Corn harvest has slowed significantly in North Carlina, with just 2% of the state’s crop harvested between Oct. 16 and Oct. 22. The slowdown in harvest progress means this state achieved the least amount of harvest progress compared to the other top corn growing states.
Despite having over six days reported as suitable for field work by USDA, North Carolina farmers have slowed their corn harvest progress as they inch closer to wrapping up the 2023 growing season.
North Carolina corn harvest progress
For the week ending Oct. 22, USDA reported that 96% of the state’s corn had been harvested. North Carolina only reported an increase in corn harvest by 2%. While harvest slowed compared to the other top corn growing states, this is 2% ahead of both last year at this time and the five-year average.
Recent North Carolina weather
A weather summary compiled by the National Ag Statistics Service says temperatures were up to 6° F below normal the week ending Oct. 22.
In the same time period, precipitation totals were just shy of an inch in some parts of the state. Statewide, rainfall was predominantly less than an inch below average.
Days that were suitable for field work were 6.3, compared to last year when 6.5 days were suitable for field work at this time. The week prior, just 5.8 days were suitable for field work.
Maps generated by the Iowa Environmental Mesonet indicate precipitation departures as much as 3.6 inches below average for the month of October, so far.
The most recent Crop Progress report rated North Carolina topsoil moisture 2% very short, 27% short, 70% adequate, and 1% surplus. Subsoil moisture was rated 2% very short, 39% short, 57% adequate, and 2% surplus.
North Carolina drought conditions
A drought map published Oct. 19 shows 14% of the state covered by D1 moderate drought conditions.
Forty-five percent of the state is abnormally dry.
Improving slightly from the previous week, 41% of North Carolina is free of drought stress. This is a significant decline from three months ago when 98% of the state reported no drought.
Of the state’s 100 counties, none have USDA disaster designations.
A look at North Carolina history
The National Integrated Drought Information System reports September 2023 was the 52nd-driest September on record for the state. Records go back to 1895.
So far, 2023 is shaping up to be the 56th-driest year in history for the Tar Heel state.