Rain Delaying Harvest

We’re in our sixth consecutive day of overcast, drizzly weather in the Pee Dee.  The only real bad thing about this weather is the timing.  We need to be in the fields picking cotton and peanuts, but field conditions have prevented that for nearly a week now.  The clouds even obstructed our view of the lunar eclipse Sunday night.  Here is a field of cotton that was defoliated last week.  You can see the rain has started causing the lint to fall out of the bolls.

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This field will need to be harvested as soon as the weather and field conditions allow to avoid losing more lint.

Peanuts are also being affected.  Here is a field that was dug before the rain came and have been sitting in the field since.

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All the moisture and humidity has encouraged the growth of secondary fungi on otherwise healthy peanuts.  The peanuts you see below that are especially covered with secondary fungi were immature and not worth having anyway, but large amounts of fungal growth on the outside of the hull could indicate fungal growth on the inside of the hull.

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Mature peanuts, like the one below, should not see a grade deduct for the small amount of secondary fungi on the hull, but if the weather remains wet and humid for much longer, it may be a different story.  If mold develops within the hull, we may be looking at a Seg. 2 grade.

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So would we rather peanuts go through several days of wet, humid weather above ground or below?  It depends mostly on maturity.  If the peanuts are mature and leaving them a couple more days will result in them being over mature, we need to go on and dig.  Lots of good peanuts will be left in the ground when we dig if we leave them in the ground past the point of optimum maturity.  If the peanuts have a few days to go before they are mature, then it may be best to let them ride out the rain underground.  This is a very slippery slope since we must also take into account the condition of the vines and the weather forecast.

Pray for sunny weather to return to the forecast soon.  Right now, its looking like we won’t get any until the weekend.  If you would like help making digging and harvesting decisions, contact your local Clemson Extension agent.

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