Cotton loss minimal after hurricane

Published 9:18 am Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thurman Munford Jr. harvests cotton in the Hunterdale area of Southampton County. -- ANDREW FAISON/TIDEWATER NEWS


COURTLAND—In spite of Hurricane Sandy and subsequent rains, losses of cotton in Southampton County have been relatively minimal. In fact, yields are looking better than anticipated.

“The cotton crop is phenomenal this year and we have seen very minimal, basically nonexistent, loss on the cotton lint yields from the storm,” Southampton County Agriculture Extension Agent Chris Drake said Monday.

He estimated then about 30 to 35 percent of cotton remains in the field.

“If we can get a few good days this week and next, yes the vast majority will be done by Thanksgiving,” said Drake.

Farmers have been greatly helped by being spared the worst effects of the hurricane.

“We are seeing a lot of 1,000-pound-plus yields with some fields going up to 1,500-pound yields,” he added.

The yields are notably better than when Hurricane Irene hit in late August 2011. That’s when county farmers lost 40 to 50 percent of their crops, said Thurman Munford Jr. of Black Creek.

“We had plenty of cotton as we ever had in August 2011” Munford said. “After the storm blew through, the land was so wet, we couldn’t finish until March 2012.”

He and his father, Thurman Munford Sr., got 600 pounds out of a potential 1,000 pounds.

“Everything’s still good as of right now. Very minimal loss,” said the 37-year-old farmer. “It’s nowhere near last year.”

While he still has 170 acres of his own, the Munfords are also hired to pick for other farmers.