A new study finds 81 percent of consumers say they approve of the GMO labeling requirement passed by Congress last month and signed into law by the president. The survey also found 31 percent of respondents indicated they would be much less likely, while 18 percent indicated they would be somewhat less likely, to purchase a food product if they learned that it contained genetically modified ingredients. Those who say they are less likely to purchase foods if they contain GM ingredients also say they are more likely to scan smart labels with their cell phone to find out if products contain GM ingredients. The study was published by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.


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.