Crop Progress and Condition for the Week Ending September 21, 2014.
Virginia experienced slightly cooler than normal temperatures and scattered rain showers this week. Temperatures ranged between the 40s to the upper 80s, and total precipitation was around one tenth or less of inch in most places. Days suitable for fieldwork were 6.4.
The dry weather was ideal for the corn harvest, but farmers were still behind on the harvest for this time of year; in some areas the corn moisture has been too high for harvesting which contributed to the delay. At some locations, late hay was being cut. Livestock producers worry that there will be a lack of hay this winter as hay stocks are lower than normal. While the dry weather has been ideal for harvesting, it has contributed to delays in planting small grains, cover crops, and hay. Other farming activities for the week included fall calving, spraying defoliants on cotton, digging peanuts, and harvesting tobacco.
REPORTER COMMENTS BY COUNTY
Comments are based on comments reported by extension agents, farmers, commodity specialists, and other knowledgeable individuals.
FREDERICK (Jeanette Smith) We had temperatures in the 70’s and 80’s. Night temperatures were in the 50’s. Some farmers are saying it is drying up and we need rain.
AMELIA (Joan Poore) Dry but temperatures remain in 70’s for daytime, 60 at night. An unexpected passing shower Friday morning – maybe 1 to 2 tenths across the county. A lot of corn is ready for harvest but moisture on corn still running too high for harvest.
CAROLINE (Mike Broaddus) Still very dry. No rain. Cooler days and nights have slowed down the soil evaporation process however.
HANOVER (Jim Tate) It has been a dry week; more progress on corn harvest, some beans have been harvested, and a lot of hay has been mown and/or made this past week. We really could use a little rain as a good bit of hay has been planted and some small grain and conditions are pretty dry.
LOUISA AG (Steve Hopkins) Stockpile growth at this point will be very limited resulting in early feeding of livestock for most this winter. Hay supplies are fair, but long winter feeding could lead to hay shortages before spring. Corn and soybean crops were very good with harvest going well with dry conditions; however, small grain seeding could be delayed because of dry conditions.
NELSON (Michael LaChance) Apple and wine grape harvest is underway. Grasslands are being clipped and summer annual grasses being cut and baled.
ESSEX (Keith Balderson) Dry conditions prevailed during the week, resulting in a depletion of soil moisture. Double crop soybeans, pastures, and hay fields are showing stress due to a lack of soil moisture. The dry weather allowed producers to make excellent progress harvesting the corn crop, and yields overall have been better than expected.
GLOUCESTER (David Moore) Corn harvest in full swing. Yields are very good to excellent. Soybeans received good rains last week that will take most to maturity. Yields expected to be above average. Cover crop planting begins. Land prep for small grains begins. Most veggies are done. Sweet potatoes and pumpkins ready for harvest. Late hay cutting begins.
SMYTH (Andy Overbay) Gray Leaf Spot has shown up in several area corn fields of susceptible varieties. Rapid dry down has been thwarted only by aggressive chopping and ensiling.
BRUNSWICK (Cynthia Gregg) Soybeans are beginning to yellow and drop leaves. Flue cued tobacco harvest is going steady and bales are being taken to the buying stations. Fall calving is well underway. Some late hay is being cut as well.
PRINCE GEORGE (Scott Reiter) Corn harvest is widespread across the county now. Yields are mostly reported as good and better than expected. There are some areas of low yielding corn, but no yield reports yet. Soybeans look good overall. The double crop plantings are variable due to the dry weather in August and September. Most growers are trying to determine how much wheat to plant at current price offerings and all crop budgets for 2015 look very dim.
SURRY (Glenn Slade) Corn harvest well underway with yields in the 150-200 bushel range,(very good for Southeast Virginia), if we could just get the prices up. Peanut diggers just starting with what looks like a good crop. Cotton bolls opening with some defoliation sprays going out.
SUSSEX (Kevin Wells) Corn harvest continues after heavy rains on last week. Peanut digging will get stated next week when some fields dry down. Maturity is about a week away. Small grains will also start next week following corn harvest.