One of the first stories to come out from South Carolina about the impacts of the flooding on agriculture was published yesterday in the Post and Courier with the title above. The flooding hit at a critical time for farmers, near the end of the growing season when many crops are close to harvest if not already gathered.
According to the article, Clemson Extension agent Charles W. Davis Jr. said that coming on the heels of a summer cursed with dry heat, the flooding “is kind of adding insult to injury.” While it’s too early to assign a dollar estimate to agricultural damage statewide, Davis described it as a “huge financial blow.” You can read the full article at http://www.postandcourier.com/article/20151005/PC0301/151009676.
The article says that in addition to destroying many crops that are ready to harvest, it is also likely to affect perennial crops like pecans, peaches and blueberries since the saturated soil will not allow their roots to breathe, putting immense stress on them and making them more susceptible to diseases. The wet soil is also making it difficult to get tractors out into the fields, which will hamper the planting of winter crops and forage.
Dr. Dennis Hancock, UGA forage specialist, says that bermuda grass pastures are also likely to see problems in the coming season, since they also don’t do well when conditions are wet. He says that he expects farmers to have problems with weeds and poor stand health next year in response to the wet conditions now.
KFVS out of Greenville SC reported that rafts of fire ants have been reported floating in flood waters. The ants link themselves into giant rafts to protect eggs until the water recedes and they can create a new colony. You can see a video at http://www.kfvs12.com/story/30186771/islands-made-of-ants-seen-floating-around-the-upstate.