The Record’s Ag Report
Farmers patiently waited this spring for the snow to melt and the soil to dry—a contrast to last year.
The long winter and slow melt of the snow this spring has substantially delayed planting. Small grains are crops that require relatively cool temperatures in order to achieve high yield potential. Therefore, when planted late, small grains have to develop during warmer temperatures that are detrimental to yields.
According to Emmons County Extension Service Agent Kelcey Holm, the optimum planting dates for small grains in our area are the third week of April and the last planting date the third week of May. Yield loss per day due to late planting of wheat is 1.5 percent.
Corn is a warm season crop and requires warmer temperatures than small grains before it will germinate and grow. The recommended planting date for corn for all regions of North Dakota is May 1.
The main concern with late-planted corn is that it will be at risk of being killed by frost before it reaches maturity, and yield and grain quality will be reduced. Delayed planting also increases the probability that the harvested grain will be wet, difficult to handle and expensive to dry.
Tom and Laura Jochim farm approximately 25 miles southwest of Linton.
“Last year, we were seeding corn byApril 30,” Jochim said. “This year, we started on May 12.”
He is not overly concerned yet about the outcome of this spring’s later planting.
“According to some seed experts, they suggest that the late planting may not affect the yields if the ground temperatures are right,” he said.
Soil temperatures have been in the upper 40s to 50 degrees, which is fair for seeding.
Some crop experts have some suggestions for the later planting season. Placing seed a little shallower than normal was one of them. With cooler temperatures deeper in the soil, seeds can take advantage of the warming trend near the surface, possibly sprouting sooner.
Also, seeds need nutrients in their early stages of growth, and if they are too deep in the soil, they will be less available to the plants.
“Placing key nutrients where the seed has greater access to them is important,” Holm said. “That means with or very near the seed at the point of planting.”
The last possible date for planting is not chiseled in stone, and farmers are hoping this late planting season will not greatly affect the yields.
Jochim said last week even with the April moisture, we are in need of some rain, and hopefully within the next week.
“The pastures seem to be greening up some, but we definitely need some rain soon,” Jochim said.
Jochim usually has his livestock out by May 20, but this year, he is planning to hold them back until June 1 so the grasses get better established prior to grazing.