SUNDAY’S FARMER’S REPORT: Concerns for soybeans, hay shortages


The drought continues, with September coming in as either the hottest or top 5 warmest September’s on record. Many records have already been broken in early October with near 100 degree heat.

While drier weather can be good for farmers, any drought duration is a bad thing — and its starting to hit hard.

In last week’s USDA Crop Progress and Condition Report, corn harvesting has done well, and cotton bolls are up 89 percent (15 percent more from the previous week.) Apple harvesting has also done quite well.

However, what’s not doing well are soybeans. While leaves are dropping, it’s the plant height that’s a concern right now. Quite a few farmer’s have commented that it even if we were to get a soaking rain, it may be too late and will likely take a loss.

USDA Crop Progress and Condition Report – Virginia Crop Progress

If that wasn’t enough, there is a concern for hay shortages. The drought is taking its toll on winter hay in storage. In Southwest Virginia, Some beef producers are considering reducing animal numbers due to short forage supply.

According to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor report, issued Thursday, October 3, Northern Virginia is doing ‘better’ from rain earlier last week. However, D2, or ‘severe drought’ status covers portions of Southwest Virginia. This is an uptick from D1 (moderate drought) from the previous week.

There’s at least some rain in the forecast for Western and Northern Virginia, late Monday into Tuesday — thanks to a low-pressure system along a cold front.

If the current forecast holds, rainfall amounts could range anywhere from one-half inch to as much as one inch, with locally higher amounts possible.

The European Weeklies show much needed rain by the end of the month as we go into a “wetter” pattern. We need SEVERAL inches of rain (more than 6 inches) to get rid of the drought altogether. Every little bit helps.

Virginia Weather wants to say THANK YOU to all of our farmer’s. It’s because of you, that we get to have food on our table. I always enjoy stopping by produce stands on the side of the road, or at flea markets and agricultural events. Here’s hoping for some rain from Mother Nature in the near future.

Full Report from USDA: USDA Crop Progress and Condition Report