2015-10-07 / News

Record rains dampen farmers’ outlooks

By Elizabeth Billips

Record rains could be the ruin of some Burke County crops.

With up to five inches saturating the soil over a five-day period, cotton and peanuts are suffering.

“The actual volume of rainfall may not be what has really hurt,” Burke County Extension Coordinator Peyton Sapp said. “What’s hurt us is the duration of cloudy, misty, damp conditions over the past fourteen days or so.”

As far as peanuts are concerned, the worst scenario is unfolding for farmers who dug their peanuts before the rains set in and have not been able to harvest them.

Many of those crops are now sprouting on top of the wet soil.

“If the break in the rainy weather is short lived, we will have a much larger portion of this year’s crop in jeopardy,” Sapp said, noting that a couple of weeks of sunny, dry weather could significantly change the “dampened outlook.”

Burke County cotton was harder hit, though, and that damage could be lingering.

“There were several hundred acres of cotton that was defoliated and much more that was very close to being ready to defoliate before this system hit,” Sapp said, noting boll rot had already been seen on the bottom of irrigated cotton plants. “With weather like this the lint will begin to ‘string out’ … literally fall out of the open boll.”

Beyond the field, the effects of the protracted downpours have been far reaching.

South Carolina’s historic flooding led to a multitude of road closures and halted truck delivery routes along portions of I95, I20 and I26.

Edmund Burke Academy had to change its lunch menu after a Columbia based food truck couldn’t make it, and other businesses reported delayed deliveries on everything from office stock to picture frames.

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