Weather delays field progress
Punxsutawney Phil, the weather prognosticating groundhog, definitely missed the mark this year. On Feb. 2, Phil didn’t see his shadow, signaling an early spring — rather than six more weeks of winter. The reality was six more weeks of winter.
And now, the six weeks have finally gone, and spring has not yet sprung. Snow was still falling long after Phil said it would, and some of the biggest piles of snow still were present over the weekend.
The official first day of spring comes Thursday, March 21, and the forecast is calling for sun and mid-50s temperatures. Even with this gradual warm-up, the brutal, long-lasting winter is delaying field progress in the area.
Dan Dalinghaus, manager of the Sabetha location of Ag Partners Cooperative, said anhydrous application are only about 50 percent complete, while dry fertilizer for pasture and crop ground has not even started except in a few cases.
“I do have a few guys applying some [dry fertilizer onto] pasture, but are only able to go out in morning when the ground is frozen to apply,” Dalinghaus said.
This delay could lead to a delay in planting corn and soybeans.
“We should be planting corn after the first week of April, but the ground will not be warm enough and/or probably won’t be dry enough to do this,” Dalinghaus said. “It could turn warm, and this could change, but the ground temperature needs to be 50 degrees for the seed to germinate.”
Dalinghaus said area farmers have a lot of work still to do — fertilizing, spraying and planting — and the window keeps narrowing.
“Corn can be planted up until late June, but traditionally the earlier it is planted the better the yields are,” Dalinghaus said. “That is the reason everyone tries to get it done in April/May timeframe.”