Farmers welcome rain overall, so long as it doesn’t linger

Published 11:40 am Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Harvested corn at a field in Southampton County pours into a truck for delivery to a storage unit. -- STEPHEN H. COWLES

Harvested corn at a field in Southampton County pours into a truck for delivery to a storage unit. — STEPHEN H. COWLES

COURTLAND—Monday’s rain, courtesy of Tropical Storm Karen, is generally welcome, provided there’s no hanging around, according to Chris Drake, extension agent for Southampton County.

“The rain will help fill out the seeds in some very late planted double crop soybeans,” he said. “It will also help to restore topsoil moisture to aid in seeding of winter wheat, which will start in the next couple of weeks.”

Drake added that peanut farmers would also benefit, particularly those who’ve had especially hard land, which has kept them from finishing the digging process for their crop.

Naturally, inclement weather postpones harvesting peanuts and cotton. But he’s hopeful that if the storm system heads out in a couple of days, then “overall it will be a blessing for area farmers, especially peanut and soybean producers.”

Speaking of peanuts, Drake said the crop is “yielding well from most reports I am hearing with quality grades being reported as above average as well.” He added the peanut harvest is maybe 40 percent complete in the county.

Cotton harvest just got started last week, Drake said, and noted that a few fields were being picked Monday morning.

“Yield potential looks good for the majority of areas, but there will be some cotton that yields poorly due to excessive rainfall early in the growing season,” he said.

Meanwhile, corn harvesting has been mostly done. Drake estimates 90 percent or so, and yields are reportedly very good in general.

In neighboring Isle of Wight, extension agent Janet Spencer said the rain would slow down the peanut and cotton harvests.

“The only things we’ve harvested here in IOW have been the corn and some of the peanuts,” she said. “Corn did exceptionally well this year, and we are on track for good peanut yields, as well.”

Spencer said farmers her way are just getting started with the peanuts – only about 15 percent – and so she’s not heard a lot about them. But those that have been dug “look great on the vines.”

While corn is 100 percent harvested, there’s been no cotton yet.

“Defoliation only just started in earnest probably within the last two weeks,” she added. “As for the soybeans, the earlier maturing varieties have pretty much reached maturity, as have some of the late-planted beans.

They could have really benefited from this rain about two weeks ago to help fill out pods.”