The season continues to be affected by adverse weather conditions. Some areas are too wet while most areas still need significant rain. Below are crop updates from each of the state’s 13 agronomic field services regions.
Regional agronomists with the NCDA&CS Agronomic Services Division provide on-site consulting services to help growers. For more information on NCDA&CS Agronomic Field Services visit https://www.ncagr.gov/agronomi/rahome.htm.
Region 1 –report provided by Tristan Morris
Counties include: Bertie, Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Gates, Hertford, Pasquotank and Perquimans
- Corn: The crop is looking better after having received rain. Growers are side dressing fertilizer.
- Soybeans: The soybean crop looks good, there is a good stand in most places and the early planted soybeans have a good amount of vegetative growth. Many growers had stopped planting due to dry conditions.
- Peanuts: There is a good stand in most places considering the adverse planting conditions (dry and cool).
- Tobacco: The crop has been transplanted with some acreage transplanted for a second time due to adverse conditions (dry, windy, and cool), issues in the greenhouse, and products used in the transplant water. The early crop has made good progress.
- Sweet potatoes: Transplanting will be in full swing once the land dries out.
- Cotton: Overall, there is a good stand in most places. Some acreage had to be replanted due to poor stands caused by cool weather. There has been some spraying for thrips due to the dry conditions resulting in poor insecticide uptake.
- Small Grains: A little wheat has been harvested. The crop looks fair in most places and the quality may suffer some due to the recent heavy rains.
Region 2 – report provided by Carla Pugh
Counties include: Beaufort, Dare, Hyde, Martin, Pamlico, Tyrrell and Washington
- Corn: All of the corn in the region has been planted for several weeks. In mid-May to the beginning of June, corn was twisting up due to lack of moisture. After the rain the first week of June it has really started growing.
- Small Grains: Wheat has been drying down, we did have some minor issues with freeze damage at the end of April. Harvest has not started.
- Cotton: Cotton has been planted, there were a few areas that had to be replanted and some of those areas were planted back with soybeans.
- Soybeans: All of the full season beans have been planted and some farmers had to replant.
- Vegetables: Farmers are getting ready to start digging potatoes. Broccoli and cabbage harvest has started, they had a few issues with the heat. Farmers have started planting watermelons and sweet corn.
- Strawberries: Strawberries have ended for the year. Growers had lower crop yields this year due to the weather in the fall and spring.
Region 3 – report provided by Brandon Poole
Counties include: Carteret, Craven, Greene, Jones, Lenoir, Pitt and Wilson
- Tobacco: The tobacco crop in the region as a whole looks very good considering the challenges that the crop has been through. Tobacco planted early went through a period of dry and windy weather followed by a late cool snap that caused some replanting to be necessary. Growers who waited for better planting conditions or soil moisture were delayed by several weeks which was followed by lack of rainfall after transplanting. The later planted crop has been in a holding pattern for several weeks but the recent rainfall has the crop growing. Warm weather, adequate soil moisture, and timely fertilizer applications should have the crop moving in the right direction.
- Corn: Early planted corn in the region experience slow growth due to the cool weather that followed planting. As temperatures warmed up the rainfall stopped and now we have a very short early planted corn crop. Even though the height of the crop is shorter than normal the yield potential, in most cases, is still there. Later planted corn while hindered by low soil moisture seems to be moving along nicely. Adequate rainfall events from this point will be the driving force on corn yield potential.
- Soybeans: Early planted soybeans look very nice in the region. Dry weather lead to planters being parked in most of the region for several weeks. Some growers opted to try and plant into soil moisture and will have some replant areas in fields where the moisture ran out before the beans made it up. Other growers chose to plant in advance of the anticipated rainfall and will face some replant situations due to standing water or soil crusting.
- Sweet potatoes: Sweet potato transplanting has started in the region though moving slowly while waiting on rain showers to replenish soil moisture. After the rainfall last week, the transplanted sweet potato crop should begin growing rapidly, with the remaining acres moving along quickly with transplanting.
- Small Grains: The small grain crop in the region from the beginning was a crop of hoping everything would go right. Cool wet weather from planting through early spring hindered tiller development and most fields were facing thin stands. Early grain fill weather on the crop was ideal for temperature and soil moisture. However, dry and hot conditions at the end of the grain fill period has impacted test weight of the crop. Rainfall last week came right at the time where growers were getting ready to start harvesting the crop. Best scenario for the small grains crop at this point is dry weather to preserve the quality of the grain that we have.
- Strawberries: The strawberry season in the region began one to two weeks early. Berry size on the early strawberries was some of the best that has been seen in recent years. The early onset of hot weather quickly turned the crop and runners appeared several weeks earlier than we normally see. There was plenty of berries available for the target of Mother’s Day. Most growers have finished up the crop at this point.
Region 4 – report provided by Willie Howell
Counties include: Duplin, New Hanover, Pender, Onslow and Sampson
- Tobacco: Tobacco has endured adverse growing conditions since transplanting which has created fields lacking stand uniformity. Hot, dry and windy conditions immediately after transplanting damaged some transplants to the point of growers resetting small acreages. Some growers who utilized transplant water fungicide, starter fertilizer, and insecticide combinations under these dry conditions have irregular and/or stunted stands. Nearly all fields have uniformity issues related to native soil moisture. As the dry weather progressed from transplanting, it became very obvious where soil types with low water holding capacity existed. Plants in low water holding soils remained small and grew very little, but soils with higher moisture holding capacity continued to add leaf size and stalk height. After the rains fell last week, nearly all tobacco fields that received four inches or more of rainfall over June 2 and 3, and contained low lying swells or bottoms have areas of flopped or drowned plants. These areas are located where water settled. The northern part of region 4 experienced the highest rainfall totals. Fields without drowned areas are responding well to the much needed moisture and warm temperatures.
- Corn: Corn was definitely struggling with the dry conditions before the rains. All non‐irrigated fields were twisting and rolling during the heat of the afternoons. Corn growth has accelerated since the rains fell.
- Small Grains: Wheat after struggling with cool, wet tillering and topdress conditions, suffered through dry soil conditions during grain fill. Most fields dried down prematurely due to moisture stress. Harvest has not begun in earnest, but yields will be below normal. Harvest should ramp up when fields and grain dry out from recent rains.
- Small Fruits: Strawberry season has ended, but the crop was a very good yielding and good-tasting crop. Blueberry and blackberry harvest is underway. A hail storm hit the primary blueberry and blackberry production areas on May 5, which stripped some crops and damaged the fruit on other farms. Fruit quality has been affected which will lead to higher cull rates especially in blueberries. Plants were scarred by the hail which could lead to problems with disease. Blackberry primocanes were injured by the hail which may lead to issues with next season’s crop.
- Peanuts: Peanut planting has been completed, and the crop is off to a good start. Ample soil moisture at peanut planting depths allowed the crop to emerge during the dry conditions. The lack of rainfall after planting has not activated the pre‐emergence herbicides and have hindered uptake of in‐furrow insecticides. Growers will have to be vigilant with timely post‐emergent herbicide applications and thrips control.
- Cotton: Cotton planting was completed with growers “dusting in” seed at the end of the planting window. Stands are not perfect in most early planted fields, but replanting is not warranted. Fields dusted in before the rains may have issues with soil crusting. The lack of rainfall after planting has not activated the pre‐emergence herbicides and have hindered uptake of in‐furrow insecticides. Growers will have to be vigilant with timely post‐emergent herbicide applications and thrips control. With recent rains and warm temperatures, emerged cotton should really grow.
- Soybeans: Soybean planting had stopped for the last two to three weeks due to dry soil conditions in the planting zone. Soybeans planted when soil moisture was present have really nice stands. In anticipation of the recent rains, some growers planted soybeans in the dust. The heavy rains in some locations have left standing water and soil crusting. Some acreage may need replanting. When soil conditions dry out, soybean planting will resume.
- Sweet potatoes: Sweet potato transplanting is in full swing. Fields vary from recently transplanted to running. Stands look very good. With good soil moisture following the rains, sweet potato planting should progress swiftly.
- Pastures and Hay: Pastures and hayfields have been growing slowly with the recent dry weather. Pasture grass growth has not been able to keep up with grazing. Growers have been feeding hay to supplement the slow growing pastures. The first cutting of hay has been primarily a clean‐up cutting. Very little growth has led to low yield. The recent rains have perked up the forage grasses.
Region 5 – report provided by Georgia Love
Counties include: Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, Cumberland, Hoke, Robeson and Scotland
- Tobacco: The tobacco crop has gotten off to a pretty good start despite extremely dry conditions up until last week. Systemic insecticides have not worked as well due to the dry weather and budworm pressure has been high in some fields. Some plants were needed for resetting, but most growers were able to manage. Very little disease issues at this point.
- Cotton and Peanuts: Most of the cotton and peanuts have been planted and stands are decent considering dry conditions. Some thrips damage is significant in very dry areas.
- Soybeans: Soybean stands are variable due to dry conditions. Early planted beans are off to a good start and have handled the dry weather pretty well. Pre‐emergent herbicides have not work well at all and weed control will be an issue going forward.
- Corn: The drought has significantly impacted corn. That is very evident in irrigated fields where a portion of the crop is not under irrigation. The drought damaged corn has been damaged by fertilizer and herbicides due to the stressful conditions. The rain expected this week will help, but it’s a little too late for a lot of the crop.
- Small Grains: Some small grains have been harvested with less than desirable yields. Yields will be a mixed bag. The wet winter followed by an extremely dry April and May has reduced grain fill and likely impacted test weight. With drowned fields, some significant freeze injury, root rot diseases, and drought, wheat yields will be much less than desirable.
- Sweet potato: Some sweet potato production is rebounding in this region due to a new processor in the area. The crop is going in the ground now.
- Blueberries: The blueberry crop started out as one of the best in recent years with pretty good spring growing conditions. A major hailstorm has wiped out a significant portion of the crop and drastically impacted some growers and the industry as a whole in North Carolina. Fruit left on the plant was severely damaged and cannot be harvested. Foliage was also significantly damaged, and growers have sprayed fungicides to try to prevent disease issues. Later maturing varieties are still being monitored to determine if some of the crop can be salvaged from these varieties.
- Blackberries: Some of the blackberry crop was also damaged in the hailstorms through Bladen County. The later maturing varieties appear to be less impacted and may produce a viable crop.
- Strawberries: The strawberry crop was a good one with good yields and quality. However, most of the crop matured about the same time and fruit load was heavy for only a few weeks. Harvest began about on time, but was shortened due to the hot weather experienced about the third week in May. Overall yields were lower than last year but the dry weather helped maintain quality of the crop. Disease issues were minimal.
- Hemp: What’s left of hemp production in the region is mainly done in the greenhouse. The few producers left are growing smokeable bud or producing their own products from the CBD oil.
- Greenhouse vegetables: The heat from mid‐May has not helped greenhouse produced crops. Significant disease issues have occurred for some growers.
- Pastures and Hay: Growers have begun to get concerned about hay supplies. Some have already missed a complete cutting due to the dry conditions and grass just not growing. The current stands look more like late March than late May stands. Any fertilizer applied has not been utilized and many people are looking for hay. Supplies from last year were good, but not great due to excessive rainfall preventing harvest and reducing quality.
Region 6 – report provided by Mike Wilder
Counties include: Edgecombe, Franklin, Halifax, Nash, Northampton, Vance and Warren
- Tobacco: A late cold snap at the start of tobacco transplanting got things off to a slow start. Then unusually dry conditions until last week further stressed the crop. Many dry fields stalled growth and delayed planting. More than normal re‐setting was necessary. Growth has not been uniform in many fields. Irrigated acreage moved slower than normal, but obviously better than non‐irrigated. With last week’s rain, things are turning around quickly. Rain this week came too heavy in isolated spots especially in Halifax and parts of Edgecombe counties. However, it was much needed region wide. Looking forward to good, hopefully not excessive, moisture this month. That should catch the crop up to where it needs to be.
- Peanuts and Cotton: Peanut and cotton planting are about done, looking better in this early stage than tobacco. Dry weather again caused delays. Looking for good stands in coming weeks.
- Corn: A lot of small corn for grain, some good uniform fields. All were suffering until the rain. Beginning to look much better. Rain came just in time for planting corn for silage.
- Soybeans: Soybean planting is still underway, many have been holding off due to dry conditions. Early planted fields are looking Ok.
- Sweet potato: Sweet potato planting is getting into full swing. Some greenhouse plants were slow to produce due to a cool cloudy start in late February to early March. Field bedded slips are full, ready to go. A good number of earlier planted fields burned back, some required replanting. Most of the drought damaged plants should recover.
