Virginia Field Reports: Rains Help, More Needed

Crop Progress and Condition for the Week Ending October 20, 2019.

REPORTER COMMENTS BY COUNTY – Comments are based on remarks made by extension agents, farmers, commodity specialists, and other knowledgeable individuals.

NORTHERN

ROCKINGHAM (Doug Horn)
The county received two days of much needed soaking rains. Pasture and hay fields greened up, but grain harvest was delayed. Most of the county had the first heavy frost/freeze on Saturday.

LOUDOUN (Jim Hilleary)
Two days of much needed rain; not enough to significantly change conditions. Pastures should green up though. Left alone, the amount of Jointhead Arthraxon grass residue in stockpile fields will complicate cool-season grass growth through the winter and into the spring. The residue is likely to also impact effective broadcast frost/over seeding.

WESTERN

ROCKBRIDGE (Thomas Stanley)
Corn harvest proceeded rapidly in Rockbridge this week with continued dry conditions, and reports of infield grain moisture levels well under 15%. The first scattered frost occurred for most of Rockbridge Saturday morning. The week ended with significant rain Saturday night into Sunday morning from a tropical system coming from the south. Most of Rockbridge received between 1 and 1.5 inches of rain.

BATH/HIGHLAND (Jennifer Matosky)
Finally got some rain, which greened things up. A heavy windstorm one night took some trees down. Getting to the low 30s at night.

CENTRAL

AMELIA (Laura Siegle)
The rain we received this week is certainly helpful and we will see some grass and pasture recovery from it, but this will not mitigate losses to crop yields stemming from our preceding dry period. We will gauge more of these losses as producers conduct harvest.

CAROLINE (Mike Broaddus)
An average of 1.8″ of slow rainfall on Oct. 17th replenished the topsoil with moisture, and will now allow producers to plant small grains and cover crops

CAMPBELL (Todd Scott)
Soybeans in the field look decent, but late beans have lower yields and small beans in the pods due to weather conditions. Many farmers have been feeding hay to cattle since August, and they are concerned about hay supplies for the winter. Most are not used to feeding hay to cattle this early. We have received about an inch of rain (10/16/19). It helped some, but much more is needed. Grass may start to grow some, but if we get a frost then I don’t look for much grass production.

EASTERN

KING GEORGE (Mike Broaddus)
An average of 1.8″ of slow rainfall on Oct. 17th replenished the topsoil with moisture, and will now allow producers to plant small grains and cover crops.

CHARLES CITY (Scott Reiter)
Rain events this week have restored top soil moisture. A mid-week rain (0.5-1 inch) was welcome by growers to allow small grain and grass seeding to start. The 3-4 inches from Nestor remnants were not as welcome as this will stall soybean harvest and seeding for at least a week or more. Some soybeans and cotton were harvested this week between rain showers. Cover crop and wheat seeding made some progress as well.

SOUTHWESTERN

CARROLL (Steve Pottorff)
Weather conditions remain drier than normal even though some rain did fall at the end of the week. Hay supplies are very tight. The yield from the second cutting of hay was very small.

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GRAYSON (Kevin Spurlin)
Moisture from Nestor this weekend along with a cold front early in the week brought much needed rain to the county. The county also experienced patchy frost for the first time this autumn. Fall forage stocks continue to be a concern for livestock owners. Pumpkin harvest is wrapping up, and the focus will soon shift to Christmas tree harvest.

SMYTH (Andy Overbay)
Some rain has fallen and was very welcome, but the onset of frost will signal an end to much recovery of grasses in pasture.

WISE (Phil Meeks)
Wise County Board of Supervisors approved a resolution on Oct. 10, 2019, citing agricultural losses due to the drought, especially in regards to hay and pasture.

SOUTHERN

FRANKLIN (Cynthia Martel)
Franklin County saw rain on Thursday and again over the weekend, finally! Farmers are reporting hay loss from the summer drought; some are reporting over 85% hay loss because of dry conditions. Beans are being harvested slowly.

SOUTHEASTERN

GREENSVILLE (Sara Rutherford)
All parts of the county received rain on Wednesday with more forecasted in the area on Sunday. The planting of small grains continues including winter wheat, triticale, and oats, and will benefit greatly from recent rains.

CHESAPEAKE CITY (Watson Lawrence Jr.)
Rain showers and cooler temps arrived this week. Most crops are on schedule as far as harvest.

PRINCE GEORGE (Scott Reiter)
Rain events this week have restored top soil moisture. A mid-week rain (0.5-1 inch) was welcome by growers to allow small grain and grass seeding to start. The 3-4 inches from Nestor remnants were not as welcome as this will stall soybean harvest and seeding for at least a week or more. Some soybeans and cotton were harvested this week between rain showers. Cover crop and wheat seeding made some progress as well.

General Comments

Days suitable for fieldwork were 5.1. Weather conditions were cooler and precipitation amounts were up; some areas received frost. The rain has helped with planting and pastures. Parts of the state continue to be in D2 (severe drought) conditions. Farming activities for the week included reporting hay loss from the summer drought, harvesting cotton, and planting cover crops.


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