Local News

Drought Continues to Wither N.C. Crops

Posted September 12, 2007 11:57 a.m. EDT
Updated September 12, 2007 10:54 p.m. EDT

— The ongoing drought and weeks of excessive heat in August continue to dry up crop production on North Carolina farms, according to a new report issued Wednesday.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's September crop report shows yields on several crops falling fbelow even the poor results of the August report.

“You look at this report, and it’s like someone put North Carolina in a frying pan,” state Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said in  a statement. “We have been seared.”

Soybean yields are projected at 22 bushels per acre, a drop of five bushels from a month ago. Yields are down 10 bushels per acre from 2006, and production is down 31 percent.

“We’re looking at the lowest yield on soybeans since 1983,” Troxler said.

Peanut yields are down 900 pounds per acre from last year. Production is projected to drop 21 percent, despite the fact that farmers planted 8,000 more acres of peanuts statewide this year.

The corn yield is at 89 bushels per acre in the latest report, down 43 bushels from last year.

“Some eastern counties have had just enough rain to make a good corn crop,” Troxler said. “If it weren’t for them, we’d probably be looking at an average yield of 50 to 60 bushels.”

Projected tobacco production has fallen from 360 million pounds a month ago to 336 million pounds, the report said. Although that is  an increase of about 2 percent from last year, the yield is projected at 1,991 pounds per acre, down 90 pounds per acre from last year.

Cotton yields are running 100 pounds per acre less than last year.

“Cotton is pretty resilient, but the longer we go without rain, the worse it will get,” Troxler said.

The September report does not contain information about hay, apples, peaches and grapes, all of which showed production losses in the August report.