MU climatologist: Heavy rain may delay corn planting another week

Thursday, April 30, 2009

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- While farmers wait for dry weather to allow corn planting, heavy rains in the forecast offer little hope of returning to the fields soon, said a University of Missouri Extension climatologist.

"There will be too much rain over a good portion of the state in the coming week," said Pat Guinan of the MU Extension Commercial Agriculture Program in a teleconference with regional extension agronomists.

"Except for the northern tier of counties, look for 1 to 3 inches of rain, with more possible in southern counties," Guinan said. "An upper-level disturbance over the Great Plains is moving into Missouri, causing a warm flow of moist air from the south to interact with the system, bringing significant rainfall.

"We can see some heavy total rainfalls, which can lead to additional flooding for much of the state in the coming week. Most streams are already bank-full, if not flooding."

Bill Wiebold, MU Extension agronomist at Columbia, said this planting season is shaping up much like 2008, which had both cool temperatures and heavy rainfall that delayed planting.

Wiebold said his date-of-planting plots at MU Bradford Farm, near Columbia, last year showed good yields on plantings up to May 20.

"Even late-planted corn has potential for yields of 180 bushels per acre," Wiebold said. "That is not record-breaking, but late corn can yield."

Regional extension agronomists reported varied planting progress in their areas last Friday and Saturday before heavy rains returned.

Recent high winds dried hill ground to allow planting. In most areas, bottom fields were too wet to plant.

Wayne Flannery at Oregon, Mo., said farmers on the river hills of northwest Missouri made good progress in corn planting last week.

Wayne Crook, at Keytesville along the Missouri River in central Missouri, said about 35 percent of the corn in Chariton County was planted.

"Farmers were picking and choosing fields they could plant and moving on," he said.

Leon McIntyre, at Linneus in north-central Missouri, estimated only 15 percent of the corn in Linn County was planted. "Pastures, alfalfa and wheat all look good," he added.

Scott Killpack at St. Charles said 90 to 95 percent of the corn is already planted in his county, which includes bottom fields along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.

All specialists said few soybean fields were planted. "Most farmers in my area wait until May to start planting beans," Killpack said.

Wiebold said the best advice is to "hang tight" and wait for dry weather. "I know that is easier said than done, but the data show you can still produce pretty good yields with late-planted corn. It happened last year.

"That's not a guarantee, but a good possibility up through May 20. We can move quickly once the fields dry. All of the corn in the state can be planted in about five or six days."

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: