Crop update

Lance Davis digs peanuts in a field off Jeff Dixon Road near the Jot ‘Em Down Community.  – Photo by Jason Deal

Pierce County’s harvest season is well underway and overall the crops look good.  

“I would say at this point in the harvest, our crops are good — better than average — this year. Our corn and peanut crops were good and cotton is just nearing harvest, but it looks good,” said County Agent James Jacobs.

Cotton remains the county’s largest crop with over 14,101 acres in cultivation. Peanuts were second with 10,383 acres, with corn close behind at 8,339 acres. Soybeans were a distant fourth at 2,971 acres.

Jacobs said the corn harvest is basically done and the crop fared better than last year.

“We had a very favorable season from planting to harvest,” he said. “Our yields were very favorable.”

Peanut digging and harvesting is not quite nearing the halfway point, but the county agent says early indications are it will be a better than average season.

“We have dug and harvested about 30-40 percent of the peanuts. Our farmers are out there digging and harvesting right now,” Jacobs said.

While the overall peanut crop looks good, there have been some disease problems, notably with white mold.

As the name implies, the mold is white and is a soil disease that invades the pods and pegs of the peanuts. It can damage the crop and also cause death of the plants in severe cases.

“We have had some white mold in some fields in the county, but it is hit or miss. It is hard to control once it gets started and it is underground so it is hard to detect,” Jacobs explained.

Cotton harvesting has not yet started in the county. Local cotton farmers have begun defoliating the crop, but have not begun harvesting.

“It’s a delicate balance right now. Cotton can wait for harvesting, but peanuts have to be dug and harvested when they are ready,” the agent said. “Another couple of weeks and the cotton harvest will begin full force. We need some good dry weather for the harvest, even though we could really use some rain along and along. It is always a balance.”

The county agent also said the county’s pecan crop is suppose to be on a good season cycle this year.

Harvesting of pecans is underway and Jacobs expects the crop to be a mixed bag this year.

“We did have some issues with pecan scab disease,” he said.

Pecan scab is a fungus that spreads in wind and rain. The disease appears as a scab on leaves and the shucks of the pecans. The disease effects how the kernel of the pecan develops.

Jacobs said the county’s hay crop was good this year.

“We had a good growing season for hay and now farmers are needing some rain for winter pasture growth.

Jacobs said he believes, for the most part, Pierce County will have good crops this year.