County crops are looking good as harvest prepares to begin

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As Switzerland County heads into the fall, county farmers are preparing to begin harvesting their crops – and all indications are that everything looks good at this point in the season.

“Overall, I think they look good,” Chuck Deputy of the Farm Service Agency said. “The early crops look that they’re going to do pretty well. A lot of things were late because of the rain early in the year.”

Chuck Deputy said that the early corn crop looks “really good”; while the early soybeans look pretty much like a normal Switzerland County crop and yield.

“I have some doubts about the late beans,” Chuck Deputy said. “It depends on when we get our first frost. If we don’t get any really cold weather early, then I think it will be all right.”

Ironically, Chuck Deputy said that the one thing that the late soybeans need right now is rain.

Yes, rain.

As the county goes through a “mini drought” over the past few weeks, he feels that the late crops would benefit from some showers in the coming days and weeks.

“As wet as we’ve been, the later beans are probably needing some rain on them,” he said.

Chuck Deputy also said that how farmers are viewing their crop has as much to do with geography as it does weather.

“When we talk about how good our crops are, it kind of depends on what part of the county you’re in,” Chuck Deputy said. “There are areas of the county that aren’t as good as other parts. The rolling fields and the river bottoms have been looking good; while the flatter lands tend to not be producing as well. In the river bottoms, the sandier soil can take the rain a little better.”

The county’s tobacco crop is also well underway in its harvest.

Once the principle economic factor in the county, changes in the federal tobacco program have reduced the number of tobacco farmers here and in other areas; but those Switzerland County farmers who are still raising tobacco are seeing a pretty good crop as it heads into the barn to cure.

“I think overall the tobacco is looking pretty good,” Chuck Deputy said. “Our office hasn’t heard of many disease problems or things like that. The tobacco on the rolling ground looks really good. I’ve had some producers tell me that it’s some of the best tobacco they’ve had.”

Again, the lay of the land is playing a role in the quality and quantity of this year’s tobacco harvest.

Chuck Deputy said that tobacco produced on flat land tends to not produce the weight that burley grown on rolling land does; and that spotty, heavy rains through the growing season in different areas of the county have run the gambit of tobacco production.

“There’s a broad range on the tobacco crop,” Chuck Deputy said. “We’ve had producers who’ve had their crop completely lost because of the rains and flooding in areas; and others are saying it some of the best ever. It all depends on where it’s at.”

With about 65-percent of the county’s tobacco now in the barns; Chuck Deputy said that he figures the county is two to three weeks away from running corn and soybeans; but some of the river bottom crops around Patriot could start sooner.

“The crops in the river bottoms around Patriot are the best crops I’ve seen in the county,” he said. “I haven’t heard of anyone starting yet, but I would guess that those in the Patriot river bottoms will start first.”

He also noted that the county’s hay crop was a good one this season; and that he hasn’t heard of anyone who’s going to be short for their livestock.

“We’re pretty good on hay,” he said.

Overall, the critical juncture of the season – harvesting in good weather – is upon Switzerland County farmers. If the rain holds off or remains in moderation, then the harvesting season should go smoothly.