03/25/10 — Over-wet winter weather curbed N.C. wheat crop

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Over-wet winter weather curbed N.C. wheat crop

By Steve Herring
Published in News on March 25, 2010 1:46 PM

Wheat crop losses in Wayne County because of unusually wet November and December weather could potentially top $3 million. However, the full extent of damage will not be known until temperatures return to normal and the crop begins to grow.

Wayne County and most of eastern North Carolina have been designated as a disaster area by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

The designation allows eligible farmers to be considered for Farm Service Agency emergency loans and the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program. The deadline to file is Nov. 18.

Thirteen counties were named primary natural disaster areas: Camden, Carteret, Craven, Currituck, Durham, Granville, Greene, New Hanover, Onslow, Orange, Pasquotank, Pender and Washington.

Wayne is among the 26 counties named contiguous natural disaster areas. Others include Alamance, Beaufort, Bertie, Bladen, Brunswick, Caswell, Chatham, Columbus, Dare, Duplin, Franklin, Gates, Hyde, Jones, Lenoir, Martin, Pamlico, Perquimans, Person, Pitt, Sampson, Tyrrell, Vance, Wake and Wilson.

The designation is for the period of Nov. 1. through Dec. 31, said Rick Tharrington of the Wayne FSA. Nov. 18 is the deadline to submit an application.

Gov. Beverly Perdue requested the disaster declaration on Feb. 18 after Loss Assessment Reports from the 13 primary counties reflected a 30 percent or greater loss of at least one major crop. In particular, soybean, cotton and wheat crops have been affected.

Late harvesting, excessive rainfall and cold temperatures caused the problems with the 2010 wheat crop.

FSA will consider each application on its own merit by taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability. Affected farmers can contact their local FSA office for more information.

The wheat production Wayne County has been estimated to be 50 percent of normal for the 2010 crop year. The planting of wheat for 2007, 2008, and 2009 was 27,570, 32,279 and 28,331 acres respectfully.

This year's estimates are 20,000 acres will be planted, 10,000 acres prevented from being planted and 5,000 acres expected to fail, Tharrington said.

The acreage of wheat that was planted has germinated poorly due to the below-normal temperatures in January and February

The normal wheat yield would have been 50 bushels per acre and the other acreage will have a zero yield.

Tharrington said that October's rainfall was not excessive, but that it would rain a small amount and then stay cloudy for several days. Those conditions prevented corn and soybean crop from drying down and delayed the harvest.

November and December's heavy rains left soils too wet for planting. This prevented the wheat crop from being planted by the late planting period, Dec. 15.