Hurricane Matthew is gone and the sun is out, but the smoke is yet to clear. Parts of Horry, Marion, and Dillon counties are still flooded and power is still out in spots all over the Pee Dee. The town of Nichols in Marion County is currently (10/12) under water and the Lumber and Little Pee Dee Rivers are expected to crest within the next 24 hours. Lumberton, NC is under water as well. Lets hope the water recedes quickly.
The damage to homes and infrastructure has been severe, however, it’s surprising how well most of the crops are holding up. With the exception of some flooded fields, cotton and soybeans are mostly going to be fine. Some cotton was blown/knocked out of the bolls, but not as much as expected. The field from the photo below still looked great.
Fields that were defoliated before the storm had less plant material for the wind to blow around, therefore the plants seem to be standing a little straighter than some fields that still had all their leaves. Here is another field below that weathered the storm well and looks great.
Lots of peanuts were dug before the storm. The photo below shows a field where the winds blew some peanuts off the vines. For peanuts still in the ground we could face a challenge in digging them on time. It will depend on being able to get to and get in the fields.
Once power is restored to everyone, the biggest challenge over the next several days, and maybe the next couple weeks, will be accessing the fields. There are a lot of roads closed because of fallen trees and power lines, flooded roads, and washed out roads and bridges. Just getting large equipment to some of these fields may require lengthy detours. Driving around this week has been a challenge.
Just like with the flood last year, Clemson Extension will compile data of the agricultural damages suffered by SC farmers for the purpose of aid relief. If you experienced any crop, animal, or equipment losses, you may fill out the Animal and Agriculture Damage Assessment Form (ESF-17) once you are safely able to get out and make an assessment. Once finished, it may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. For those who do not have email access, come to the county Extension office to fill out the form and we will email it.
Take a look at Clemson’s Hurricane resource webpage for more information. Remember, it’s always a good idea to take lots of pictures for insurance purposes.