Timely rainfall this summer is having a positive impact on crops here in Marlboro County and across much of the state.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issues a South Carolina crop progress and condition report each week, and this week the conditions fall primarily into the “good” category statewide, with some conditions considered “excellent” and none reported as “poor” or “very poor.”
Frank Stephens, supervisory district conservationist with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in Bennettsville, has made similar observations here in Marlboro County.
He said June was a dry month, but rainfall became plentiful around the beginning of July, and that has been positive all around.
The county’s primary crops are wheat, corn, soybeans, cotton and peanuts.
Most farmers finished cutting their wheat and planted soybeans behind it in early to mid June, Stephens said. The wheat crop was not as good as most farmers hoped, mostly due to a dry winter and late cold snaps in March which hurt the yield.
“It’s not horrible, but it’s not what most anticipated,” he said.
A small amount of short season corn has been harvested already, and Stephens expects more corn to be harvested in the next week or two. Though it’s too soon to predict yields, he said, most farmers “feel pretty good” about the crop with the recent rain.
Likewise, cotton, soybean and peanut plants are soaking in the moisture as they continue to grow, and most are of good size and quality.
According to the USDA report, the majority of cotton is squaring and setting bolls, while soybeans are blooming and beginning to set pods, and peanuts are pegging.
Stephens cautioned that it’s still early, and weather conditions can change quickly. But for now, he said, “most folks are pretty optimistic. There are always some pockets where things look better than other places, even within one farm. But overall I think folks are pleased.”