I-80 Planting Tour: Cold, Dry Start to Spring Planting

April 4, 2013 03:33 AM
I-80 Planting Tour: Cold, Dry Start to Spring Planting

Thanks to little moisture and a late spring, Nebraska fields are desolate.

Giltner, Neb., farmer Zach Hunnicutt may not be sure of when he’ll get into the field to plant, but he’s certain of one thing.

"I wish the moisture situation had some better news, but for us, it’s dry and getting drier," he says.

He says last year they received 40% of their normal annual rainfall. It’s stayed below average ever since.

"We haven't had very much in the way of snowfall," he says. "It’s kind of ugly to see so far. So, it will be interesting to see if some rains, they are talking about in maybe and May and April, materialize or not."

Hunnicutt farms on the fringe of the most severe level of drought.

"It's been pretty bad, and we're fortunate to have irrigation here," he explains. "So, we had a crop last year."

He says while water restrictions aren’t in place yet, if 2013 is a repeat of 2012, that could change this year.

"The biggest concern is just what are we looking at as far as how much irrigation we're going to have to do, and I’m glad to have that problem here, to where we at least have the irrigation to manage that," says Hunnicutt.

From little moisture, to a late spring, the fields are desolate with no planting or field work being done.

"It's been the winter that never ends, not just on the calendar, but the snow and the cold just keeps coming," he says.

He says the fall was conducive for field work in the area, as an early harvest and late fall rain helped. But it’s been almost six months since the last combine was parked, and now many area farmers are itching to get back in.

"It's going to be a little tough getting everything done, if you didn't get done in the fall, says Hunnicutt. "But for the most part, we had good fall weather. so we should be in good shape."

The low Monday night got down into the single digits, which pushes back the likelihood of planting anytime soon even more.

"We usually aim to get in the field April 15th planting," he says. "I'd say there's chance we'll make that. It's got to warm up pretty quick."

And with seed piling up in the shop, warmer weather can’t come soon enough.


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