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Rain Slows Corn Planting




Rainfall spaced every other day last week has impeded corn planting, Greg LaBarge, Fulton County agricultural extension agent said Monday.

“Lots of years in the past, we had the corn done by now. This year, we’re at 40% to 50% on corn, and 1% or 2% on soybeans.

“We continue to have wet pockets in the fields. Last week’s every-other-day rain has not allowed for much drying,” he said.

For this week, there was a slight chance for more showers, but while temperatures will remain cool, LaBarge said there should be a chance for the wet pockets to dry.

An old rule of thumb among farmers is they lose one bushel of yield per acre for every day that planting goes beyond May 15.

“While there is that penalty, if we plant when it’s too wet and muddy, we could lose 40 to 50 bushels. So we’re still better off to wait,” he said.

It’s not time to begin changing plans, such as switching from corn to soybeans, he said.

“There have been years where we’ve planted around Memorial Day, and things turned out fine.

“If we get into mid-June, that’s when we might start thinking of switching from corn to soybeans,” he said.

“If we can get 10 days of good weather, we can make decent progress.”

While the price of corn is at an historical high, input costs are up, too.

But many farmers planned ahead and bought fuel and fertilizer last fall.

“A lot of the run-up in prices has been since the first of December 2007, so those who pre-bought aren’t as exposed to higher prices.

The high cost of diesel fuel is causing some farmers to rethink.

“They’re thinking about the number of trips across the field, reduced tillage, less need to pull heavy equipment. They’re thinking about how they can minimize costs.”

About half the corn that has been planted has emerged as tiny plants.

“It’s suffering from cold weather, but the stands out there look pretty good,” La- Barge said.- David Pugh


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