- Small Grains: Wheat “looks” good in many fields considering earlier delays. A lot of thin stands as well. Even the uniform fields are predicted to yield low due to wet weather delays at planting and topdress time. As of today very little harvested, likely due to the focus of getting soybeans in the ground and finishing up cotton. Expect a lot of harvesting in the coming week. Again, dry weather came at a critical time, drying the plants down earlier than expected. Will probably be a better straw than grain season.
- Strawberries: Strawberries got off to an early start one, even two weeks earlier than expected. Some with big yields, great fruit up front followed by seeing runners way too early. Growers overall got through a successful Mother’s Day and subsequent weekends. However, the season slowed and stopped earlier than expected. I would call it an average year. Hail damaged one grower early on, scattered diseases caused challenges for others.
- Vegetables: Broccoli acreage is up in some parts of Region 6. Planting began perhaps two weeks later than ideal, but looking very promising at this time. Hopefully hot weather won’t cause problems by harvest. A handful of former tobacco greenhouses have been planted with organic running cucumbers. Again, earlier planting would have been better, but 75 % of what I’ve seen is looking promising. Fertility, disease, insect management will be critical for success. They’re doing a good job so far. Hope to see good harvests before downy mildew season begins. Aphid, bacterial spot, fertility issues are the main concerns now, but being managed effectively.
Region 7 – report provided by Don Nicholson
Counties include: Harnett, Johnston, Lee, Wake and Wayne
- Tobacco: All transplanting is done, although it lasted longer than expected due to quite a few growers having to reset significant acres due to several factors which include weather conditions (wind, frost and hot/dry conditions) and some concern over a black shank control product used in transplant water that seems to have made the survival of transplants much lower, especially with adverse weather conditions. Overall, the crop is progressing, although slowly in areas that had not received any rainfall until the past week. In a limited area, some growers received some significant amounts of hail damage that ragged up the plants but should not affect the yield except for the lower leaves. Plant supplies were adequate until many of the growers that used the black shank product lost many acres that required resetting. Recent rains and warm temperatures should have the crop growing rapidly in the coming weeks.
- Peanuts: Most, if not all, of the peanut crop is planted and good stands have been observed in most growers’ fields although planting conditions suffered due to lack of moisture across the region. There has been some thrips damage observed in areas that were very dry, limiting the amount of insecticide taken up by the plants. Again, recent rains and warm temperatures should have the crop growing rapidly in the coming weeks.
- Corn: Overall, the crop is in good shape, even though some was struggling in the dry conditions until the recent rains fell. Most growers have applied the topdress Nitrogen with a few of the later planted acres to be the exception.
- Cotton: Most of the crop is planted and stands are acceptable in most cases, although some replanting was warranted in some of the crop due mainly to dry planting conditions. As with peanuts, in‐furrow insecticides have been hit or miss in effectiveness, leading to some thrips damage. With the advent of the moisture and warmer temperatures, the crop should begin growing in the coming days.
- Soybeans: Growers have been busy planting the crop even though planting conditions were not ideal, some opting to “dust in“ the crop by planting as shallow as possible in dry soil so the germination process would not begin until the crop could get a rain. Others opted to try planting the seed deeper, hoping to get them into moisture, with the danger of a heavy rain sealing the deeper planted seed that would inhibit emergence. Soybeans planted into decent moisture have good stands.
- Sweet potato: Transplanting has begun, although slow due to recent dry weather. Sweet potato beds are very scattered in quality, with growers citing potentially bad seed potatoes and cold conditions. Beds range from very good to very poor. Warm temperatures of late have the better beds looking much better leading many growers to plan to begin transplanting this week, weather permitting. Some early transplanting has taken place out of plants grown in former tobacco greenhouses. Stands, so far, are acceptable.
- Small grains: Some wheat has been picked, yields, as expected, are unimpressive. Most of the crop is just too thin to support big yields, along with less than ideal weather conditions the crop faced during the crucial time of grain fill.
- Strawberries: The picking season is essentially over for most growers. The yields for most growers were not catastrophic but less than the expectations for many. Dry conditions led to very low incidences of diseases but hot conditions at times led to many runners showing up on the crop, which is generally associated with the crop being done.
