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Some Down East Crops Buckling Under Torrential Rains


It just won’t quit raining in eastern North Carolina.  Director of Beaufort County Extension, Rod Gurganus:

“We had areas that has less than three or four inches from this last event, we had, and then you can go three miles down the road and they got 10 to 12 in some spots.  And we didn’t get as much in our area as they did in Bertie County, I think they got up to 17 inches in some spots over there.”

The rainfall has been inconsistent as to location, so Gurganus says some farmers are harvesting, some are not:

“With the rain like it was the last few days, and as sporadic and spotty as it was, yeah, we have some farmers that are plowing and harvesting, and moving on.  And we’ve got other farmers three or four miles up the road who are stuck and just in mud.  It really is a contrast in situations when you start riding down the road and looking.”

Gurganus says for the most part, corn is out, but some crops are really starting to suffer, and it’s looking like a replay of 2015 for others:

“We have the tobacco farmers in the western part of Beaufort County, and probably in Washington County, too, they were trying to focus on getting tobacco out, and they are just now getting into the corn patch.  Now, most of our larger guys that are just farming grain, they’re finished for the most part. 

We’ve got soybeans now that the guys are starting to pick.  Some of the early maturing varieties that we have in the area, those guys have really been picking now for two weeks, when the weather permitted and trying to get those out.  We are seeing a little damage now from the beans that were ready to pick before the rain, that we still haven’t been able to get into, they’re starting to show some of the same quality issues that we had last year when we had a similar event.  So, that’s not a good sign.  But, if the weather would stay decent, and we don’t have a hurricane come in on us like they’re saying, maybe we can get some more of those out.” 

And of course, open cotton bolls and substantial rainfall are not a good mix:

“I was hoping we were going to dodge the bullet on cotton but I have one grower that has started harvesting cotton…he began harvesting a little bit before the rain came in, and he started picking again after the rain, and his yields are off substantially, so I’m afraid this water has hurt us on this cotton crop, as well.  We’ve got seed sprouting, we’ve got into quality issues, as well.  I was hoping we weren’t going to have a repeat, but it looks like we’re hoping to see some of the same issues we saw last fall.”

Rod Gurganus, Director of Beaufort County Extension.'

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.