Wet conditions threaten to delay corn planting

Rain, sleet and snow came to much of the state, adding more moisture to already saturated soils.

Though certainly preferable to a drought, overly wet conditions are causing some concern for producers, particularly corn growers, said Dr. Travis Miller, Texas AgriLife Extension Service statewide agronomist.

Miller said that the optimal time to start planting corn in the Gulf Coast and central Texas regions is about the third or fourth week of February, with planting continuing into mid to late March.

"But the Gulf Coast has been (too) wet for four months or more," Miller said. "Central Texas is pretty much the same. No field work has been done; no fertilizing, no land preparation. There are lots of weeds in the fields. We're very close to planting time and absolutely no field work has been done."

Miller said if a few weeks of clear weather were to come soon, producers could move into the fields and get some land preparation done. If the planting is delayed by only a couple of weeks, there probably wouldn't be much detriment to this year's crop, though there is some risk associated with late planting.

"Late planting always increases the risk of heat and drought injury when we tend to have dry and hot weather mid-summer," he said.

But if planting is delayed a month or more, it's a different story, he said.

"If we plant a couple of weeks late, we're probably okay," he said. "If we plant a month late, people will change crops. We'll plant sorghum, we'll plant cotton and we'll reduce the corn acres."

However, all things considered, too much moisture is better than too little, he said.

"You can do a lot more with mud than you can with dust," Miller said.

TAGS: Management
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