An agronomist at the Spooner Ag Station estimates many farm fields still have a foot of frost in the ground, but he expects planting will proceed in time to avoid yield loss.
Phil Holman is the station’s superintendent and agronomy research manager studying soil management and crop production. He says it’s best to plant corn when the top two inches of soil has a temperature over 50 degrees.
Holman said soybeans will yield normally if planted before May 25- June 1. “If it’s planted later than that, we start to see the big yield declines.
“We normally don’t see yield losses in corn if the seed is planted before the May 7-10 range,” Holman said. “The snow disappeared quickly so we are on a fairly normal time frame.
“We missed the normal spring when we have some time in April to do early tillage and get prepared for planting. This year, everyone is going to want to go at once and it’s going to be a real time crunch.
“Our planting start is later than usual, but will it impact our crop yield? It’s still too early to tell,” Holman said. The 15-day forecast calls for a lot of days with highs in the 60s and a few in the 70s. “There’s not a lot of heat in the forecast, but most farmers today have decent-enough equipment to move across fields quickly. As more farmers move to more cash grain crops, they will work longer hours and acres will be planted faster than in previous years.”
Holman said the trend is toward planting more cash grains and fewer acres put into hay fields. “Our first crop hayfields may be late. Our beef and dairy farmers that rely on pastures are going to have to feed their cattle for an extra month or so. April’s cold weather does have impacts that will be felt.
“It’s not a dire situation. It probably felt that way last week with all the fresh snow and how long this winter hung on. But, we have had other years recently where we had late April snows. Four years ago, the first crop planting we did here at the ag station was May 10, so we are having the same type of time frame again this year.”
Holman says he recalls receiving one foot of snow arrived on May 1-2.
With fairly warm temperatures in the forecast for the coming two weeks, Holman says it’s likely most of the corn planting can be well underway by May 10. “Then it all depends on what type of heat and moisture we get through the summer.”