Crops ‘fared well’ in hurricane

Published 7:49 pm Saturday, November 3, 2012

Cotton sits ready for harvest in a field near along Crescent Drive in Franklin. Cotton stood to suffer the most damage from Hurricane Sandy, but the storm was too weak to cause significant destruction to crops, experts said.

Hurricane Sandy was late enough and weak enough to spare damage to most crops in Suffolk, folks in the agricultural industry said Friday.

“Most everything fared pretty well,” said Chris Drake, Extension agent for Southampton County. “The wind didn’t really get to an excessive point.”

Drake said corn, the crop most likely to be damaged by wind because of its height, should already be picked. Most of the peanut crop already is out of the fields as well, he said.

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“Cotton was the crop that could have sustained the most damage, and thankfully it didn’t,” Drake said.

Suffolk farmer David Bosselman said he still has 149 acres of peanuts to pick and is waiting for the fields to dry out. The peanuts look fine, he said.

“They’re all right, as long as the vines don’t start rotting,” he said.

His cotton crop was somewhat damaged when the plants blew onto the ground, he said. The cotton that’s left will be lower quality because rainy, dreary days cause the cotton to turn a grassy color, he said.

“The sun will help bleach it back out, but it won’t be the same as before,” he said.

A few soybean plants in his fields blew down too, Bosselman said. However, the storm came late enough in the season that the soybeans were already starting to shed their leaves, meaning any saltwater the hurricane dumped couldn’t burn the leaves.

“I think we were far enough into the fall we don’t have to worry about that,” he said. “I think we fared well.”