Over the past two weeks, wet, overcast returned to the area and dumped another 2-6 inches of rain over the Pee Dee. Once again, harvest was halted, river and stream levels went up, and several fields flooded. The latest statewide crop loss estimates from the FSA are 80% loss of peanuts, 85% loss of cotton, and 50% loss of soybeans. If this weather trend continues, we will lose a lot more soybeans. Luckily sun has returned to the forecast. Hopefully it will stay a while and dry things out.
The photo above shows a field next to Catfish Creek in Marion County. The creek has risen and flooded a couple adjacent fields. The photo is of a corn field that was already harvested, but right next to it is flooded soybean field that has yet to be harvested. It will be a while before that field is dry enough to support a combine. There have already been reports of soybeans being docked for secondary mold and other imperfections once harvested.
Another problem we’re seeing is seedlings diseases in young rapeseed fields. Here is a photo showing a healthy seedling (left) and one infected with a seedling disease (right), most likely Pythium. The stem will rot away and eventually kill the seedling. We call this “damping off” and it happens more in cool, wet soils.
The seeds were coated with a fungicide seed treatment, but that seed treatment can only do so much when the soil stays wet for several weeks at a time. Below you can see another symptom of Pythium called root sloughing (circled in red). The outer cortex layer of the root slides right off, leaving the pith.
Pythium produces motile spores that move freely in the water, making it spread quickly in soggy field conditions.
Since seedling diseases are soilborne pathogens, seed treatments are usually the easiest way to protect the seedlings, the wet field conditions simply have some areas overpowered.
Pray for sunny weather so growers can get back in the fields.