Region 8 – report provided by Anna-Beth Williams
Counties include: Alamance, Caswell, Durham, Guilford, Granville, Orange, Rockingham and Stokes
- Small Grains: Wheat is starting to dry down across the region and some has even been harvested in the eastern counties. As expected, due to poor planting conditions and lack of tillers, yields and test weights are lower than average
- Corn: Growers continue to plant full season beans based on the chance of rain shower. Soybean germination looks good so far, but the plants are hurting from lack of water.
- Soybeans: Most corn has been planted. Corn plants remained twisted until the recent showers in the past week and seems to be growing again.
- Tobacco: Most of the tobacco crop has been planted. However, there is still about 15 % across the region yet to be planted. A late crop is likely this year. Many growers have even irrigated their crop due to lack of rain.
- Pastures and Hay: The hot, dry weather in May proved favorable to move across hay land quickly. Many growers were able to cut hay one day and rake and bale it within 24‐36 hours. However, producers are concerned about lack of rain and lack of forage. Early spring forage was delayed due to cold weather and some summer forage is now dry and dormant due to heat and lack of water. Stress on pastures now will only lead to additional problems come July or August when pasture stress is expected.
- Vegetables (Field and Greenhouse): Despite a wet spring and winter, many commercial and market growers have an abundance of peas, broccoli and other cole crops. Squash is starting to be harvested and sweet corn and tomatoes are growing nicely in the field. Greenhouse tomatoes and cucumbers are slowing down on production. It was a challenging spring to alternate shade cloth, heaters, and fans, dealing with the fluctuating weather patterns.
- Strawberries: Strawberries are either at peak or past peak harvest. About 3 weeks ago, we had a few cool nights which slowed down production. Those cool nights were followed by temperatures in the 80s and 90s. Yield has not been as good as 2020 for many growers.
- Blueberries: Early blueberry harvest is beginning. The crop does not look as though the late frost has much effect on it. We will continue to monitor for pests throughout the season.
Region 9 – report provided by Brad Thompson
Counties include: Anson, Chatham, Montgomery, Moore, Randolph, Richmond and Stanly
- Tobacco: Despite the dry conditions, tobacco planting wrapped up in May. One grower survived the late cold snap in late April. They had already planted half of their crop when the cold snap hit. Luckily, no plants seemed to be affected by the cold. The remaining growers didn’t start planting in earnest until May and had to endure the dry and hot conditions. Stands suffered in a couple of spots and growers had to replant due to conditions being too dry at planting. Replants look good and there should be no difference in maturity between plants as the season progresses. The rain that was received should hopefully cause the crop to “jump” within the coming days and weeks.
- Strawberries: The strawberry season is officially over in the region. There are a couple of growers in the northern part of the region that still have strawberries for sale, but they should be wrapping up production within the next week or two. Overall, the season was about average to slightly above average for most growers. Yields were similar to last year, however for most varieties, there was only one large fruit set and then very little set afterwards. The only varieties that seemed to have more than one large fruit set was ‘Chandler’ and ‘Ruby June.’ The quality of the fruit through the season was good, but not great. There were some misshapen and unpollinated fruit later being picked in mid-to-late May. Although not a problem for U‐pick operations, it was an issue for growers that were trying to fill wholesale orders with top quality fruit. Part of the pollination issue was heat related as the bees were not in the fields as much when it started getting so hot in mid-to-late May. Fruit flavor was average early but got better as the days got longer and hotter. There were no complaints from customers according to the growers in the region. Overall, a good year for strawberry growers.
- Peaches: The peach crop within the region is in full swing. Although there was significant damage to many varieties due to the late cold snap in April, there are still peaches to be picked. Early maturing varieties began being harvest the last two weeks in May. The dry and hot conditions have affected fruit size on the earlier maturing varieties. Fruit for those varieties are smaller than normal, but flavor is excellent. Growers are finding that fruit quality is going to be an issue this year due to the late cold snap. Many peaches that are being picked have “split pits” which is a major issue with consumers because insects have access to get down inside the fruit. When the consumer cuts into the fruit, insects may still be in the fruit causing many consumers to never return and buy peaches from that grower. Another issue that is being seen is misshapen fruit due to the pit being shattered inside the fruit. The fruit still developed, but not normally causing the fruit to have more flesh on one side and less on the other. For many growers in the region, yields are going to be drastically lower this year, but most growers are thankful for what crop they have left in the orchards. Sales for peaches this year will likely be normal, but for growers with roadside stands, I am already seeing an increase in South Carolina peaches being brought in to offset the yields that North Carolina growers lost.
