Corn planting in the Delta and Texas is progressing ahead of last year despite localized pockets of heavy rains that have left some fields too wet to plant, particularly in Northeast Mississippi and Central Texas.
“The northeast part of Mississippi hasn’t had much of a chance to plant,” said Larry Falconer, agricultural extension economist with the University of Mississippi. “But farms in the Delta made a lot of progress last week.”
Mississippi producers have until April 25 to plant corn and still obtain full crop insurance coverage. If they can’t finish planting by then, Falconer says they will shift to other crops, mainly soybeans. “The weather will probably push some farms past the April 25 crop insurance deadline,” he said.
Even so, the state’s corn producers are making better progress than a year ago. As of April 12, 62 percent of Mississippi’s corn had been planted, compared with 54 percent last year and a five-year average of 70 percent. Soybean planting was even further ahead with 22 percent planted, compared with 6 percent last year and 12 percent for the five-year average, according to NASS state statistics.
Some corn acreage in Arkansas could also switch to soybeans. “A lot of corn was planted last week in Arkansas, but now it’s raining again and it is expected to rain next week,” said Jason Kelley, agronomist with the University of Arkansas. “There will be more soybeans planted. Due to both weather and price, corn acreage will be down in Arkansas.”
As of April 12, 51 percent of Arkansas’ corn was planted, compared with 35 percent last year and the five-year average of 58 percent, according to NASS. Arkansas producers have until April 25 to plant corn for insurance purposes. “If they can’t get the corn planted by April 25, they may go with more soybeans,” Kelley said.
The same weather fronts that have delaying planting in some areas have turned into timely rains for farms where the corn has already been planted. “Some areas needed rain in Arkansas to activate the herbicide,” he said.
Louisiana corn planting was lagging last year’s pace with 89 percent of its corn planted, compared with 94 percent last year and a five-year average of 97 percent. Heavy rains across much of the state halted fieldwork this week, and too much rain was threatening newly emerged corn plants in some areas.
Central Texas corn producers were also seeing delays due to soggy fields, and the bulk of the state hit its final planting date for crop insurance purposes on April 15. In the area north of Dallas in Central Texas, only one-third to 40 percent of the corn acres were planted, according to Scott Averhoff, chair of the Texas Corn Producers Board.
“The unplanted acres will now switch to other crops, most likely sorghum,” Averhoff said.
Much of the corn that was planted in the Blackland region of Texas was planted three to four weeks late. The area is a non-irrigated region, so the late planting creates a bit of a risk, according to Averhoff.
As of April 12, only 46 percent of the Texas’ corn was planted, compared with 57 percent last year and a five-year average of 54 percent.
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