Rain Hampers Mississippi Farmers

May 9, 2016 10:30 AM
Rain Hampers Mississippi Farmers

It's the third year in a row that farmers have had to fight excess water, Charlie Stokes, the area's agronomy agent with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.

"We got some corn planted in April, but we had to replant a lot of it, too," he said, referring to the growers he works with daily. "But some didn't get any field work done, and when they did, it rained again."

John Paul Barber of Plantersville and his brother, Matthew, had to replant some of their corn, only to have another four inches of rain undo that sunup-to-sundown work.

"Several consecutive days of soil saturation can limit oxygen and stunt growth of seedlings, particularly those below ground that have not yet emerged," said Erick Larson, the Extension Service grains crop specialist.

In spite of all the rain, he said, Mississippi producers have more than 80 percent of the state's corn crop in the ground — and nearly two-thirds of that is rated in good or excellent condition.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicted Mississippi's corn acreage would be 800,000, up 57 percent from last year's 510,000 acres.

Tuesday is the final planting date for corn farmers to get full crop insurance coverage in Lee County and counties adjacent and north. Areas farther south had earlier deadlines. The window for soybeans is open until June.

"You never really know what's going to happen," Mike Barber said. "Sometimes you plant early and you get a good crop, sometimes it's better when you plant toward the end, sometimes it's somewhere in the middle. But every day you have to wait, you're getting behind that eight-ball.

"Every year is different. It was wet last year and this year; in six weeks, we don't know where we might be. We might be asking where the rain is at that point."

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