- Small Grains: Some wheat in the region has been harvested. Yields are below average, but not as bad as some growers were thinking it was going to be back during the winter. One grower shared that he’s “had worse.” The rye crop has not begun to be harvested. Rye in the region is in better shape than wheat as far as yields are concerned. Harvesting should begin within the next couple of weeks for most that have rye. The recent rain will slow down harvest on all small grain in the area for at least a week.
- Corn: The corn crop in the region looks surprising good despite the hot and dry conditions. There are fields in sandier locations where irrigation is not being utilized that the crop began twisting, but the recent rain has helped with that situation. Corn grown in the western half of the region (Stanly), is beginning to twist as that area did not receive the rainfall that the eastern half of the region did. Growers are hoping for more rainfall as the month of June progresses. Most growers have already applied their topdress fertilizer due to the upcoming forecast for rain.
- Cotton: The cotton crop is roughly 75 % planted in the region. Some growers were waiting for rain before they planted. Growers that planted during the hot and dry days of May have a surprisingly good stand of cotton. Most growers are worried about the potential for thrips damage as dry and hot conditions persist. Insecticides were applied in‐furrow, but growers are still being very cautious.
- Soybeans: The soybean crop is about 95 % complete throughout the region. Growers that began planting in mid‐May have an excellent stand of soybeans while other growers who planted later, have up and down stands. A couple of growers planted shallow during the hottest part of May hoping that germination would be more consistent when they received some rain and soil moisture allowed for the germination process to begin. However, in the sandier areas, there were growers that planted deeper where there was some soil moisture. So far, the soybean crop looks good regardless of how the crop was planted, but there are many acres that haven’t germinated yet. Therefore, time will tell.
- Summer Vegetables: Growers with summer vegetables are looking at an outstanding crop so far. Squash, zucchini, cucumbers are being harvested already. The hot temperatures did not seem to affect pollination and the fruit quality looks excellent. The tomato crop looks good. Some growers will be harvesting tomatoes within the next two to three weeks. Early planted watermelons and cantaloupes are setting fruit now and harvest will begin prior to July 4th with subsequent planted melons either in the early flowering stage to just beginning to run stage. Green beans, peas and butter beans are all at various stages across the region. Some growers will begin harvesting green beans within the next two weeks with subsequent plantings to follow. Peas and butter beans are still several weeks away from harvest. Overall, the summer vegetable crop is in good shape across the region with no issues being reported by growers.
- Sweet potatoes: Planting has not begun yet in the region, except on a couple of small farming operations (> two acres). Growers in the region were waiting on rainfall before bedding up their sweet potato land. Hopefully, planting will begin within the next couple of weeks.
Region 10 – no longer exists
Region 11 – report provided by Daniel Overcash
Counties include: Cabarrus, Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Iredell, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Surry, Union and Yadkin
- Small Grains: Barley harvest is almost completed in the Piedmont and wheat will probably start this week. The barley/wheat crop will be below average this year. Water‐logged fields from last fall/winter made for poor stands and the rain quit just as it started to head causing considerable yield loss.
- Corn: The corn crop is holding up despite very dry conditions, but it is starting to suffer. Corn that should be three‐foot‐tall now is only two-foot-tall. However, I have not gotten any reports of any fields that had to be replanted. A lot of nutritional issues have plagued this crop because of the very dry conditions, but I expect that to go away if a little rain would return to the Piedmont.
- Soybeans: Full season beans have been planted. The soybean planting had some starting and stopping to it based on field conditions being too dry or too cold. However, just like the corn crop, there was no need to replant this crop because good stands were achieved the first time.
- Tobacco: Tobacco was delayed in planting due to the cool weather and then it stopped because of the dry conditions. Most growers had some fields that need to be replanted because after transplanting it got dry and there was some stand loss.
- Strawberries and Vegetables: The strawberries crop this year was slightly below average for most growers. The season was just short and that impacted yield. However, the dry conditions made for great berry quality. All other vegetables are doing well and the first of the summer vegetables started in earnest this week in the Piedmont.
- Pastures and Hay: The first cutting of hay was well below normal. It rained all winter and when it came time for hay to grow the water ran dry so hay production was way down, but weather for making hay was very good. Pastures are suffering from a lack of moisture.
