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October Crop Report: Drought Hurts Hay, Corn and Soybeans

Drought Damage, 2011,  Mac and Steve Berryman, College Run Farms, Surry Co.
Drought Damage, 2011,  Mac and Steve Berryman, College Run Farms, Surry Co. (Photo: Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services)

Today’s rain is too little, too late for many Virginia crops. The National Agriculture Statistics Service shows stressed crops and low soil moisture.

Virginia farmers have been wrestling with drought on and off since it almost wiped out Jamestown in the early 1600’s and 2019 was another hard year.  Elaine Lidholme, Virginia Department of  Agriculture

Elaine Lidholme:  Corn and soybeans are suffering almost everywhere

And in the South and Southwest:

Lidholme:  Particularly hay, which of course is crucial for beef cattle producers.

Ironically, not all crops have been hurt by the drought.

Lidholme:  Specifically cotton and peanuts, they seem to love the weather.

She says a slow steady rain might help some hay crops, but more likely:

Lidholme:  It will help the quality of the water that the animals are drinking

One thing that hasn’t changed since Colonial Times.  Virginia is still farm country and agriculture is still the state’s largest private industry.