Corn planting is delayed - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Corn planting is delayed

By Jay Polk - bio | email

DOUGHERTY COUNTY, GA (WALB) – One field off of Hardup Road in Southern Dougherty County is - for now - unique. Not in how it looks but in what's in the ground here.

Rad Yager, the UGA Extension Agent for Dougherty County said, "this corn field was just planted a few days ago."

But that's late. Much of the corn crop should have been planted by now. Corn has been dramatically affected by the weather.

"As of a few days ago, we've only got about 5 per cent of our corn crop planted," said Yager.

That's compared to the normal figure for mid March, where between 25 and 50 percent of the corn would be planted. And there's one big reason for that.

"Our soils down at the two inch level, where we like to plant a lot of seed have been cold," said Yager.

Normally, corn doesn't want to come out of the ground until the temperature in the soil is at least 55 degrees. The cold winter kept the soil temperatures below that threshold for longer than normal, and that delayed planting. But another factor - one that everyone in the area put up with - affected the planting as well.

Yager said, "we've been awfully wet."

And that means that these tractor tracks are just a little deeper than normal. Some equipment got stuck and that delayed things as well. The late start means a late finish, because when it comes to crops, nature works at its own pace.

"Our corn is going to take about 120 days to mature from planting," said Yager.

But Yager believes that farmers can catch up if nature co-operates.

"If we get a good week in the next ten days or so, we're going to be able to catch up our corn planting," said Yager.

That means warm and dry weather. And that means that for the next few weeks, the farmers will be looking for the same kind of weather that we'll all be looking for.

Yager says that the total acres of corn being planted in South Georgia is expected to be down slightly this year compared to last year. Most of the corn that's grown in South Georgia goes to feed or to the production of ethanol.

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