- Nursery Industry: Many nursery growers couldn’t keep up with the demand for ornamentals last year and that has continued into this year. Certain tree/shrub species are almost impossible to find.
Region 12 – report provided by Dwayne Tate
Counties include: Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Burke, Caldwell, McDowell, Mitchell, Watauga and Wilkes
- Tobacco: Crop is beginning to take hold after experiencing some harsh weather conditions during the transplanting window. Below normal temperatures and periodic windy conditions had a negative impact on the crop at about 50 % installment. Many growers may be experiencing ~10 % reduction in stand.
- Small Grain: Harvest has begun on what little barley there is in region. Wheat harvests may begin this week and be in full swing soon. Overall, growing conditions have been less than favorable. Average crop at best.
- Corn: Corn was planted a little late but in good fashion. Stands are decent but dry conditions of late have resulted in slowed growth and twisting. Some areas have received timely rain in the last two weeks which clearly shows crop response. Rain forecasts in the coming week should be helpful. Overall, crop is positioned well at this time.
- Soybeans: Early or long season soybean crop seems to have germinated decently. Might be some impact from dry, cool weather conditions on stand and growth. At this point, crop is a little late but positioned well.
- Vegetables: Brassica production has been in full swing. Field tomatoes, peppers, cucurbits and beans are planted for the most part. Dry conditions have been favorable for plasticulture grown crops.
- Small fruits, Apples and Peaches: Strawberry production window was short but productive. Fruit quality was impacted by cold temperatures…great deal of misshapen fruit. Apple and peach crops fared better than anticipated after cold snap during flowering window. Apple king blooms and a couple others were lost in many varieties which may result in a smaller fruit size. Overall, moderate orchard damage even to peaches. Blueberry cold damage and fruit loss was also reported as some growers lost as much as 80 % of crop and others 20‐30 %. Caneberry crop seems to be positioned well.
- Christmas Trees and Field Nursery: Field grown nursery has been moving well especially if you have specimens that are in demand. Cold weather may have hurt some flowering trees.
Region 13 – report provide by Chris Leek
Counties include: Buncombe, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon, Madison, Swain and Yancy
- Corn: Corn planting was delayed in Cherokee and Clay counties in early May due to a heavy rain event of five to six inches in a 24‐hour period. Some early plantings had to be replanted. Farmers were able to finish planting last week. Early plantings look good overall. Most of the silage corn acreage has been planted.
- Pastures and Hay: Small grains for hay and haylage yielded lower than average due to reduced stands and shorter than average crop. A high percentage of first cutting hay has been harvested.
- Tobacco: Burley tobacco acreage continues to decline with only a few growers left in the region.
- Strawberries: The strawberry crop started earlier than usual for farms that were able to provide frost protection. Relatively dry weather throughout the picking season helped provide decent yields with relatively low disease pressure. Cooler weather last week has helped to extend the season.
- Vegetables: Vegetable crops are off to a good start. Farmers were able to lay plastic in a timely manner for the first time in a couple of years allowing them to plant earlier. Disease pressure has been low due to drier than normal weather in May.
- Christmas Trees: Christmas tree farms in the region were delayed in planting seedlings due to transplants not being ready and labor issues. Farms that have the ability are planting more trees due to demand being higher than supply.
- Tree Fruits: Tree fruit farms were hit hard with freeze damage on apples and peaches throughout the region but farmers that I have talked to expect to have a decent crop.
Region 14 – report provided by Steve Dillon
Counties include: Catawba, Cleveland, Gaston, Henderson, Lincoln, Polk, Rutherford and Transylvani
- Small Grains: Harvest has not started. A fair amount of small grain was harvested for hay.
- Small Fruits: Strawberries are winding up with most growers looking to plant another crop to utilize the plastic mulch and help offset lower than anticipated yields. Growers are working to maintain blackberry plantings. The early crop was lost to cold weather.
- Corn: Most growers have completed planting and corn is off to a good start. Some later planted fields have struggled to get a stand due to dry conditions. Recent rains are slowing planting in the mountains.
- Soybeans: Most growers are finishing up full-season bean planting. In general, the crop is off to a good start. Growers have replanted some areas.
- Vegetables: Growers are transplanting, pruning and stringing tomatoes. Early settings were damaged by flooding, and cold weather. Later plantings look better.
- Cotton: Cotton planting is completed. Growers may replant poor stands with soybeans.