Cold wx halts corn planting - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Cold wx halts corn planting

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BOSTON, GA (WALB) -

It's not Georgia's top crop, but corn still plays an important role in the state's economy.

With this week's near freezing overnight temperatures, planting has come to a halt across south Georgia.

This Thomas County field may just look like dirt today, but in a few months, it should be covered with rows of corn.

Georgia corn growers say they hope to have a season just like last year, when they broke the corn yield record of 190 bushels.

But this season has not started off with a bang.

Just after about a week of planting, overnight temperatures unexpectedly dropped again to near freezing.

"We want the soil temperature to plant corn to be around 55 degrees and also probably a warming trend before we plant. But another issue with these freezing temperatures is injury to the corn that emerges," said Thomas County Extension Agent Andrew Sawyer.

But with this week's cold front coming through so early in the season, this Boston farmer's early crop should be spared.

"It actually takes 14 days, 14 to 18 days, before the growing point gets up out of the soil. If the corn was planted a little earlier, then we could have had a problem here. But as long as the growing point is protected, that's the main issue," said Sawyer.

Farmers say while they should wait out this current cold streak, it's important not to wait too long.

"Early planted corn does better than late planted corn. And the reason for that is early planted corn helps avoids periods of low rainfall and excess heat during pollination," said Sawyer.

And Ag experts say even with the inconsistent temperatures, they are optimistic about the 2013 season.

"As long as the first inch of soil doesn't freeze, we're fine. And right now there is still plenty of time to plant corn and have good yields," said Sawyer.

Early planting is essential when double cropping soybeans, grain sorghum, or millet following irrigated corn.

Last year, Georgia was the second highest corn producing state in the country.

For more Ag info from Thomas County, follow UGA Extension Agent Andrew Sawyer's blog by clicking the link below.

http://thomascountyag.com/

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