Low Temperatures and Rain Delay Planting Season

May 16, 2014

By Jean-Paul McDonald, Farms.com

Farmers in many Midwest States and across much of Canada are frustrated by the late start to planting. With cool temperatures and soggy fields, farmers say they’re about two full weeks behind in the 2014 planting season. Not only are they behind on getting seed into the ground, some are also starting to run low on livestock feed, thanks to a long, cold winter that required more feed than usual to maintain animal weights. With grass and alfalfa getting sowed late, the possibility of having to purchase additional feed becomes more of a reality for livestock farmers who (in most cases) are waiting to put their animals out on pasture.

Much like the commodity markets for crop prices, it can be hard to predict what conditions will be like for farmers when it comes to the weather. When the ground is too wet, seeds don’t germinate and can often rot in the fields before ideal conditions arrive. With various varieties of corn available, for example, a farmer can choose a 90 day variety over a 100 day variety to help them make up for the lost time, however, varieties with shorter growing periods will often produce lesser yields. Most growers are having to switch their corn and soybean varieties because of the late start to planting.

Then there’s always the potential for an early frost in September. With a late start to planting in the spring, farmers need additional time during the growing season for the crops to be harvest ready. Taking a chance on longer season corn can be a gamble if indeed the early frost does come in September, but shorter season corn can also be a tough bet as the hope for high yield is lost.

With the forecast calling for cooler temperatures and more rain over the weekend in much of the grain belt, farmers can expect a few more days of delay for planting.

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