Cold weather delays corn planting

Right about now, farmers ideally would be getting out into the fields and getting corn in the ground. However, continued unpredictable weather and cold ground temperatures are likely going to delay planting.

“Most of the fertilizer is on now, so planting and spraying pre-emerge chemicals are the main things that need to be done now,” said Dan Dalinghaus, manager at the Sabetha location of Ag Partners Coop. “Most farmers like to get the corn planted the first and second week of April, but that is not going to happen this year.”

Ground temperatures are currently averaging in the low- to mid-40s — well below where they need to be.

“The ground temperature needs to be close to 50 degrees for the corn to germinate,” Dalinghaus said. “So until we start to see a warming trend I don’t expect to see any corn go in. It will probably be several weeks until anything is planted.”

While planting delays do not guarantee reduced yields, it can have that result — weather dependent.

“The later we plant, the more likely the corn will be pollinating during the heat of July, and that can be bad,” Dalinghaus said. “If it gets really hot and dry when it is time to pollinate, the corn silks can get burnt, which really diminishes pollination.”

Current moisture levels only add to these concerns.

“The [recent] moisture was nice, but I don’t know if it really eased the drought worries,” Dalinghaus said. “Our subsoil is really depleted to almost nothing.”

However, he said, in typical farmer fashion they will forge ahead and “plant anyway.”

“You never know when it will start raining again consistently,” Dalinghaus said.

Amber Deters117 Posts

Amber Deters is Co-Editor of The Sabetha Herald, where she has been on staff since 2005. She specializes in school board, election and legislative reporting, as well as photography and page and advertising design. Amber is a 2005 Kansas State University graduate with a degree in journalism and mass communications, print journalism sequence. She lives in Sabetha with her husband and three children.

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