Planting off to a slow start following cold

Planting off to a slow start following cold (NTV News)

With the recent cold temperatures, soil temperatures are also cold and keeping farmers off the field instead of planting their corn.

Lexington farmer Don Batie said he's getting a late start in corn planting because of the weather but he's not too antsy yet.

Batie said for mid-April it's been a cool, wet spring.

"We like to wait until the soil temperature is approaching 50 degrees at six in the morning but it's still only 40 degrees here so it's still really not ready to plant corn yet," Batie said.

For this time of year, he said they normally would've started to plant already.

"As long as we can get our corn planted by the 1st of May, we're happy. With the equipment we have today, we can get our corn planted pretty fast," Batie said.

According to Nebraska Extension in Dawson County, soil temperatures are extremely important.

"The problem going into it for planting season is if you've got good moisture but it's cold soil temperatures, you could get some chilling effects to the seed when you plant it, and that could be really damaging. You could have reduced germination rates which can lead to poor emergence and then poor stands," said Dawson County Crop and Water Extension Educator Sarah Sivits.

The cold weather is keeping soil temperatures below the recommended 50 degrees at dawn four inches deep into the soil.

"Another thing you need to consider with soil temperature is the amount of days that we have that good 50 degree day span. For corn, they like to see 48 hours minimum after you plant of having that 50 degree temperature plus good moisture," Sivits said.

Sivits said there's no reason to worry if you haven't started planting.

"We're still okay, around here mid-April to mid-May, it just depends on relative maturity or if you have those cold-tolerant hybrids and your operational needs," Sivits said.

"Days like today, this is a wonderful day today. Sounds like this weekend Thursday, Friday, Saturday is supposed to be up in the upper 70's and it's going to be wonderful. It gets us all excited especially since we've had so many 30's, snow and everything else this spring," Batie said.

As the temperatures are starting to increase so will soil temperatures, and by the way the forecast is looking Sivits says farmers should be able to start planting by this weekend if it stays nice.

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