NC Wheat Reliant on Weather Now

You don’t have to get very far out of the city limits to figure out there’s a lot of wheat growing in North Carolina. NC Ag commissioner Steve Troxler explains what he thinks is driving the number of acres this year:

“It’s hard to miss the green fields across North Carolina. A January report indicates that about 800,000 acres of wheat were planted this year. If the weather cooperates, that could lead to a tremendous year for NC wheat growers. I think the record yields from last year coupled with strong prices are really what is driving this number.” 

From this point forward, according to Troxler, it’s all about the weather:

“We have to have good weather from here on out to harvest to make sure we get all of the wheat into the bin.” 

And it’s not just a late freeze that could take out a field of wheat:

“I’ve seen some photographs of wheat in Rowan County that looked to be sitting in about six inches of hail. These are the kinds of things that happen even to crops that look this good now. Many things can change the outcome. “

Deepening of the Savannah River now in the hands of the Feds

A federal judge will decide whether the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers needs a South Carolina pollution permit for a $600 million project to deepen the Savannah River shipping channel.

Georgia ports want the channel deepened to accommodate larger ships that will be calling when the Panama Canal is widened in 2014. Last month three conservation groups from both states sued in South Carolina court.

Rising beef prices fail to slow U.S. beef exports

Rising beef prices have not slowed U.S. beef exports, according to recent data from USDA. U.S. beef exports the second week of March were the highest in more than a decade at 52,000 metric tons, the most since 96,044 metric tons were sold in December 2001.

Supreme Court Declines Action in Tobacco Case

The Supreme Court is refusing to overturn a $28.3 million verdict against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. in the first of about 8,000 lawsuits that have been filed against cigarette companies in Florida. Here's Senior Legal Analyst Andrew Cohen:

“This action, the court’s refusal to get involved here means we are more likely to see a settlement in this case, and perhaps in more of these smoking cases in Florida.” 

USDA Releases Final Planning Rule for Forests

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced USDA’s Final Planning Rule for America's 193-million acre National Forest System. The rule includes stronger protections for forests, water, and wildlife while supporting the economic vitality of rural communities. Over half of Forest Service units are currently operating with plans that are more than 15 years old.

Higher Dairy Production Impacts Corn’s Markets

The relatively warm winter may have had an impact on U.S. dairy cattle milk production. According to a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture milk production estimate, February 2012 milk production is estimated to be eight percent higher than in that month last year. The dairy herd is one percent larger and productivity has increased seven percent per cow.

City of Charleston Issue Challenge to Residents

Charleston is telling its residents to lighten up. City officials are issuing a challenge Monday for the community to lose a combined 100,000 pounds.

Mayor Joe Riley is announcing the effort being undertaken with the help of state agencies and area colleges and universities, local schools and area businesses. The idea is for people to lose weight to combat the recent rise in obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Today’s Farm Fact:

About 46% of the country is farmland—that’s an area more than ten times the size of California and greater than twice the size of Alaska. 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.