Virginia Crops Pacing Ahead of Normal

Virginia was like most states in the southeast…early warm spring which enticed corn growers to plant early, followed by a cool, wet April that seems to have had no end. Brian Jones, area agronomist for Pioneer Hi-Bred in Virginia and eastern West Virginia says that corn struggled early:

“A lot of farmers were 2-3 weeks early with planting. The corn was up and coming along nicely until we got a bought of cool wet weather. The cool evenings and nights really slowed down the growth. In some cases we had some yellowing. But now things are looking pretty good.”

Wheat has been maturing early as well, according to Jones, and combines started rolling just this past week:

“We are earlier than normal on our wheat harvest in Virginia. We had such a warm fall and winter that the wheat really got ahead of the season. We did have some areas that had damage due to the cold weather. Overall the wheat harvest should be about average this year.”

As far as early disease, weed, and insect pressure due to the wet weather, Jones says they’re seeing some of all three:

“We are seeing some weeds that are more aggressive and growing very quickly. One of the biggest insect issues is with slugs. We have had quite a few replant situations due to the slugs.”

Jones explains that most producers avoided a fungus problem in wheat by applying preventative fungicides:

“We are dealing with scab in the wheat, but a lot of farmers are using preventative measures and putting down a fungicide now. It’s a bit early to look at corn fungicide applications, but we will need to keep an eye on it.”

Brian Jones, area agronomist in West Virginia and Virginia for Pioneer Hi-bred on Inside Agriculture. 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.