Crop Progress and Condition for the Week Ending September 28, 2014.
Most of the Old Dominion experienced scattered showers and cooler than normal temperatures this week. Rainfall varied from very light to over 2 inches. Days suitable for fieldwork were 5.6. Showers contributed to delaying the corn harvest; the State is about one week behind normal for this time of year. Despite the recent rain showers, several counties reported dry conditions. Pasture and hay fields were in poorer condition when compared to a year ago. Livestock producers worry, if given a hard winter, there will be a shortage of feed available.
Vegetable growers were winding down for the season; collards and late squash were still being harvested. Most of the sweet potatoes and pumpkins harvest is completed. Other farming activities for the week included fall calving, planting cover crops, and preparing for apple festivals.
REPORTER COMMENTS BY COUNTY
Comments are based on comments reported by extension agents, farmers, commodity specialists, and other knowledgeable individuals.
FREDERICK (Jeanette Smith) I have heard from farmers that areas of Frederick are dry. Rainfall has been spotty in certain areas. Temperatures this week low 50’s to low 80’s.
ROCKBRIDGE (Thomas A Stanley) Dry conditions accelerated maturation of corn and soybeans, and its effects began to be seen in pasture and hayfields more broadly across Rockbridge. Many farmers have started feeding hay ahead of when they normally begin hay feeding. Corn silage harvest is finished, and corn for grain harvesting work is close on its heels.
AMELIA (Joan Poore) Topsoil was getting dry until Wednesday, which brought steady showers all day and night. After that system passed, the weekend was dry and low 80’s. This stopped any potential to harvest corn for a few days due to the moisture content. Some hay has been harvested, but a very low yield. A lot of tobacco remains to be harvested.
CAROLINE (Mike Broaddus) No rain this past week. The soil is getting dryer.
HANOVER (Jim Tate) Rain at least in the western end of the county. It has not done much to alleviate the dry conditions, but the guys who are harvesting grain are happy as they are not tearing up fields with harvest equipment this year. Corn yields, while not great, have been better than was expected. We still have some grass where pastures are managed, but stockpiling fescue needs a little more moisture and not much forage has been built so far. Where pastures are not managed, the prayers are for a mild winter, because it has not been a good hay making year either; however, signs do not point to a mild winter. It has been cool all summer. I doubt we are going to have a warm winter.
NELSON (Michael LaChance) Wine grape harvest continues with much of the 2014 crop undergoing initial fermentation. Peach harvest is nearly completed. Apple orchards being actively picked and outlets preparing for festivals. Late hay continues to be cut and rolled. Brown marmorated stink bugs and kudzu bugs moving towards buildings.
ESSEX (Keith Balderson) Reported rainfall amounts for the week were just under .5 inch up to an inch, but much of the drier areas were still on the low end of totals. Corn harvest continued at a good pace. Some cover crops were planted. Producers were also busy budgeting and trying to determine how much wheat to plant given the current low price for the crop.
GLOUCESTER (David Moore) Corn harvest continues. Yields very good. Rain during the week helped late beans, and also made good seed bed for cover crop planting. Soybeans will increase leaf drop. Haymaking has been on a good roll and late cuttings have been very good. Most vegetable production is over. Some late squash and collards still growing. Sweet potato and pumpkin harvest about over. Plans being made for small grain and cover crop planting.
SURRY (Glenn Slade) About an inch of rain this week (9/24-25) slowed field work, but we needed it to help fill peanuts and double crop soybeans.
SUSSEX (Kevin Wells) Rainfall has fallen over most of our county and farm activities are put on hold. Corn harvest continues along with peanut digging and the crop look good. A few acres got harvested prior to the showers. Flue-cured tobacco harvest is coming to an end as growers move quickly to fill barns with ripe leaves.