Although a soggy spring has delayed about 50 percent of Franklin County’s corn planting, Ken Bolte, agricultural business specialist with the University of Missouri Extension, said it’s not too late to get the rest in.
“This week looks good,” he said. “A few dry days this week and farmers should be able to get crops in. Overall it looks like no showers until Thursday so they should be able to plant.”
Even with a few dry days, however, Bolte said the ground conditions will be workable, even if they aren’t the most ideal.
“It’s probably a little wetter than they (farmers) would like, but they are ready,” he said.
A week ago, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that just 12 percent of the nation’s cornfields have been planted.
In Illinois, only 7 percent was sown.
But even with the wet start, Bolte said things are not quite to a critical stage.
“It’s delayed things, but if it was the last week of May, then it would be more serious,” he said.
Bolte said there are 97 million acres of cornfields nationwide and with a normal crop yield this year, prices could drop to $5 or $6 a bushel — good news for the hog and cattle farmers.
“That will take some of the pressure off,” he said.
The lack of sun and cooler temperatures of the early spring has not looked good for the hay crop, Bolte said, and hay availability and pricing will not change much from last year.
“The hay crop is about one week behind, and same with wheat,” he said. “Fescue and orchard grass are just starting to head.”
The drought of last summer didn’t affect the quantity of hay, Bolte said, because good early spring rains brought in a bountiful crop. What drove prices up in the drought was that farmers had to feed stock all summer when it was dry.
And prices will likely stay up because of the lack of hay to cut so far this year.
“A lot of barns will be out (of hay) and fertilizer prices are up as well,” Bolte said. “You have to have fertilizer for hay.”